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Fred C. Elliot, a Tallahassee native, was Chief Engineer and Secretary of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of Florida for almost 50 years. His public service career in Florida began in 1908 and continued until he retired on November 3, 1957. In 1911 he made a special drainage investigation for the Everglades district and had a lead role in carrying out the drainage project there and in other areas in South Florida.
The Florida Legislature established the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund in 1855 as a government agency to oversee the management, sale, and development of public lands in Florida (Chapter 610, Laws of Florida). Among the internal improvements arranged through this agency were construction of canals, railroads, and land drainage and reclamation.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many people believed that South Florida's wetlands could be drained with canals, and that the new, dry land would be remarkably fertile. After 1928, Everglades engineering projects shifted from drainage and land reclamation to flood control. Over the years, the Internal Improvement Fund dug new canals, deepened old ones, and added dikes, levees, and pumping stations, all to prevent flooding in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas. While these projects made it possible for coastal cities to grow and thrive, they severely affected natural areas through reduced and arbitrary water flow.
The collection contains photographs and correspondence that document aspects of the Everglades drainage project during the first half of the twentieth century. The images include canals, dredges, sugar mills, agriculture, and the Everglades. Images depict various stages in canal construction; a few of these images include Black and white workers. The collection also contains some correspondence of Fred C. Elliot.
Folder listing available. 0
Additional Physical Form:
Selected images have been digitized and are available on the Florida Memory website at: https://www.floridamemory.com/discover/photographs/
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
For more records related to the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund and their work in the Everglades, see Record Group 593. For more records related to Fred C. Elliot, see Collection M86-38, the Elliot Family Papers, 1851-1957 (.75 cubic foot).