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The natural and political history of the Everglades and development in South Florida is more than just a state or regional history. The drainage and over-development of the Everglades, the destruction of the region's fragile and unique ecosystems, and the loss of source water and other natural resources, are seen by many environmentalists as one of the worst ecological disasters in the nation's history.
Several historical collections in the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History document the despoiling and development of the Everglades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as early efforts by conservationists to preserve the natural resources of the Everglades. In fact, many of the people who were promoting the dredging of canals and drainage operations to "reclaim" Everglades land were simultaneously supporting conservation efforts. This parallel growth of both the conservation movement and development of South Florida continued in a dramatic fashion during the first two decades of the 20th century.
This exhibition features photographs, maps and other historical documents pertaining to the Everglades. The exhibit objects are displayed in four subjects: Exploration, Dredging, Development, and Conservation. In addition, the objects are arranged chronologically and listed by decade in a Timeline.