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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Ocala in Marion County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Canal Building

Historic Florida Barge Canal Trail

 
 
Canal Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, February 13, 2021
1. Canal Building Marker
Inscription.  
Roosevelt Era
The Cross Florida Canal got its start during the Great Depression years. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's efforts to revive the nation's ailing economy involved a wide array of projects and jobs funded by tax-payers. The Cross Florida Canal was one of those projects.

Short Life
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers oversaw the work of about 6,000 people employed by the WPA, the Works Progress Administration, with men doing mostly manual labor. These four bridge stanchions were started that year, but work was stopped before they and the bridge were completed.

Too Risky
Curiously, the entire canal project was stopped without public explanation. It's thought that increasing environmental concerns were greater than Roosevelt's willingness to risk his re-election in 1936, by spending any more money on a project that might harm the environment.

Johnson Era
>After the assassination in Dallas, Texas, of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the new president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was eager to make his mark on American history with a far-flung
Marker detail: Roosevelt Era image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, February 13, 2021
2. Marker detail: Roosevelt Era
program called The Great Society. The Cross Florida Canal had been edging toward another start during the Kennedy years.

Kick-off Ceremony
Johnson came to Florida for a rainy ceremony to ignite a symbolic dynamite charge to mark a new beginning for the Cross Florida Canal. Then he went back to Washington to contend with other issues, including the War in Viet Nam.

The Corps of Engineers had dusted off a reduced plan it had created in the early 1940s only for barges. When the construction was stopped again in 1971, about one-third of the work had been completed. This time the canal construction was brought to a halt by way of a combination of legal action in federal court, citizen efforts, legal action and the signature on an Executive Order in the White House… Nixon's.

Canal to Greenway
In 1998, the land originally intended to be the Cross Florida Ship and Barge Canal officially became the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. This mile-wide, 110-mile long park is truly unique and is enjoyed by millions of visitors annually.
 
Erected by Florida State Parks.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkEnvironment
Marker detail: Johnson Era image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, February 13, 2021
3. Marker detail: Johnson Era
Parks & Recreational AreasWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #32 Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Former U.S. Presidents: #36 Lyndon B. Johnson, the Former U.S. Presidents: #37 Richard M. Nixon, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects series lists.
 
Location. 29° 6.223′ N, 82° 5.418′ W. Marker is near Ocala, Florida, in Marion County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Southeast 80th Street (County Road 328) and South Pine Avenue (U.S. 441), on the right when traveling east. Marker is located along the trail at "The Island" - Cross Florida Barge Canal Interpretive Park, just south of the Marion County Sheriff's Station. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3260 Southeast 80th Street, Ocala FL 34480, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Canal Story (within shouting distance of this marker); Historical Perspective (within shouting distance of this marker); A Beautiful Place (within shouting distance of this marker);
Marker detail: Canal to Greenway image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, February 13, 2021
4. Marker detail: Canal to Greenway
Great Depression Public Works Project (within shouting distance of this marker); Protective Perspective (within shouting distance of this marker); Opposition to the Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); Environmental Victory Nears (within shouting distance of this marker); Deliberate Strategy (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ocala.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Historic Florida Barge Canal Trail
 
Also see . . .  Cross Florida Barge Canal (Wikipedia). The Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway is named for the leader of opposition to the Cross Florida Barge Canal, Marjorie Harris Carr, and was originally a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers canal project to connect the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean across Florida for barge traffic. Two sections were built but the project was ultimately cancelled due to local opposition related to environmental concerns and national opposition for the costs being perceived as "government waste" with "limited national value." (Submitted on February 15, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Marker detail: Cross Florida Ship & Barge Canal Bridge at Santos image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Cross Florida Ship & Barge Canal Bridge at Santos
Construction commenced of the existing bridge abutments as a W.P.A. project in the latter half of 1935 and construction was halted in the first half of 1936.
 
 
Marker detail: Constructing a Canal Across Florida image. Click for full size.
6. Marker detail: Constructing a Canal Across Florida
Marker detail: Building the “Ditch of Dreams” image. Click for full size.
7. Marker detail: Building the “Ditch of Dreams”
Marker detail: Canal Building image. Click for full size.
8. Marker detail: Canal Building
When the Cross Florida Barge Canal was stopped in 1991, it was estimated to be one-third finished.
Canal Building Marker Kiosk image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, February 13, 2021
9. Canal Building Marker Kiosk
(abandoned 1936 bridge stanchion in background)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 41 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on February 15, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Feb. 25, 2021