By the turn of the century, Florida's population and per
capita wealth were increasing rapidly; the potential of
the "Sunshine State" appeared endless. By the
end of World War I, land developers had descended on this
virtual gold mine. With more Americans owning automobiles,
it became commonplace to vacation in Florida. Many visitors
stayed on, and exotic projects sprang up in southern Florida.
Some people moved onto land made from drained swamps. Others
bought canal-crossed tracts through what had been dry land.
The real estate developments quickly attracted buyers, and
land in Florida was sold and resold. Profits and prices
for many developers reached inflated levels.
Florida's economic bubble burst in 1926, when money and
credit ran out, and banks and investors abruptly stopped
trusting the "paper" millionaires. Severe hurricanes
swept through the state in the 1926 and 1928, further damaging
By the time the Great Depression began in the rest of the
nation in 1929, Floridians had already become accustomed
to economic hardship.
In 1929 the Mediterranean fruit fly invaded the state,
and the citrus industry suffered. A quarantine was established,
and troops set up roadblocks and checkpoints to search vehicles
for any contraband citrus fruit. Florida's citrus production
was cut by about sixty percent.
Text from: A Short History of Florida
Used with the permission of Florida's Division of Historical