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Florida in the 1920s: Selected Letters

Traveling Around Florida

Mary and Ralph Moore spent the first four months of 1926 in Lake Wales and Barow, although they made many short trips to other parts of Florida.  Mary's lively correspondence describes boarding houses, tent cities, and the homes of local "cracker" and black families.  She told her daughters back home in Ohio that travel in Florida sometimes required roughing it, but that the family was doing well and enjoying themselves.  In one letter, she included a sketch of the layout of a one-bedroom house she and Ralph rented.  Besides travel and sight-seeing, Ralph spent part of his time in Florida building and finishing new homes.    

Brochure Promoting Lake Wales

Tin Can Tourist Camp

In their travels the Moores and Bardos stayed in "tin can tourist camps" similar to this one.

Obediah Bardo's Opinion About Developing Florida

Obediah Bardo was quick to recognize the stark differences between what promoters of Florida were promising and what actually existed in the state.   It was clear to him that promoters were guilty of sharp practices, extolling the virtues of new towns the did not, in fact, exist:

"Within a few miles of this place, located along an improved highway, are two huge signs, greeting travelers from each direction. Each one reading 'This is ____ City. Owned and being developed by So and So Company.' Then follows up with description of the wonderful opportunities and developments being made. In truth there is absolutely nothing here, and nothing to be done."

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