SMITH COLUMN: Miami’s allure – LaGrange Daily News

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IIt’s the water that makes Miami so alluring. This has been the case since World War II, when air conditioning, mosquito control, and air travel made South Florida an accessible garden. Azure blue waters and white sand beaches have always been an attraction, but development and transportation have not taken hold for years.

The land boom of the 1920s, the Great Depression and a few hurricanes pushed Miami back, for the most part, until the late 1940s, when development became rampant and tourism was above the peak.

If you remember, the rich in place – the Rockefellers, the Goulds, the Goodyears and the Morgans – made Jekyll Island their winter playground.

By the turn of the 20th century, Aiken, South Carolina, became a haven for many with skills in the North, especially horse riders. That’s why Cot Campbell, a scholarly advertising manager from Atlanta, settled across the Savannah River and became the first union racing entrepreneur. Dogwood Stable has produced a number of champions including the winners of Preakness and Belmont and has had a plethora of bet winners during his years of owning Dogwood.

The weather in the Aiken / Augusta area has always been a little better than that of the underdeveloped Florida vacation spots.

The famous Wilcox Inn, with its white pillared Colonial Revival style construction, was frequented by the affluent heirs of those who became wealthy during the American Industrial Revolution.

The area was well known to famous golfer Bobby Jones, so the Augusta National Golf Club settled in Augusta. Sports journalists, from remote parts of the country, have always asked this question when seeing the club for the first time.

World War I interfered with the travel of the super-rich to the French Rivera, which meant that in the United States, the rich were first drawn to Aiken and then to Augusta after WWI. Traveling south for the winter has become the right thing to do. Back then, Florida was pretty much a desert. The railroads made South Florida accessible, but not much was happening when you arrived.

Major league baseball teams began to flock to Florida after WWII, making the Sunshine State more popular as tourists from the North, including an abundance of Canadians, headed south. .

Interestingly, retirement homes and towns then attracted so many tourists to Florida that traffic ultimately created a problem for many baseball teams. This is why the Atlanta Braves, with a luxurious facility at Disney World, have chosen to relocate to their current location south of Tampa, so it would be more convenient to schedule games with teams in the area.

Florida experienced a land boom in the mid-twenties, almost a hundred years ago. This has led to land speculation, scam and shoddy construction and endless bankruptcies. Yet the sun in winter has caught the attention of the masses.

Steadfast Miami Beach developer Carl G. Fisher bought an oversized billboard in Times Square that joked, “It’s June in Miami.” Those who did not have the resources to buy land traveled to Miami to work in construction and other jobs.

If you had a paid job, the living environment was hard to beat. There were those pristine white beaches and those swaying palm trees in mild weather.

Suddenly things got dark in all areas.

Those who intended to buy land and return it quickly discovered that there were no buyers. The boom has fizzled out. Everyone went bankrupt. It has spread to the working class, causing this story to be recalled.

A few guys from Valdosta had gone to Miami to find work during the boom, but to no avail. Cracked flat and not knowing how they were going to get home, they passed a restaurant that advertised big, thick steaks and strawberry shortbread for dessert.

Intrepid, they entered, ordered two large steaks, all the trimmings and dessert. When the check arrived, they walked over to the cash register. One of them asked the owner what he would do if two guys walked into the restaurant and ordered steaks that satisfied their hunger but had no way to pay.

The owner said, laconically, “Why would I kick them in the back.” With that, the penniless diner leaned over and said, “Then go out for two.” ”


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