Bridge Gaps
Overseas Railroad Project
Posted on: 03-08-2022 by Floor Covering Media


Remember Henry Morrison Flagler? He was the man who oversaw an ambitious overseas railroad project. It was aptly named the Overseas Railroad, an extention of The Florida East Coast Railway Company. The destination was Key West; originally named after the Havana Cuba neighborhood: Cayo Hueso, about 128 miles south of Florida's peninsula. Project planning and development? 1905-1908. Construction? 1909-1912. Operation? 1912-1935. What happened? The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, formerly known as Hurricane Three (3), damaged the Railroad beyond repair.



The Overseas Railroad project was motivation for a parallel bridge project built decades later named: Seven Mile Bridge. Construction? 1978-1982. Few would disagree there are few if any bridges built in the USA quite like it. The engineering design for this modern highway was notably conceived within the minds of forward thinking engineers born during in the mid 19th century. Flagler was John D. Rockefeller's partner and the brains behind this extraordinary project his myopic contemporaries harshly criticized at the time.



Flagler, not much unlike most midwesterners, was taken in by it's beauty. He said: "A man would have to be a fool to want to live anywhere else in the world." After his first visit on a honeymoon, Flagler fell in love and built hotels. These hotels were luxuriously equipped with State-Of-The-Art conveniences such as: bathrooms and running water in all rooms. It really provokes thought about these comfortable modern amenities; most of us were raised to expect.




He bought every railroad on Florida's east coast; a convenient transportation network for people on vacation traveling to the hotels. The name of his company was the: Florida East Coast Railway Company.  His unconvinced contemporaries were calling his ambitious project: Flaglers Folley. They were making critical assertions, we now know were erroneous, that it was simply absurd and impossible to build a railroad bridge over an open ocean. Obviously, Flagler was a visionary who wasn't dissuaded by critical remarks.



Not only did he proceed with the project, which would connect Florida's mainland with Key West, he was actively involved in another project that would improve the travel times over water shipping routes for his suppliers; delivering cargo to the area that would shorten the voyage by five months. The name of this project? The Panama Canal. Success silenced all his critics.



Learn more about this project on the History Channel's Modern Marvels.


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