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You know that a boat has to head up into the wind to a certain extent, because otherwise it drifts, and with the channel only 100 feet wide, there is nb chance for it to do that. Steamers also have considerable difficulty in passing each other in the channel.
It has been found that with the present depth of 20 feet, a great number of tankers are unable to come into the harbor. They have to lighter outside in the ocean and then come in with reduced
cargo. So that there is no question but that the increased width and depth are a great need at this place. The city and its, trade are both growing very rapidly and I think it is a most deserving improvement.
The CHAIRMAN. Miami has grown now so that it has a permanent population of about 65,000 people, has it not? General BEACH. About that class of figures.
The CHAIRMAN. I have been told that the transportation by railroad has grown within the last 7 or 8 years to 10 times the proportion it was 10 years ago.
General BEACH. During the winter, the Florida East Coast Railroad can handle its passenger traffic only with considerable difficulty. It really does not have time or opportunity to run freight trains.
The southern end of Florida is developing very rapidly as an almost tropical fruit-producing section. They are producing alligator pears down there at a great rate and soon will do so in such quantities (orchards having been set out to a great extent) that they think within a very few years the price of alligator pears throughout the United States will be cut in half by this source of supply. Miami has become a port of call for vessels bound up and down the coast.
Mr. NEWTON. What do you mean by a port of call ?
General BEACH. When a vessel stops and discharges and takes on passengers and cargo without that port being the end of the journey. It is an intermediate point. Vessels going up and down that coast are so close to the shore that they can run into Miami with very little delay in time.
Mr. McDUFFIE. How far is it out to the ship channel ?
General BEACH. Vessels go so close there you can often read their names with a pair of glasses.
Mr. Hull. You can see them with the naked eye.
The CHAIRMAN. Really, Mr. Hull, it is not much over 2,000 feet, is it, from Miami beach
Mr. HULL. No; not more than that.
The CHAIRMAN. General, there has developed within a comparatively short time a region known as Redlands, to the south of Miami, covering a good many thousand acres of land, which is very rich and productive for the growth of vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuce, and for the growth of oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit, and very large areas, probably a great many thousand acres, are cultivated annually with vegetables and have been set out in orchards there.
General BEACH. That is correct, and the amount of land which is being utilized is increasing very rapidly every year.
The lower end of Florida was almost uninhabitable until the Evergiades were drained. With the draining of the Everglades the whole lower end of the State was opened up for settlement and cultivation, and the soil is what has been accumulating without any drain upon it for centuries. The consequence is that it is most valuable for almost anything that they desire to place there. It has been utilized and is being utilized to a great extent every year for the cultivation of, as I say, tropical or semitropical fruits and for early, vegetables for the northern market.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, General, there is a canal which has been constructed from the Everglades leading directly down into Miami and which drains that part of the Everglades to the west of Miami.
General BEACH. The Everglades formerly came within what is now the limits of the city of Miami.
When I was in charge of the Florida district in 1908 there was a tower at a point that is well within the city now and they used to climb up on the tower to get a view over the Everglades.
The CHAIRMAN. As the result of the draining of the Everglades by this canal, cultivation has been carried out far to the west of the city and about 18 or 20 miles west of the city; about $3,000,000 is just being expended in the erection of a modern sugar mill, and a sugar producing company has bought about 14,000 acres of land and has nearly about 4,000 acres under cultivation at the present time...
General BEACH. The country has been settled with the planting of avocado groves and tomatoes and all those can reach northern markets not only so much better, because boat transportation is easier on vegetable products, berries, and everything of that kind than by rail transportation, but so much quicker.
Mr. Hull. It takes about four days, General, does it not, from Miami to New York; not over four days. It is four days from Cuba?
General BEACH. It is generally less than that; about three days,
Mr. NEWTON. As a matter of fact, the commodities grown in Florida in this vicinity could be loaded on the steamers and carried North to the northern markets and get the benefit of the cheap water rate?
General BEACH. Exactly. They would be lower in rate and quicker in time and better in condition.
Mr. NEWTON. And the commodities from the North which they want to ship down there could be carried down by boat and delivered better probably than they could by rail.
General BEACH. Yes. Mr. LYON. Can the boats arrange for refrigeration ? General BEACH. Easily. The CHAIRMAN. I do not know whether you stumbled into this in Miami or not. They are producing in an experimental way down there at the present time trees and bushes which produce articles from which drugs are made, where the trees and bushes have been grown heretofore only in latitudes like Florida in foreign countries. Those who have charge of the experimentation say they grow better, more luxuriantly, more freely, and produce in greater quantity than they do in foreign countries.
Mr. NEWTON. What sort of drugs?
The CHAIRMAN. I think they do. There are dozens of things. I saw one tree which they say produced leaves form which drugs could be made which cost $20,000,000 to get to this country. There
is a great deal of experimentation along those lines going on, which is certain to increase the value of the products about Miami, which will enter into the transportation from there.
Mr. NEWTON. If this money were spent, it would have a tremendous stimulus toward the development of the resources of the State.
General BEACH. The whole lower end of the State of Florida; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a fact, isn't it General Beach, that there is hardly a city in the United States that is growing more rapidly or enjoying a greater degree of prosperity at the present time than the city of Miami?
Mr. LINEBERGER. Except Los Angeles, Mr. Chairman. I think the General would confirm that.
The CHAIRMAN. I said hardly.
Mr. LINEBERGER. I appreciate the qualification the chairman injected in his remarks.
The CHAIRMAN. Didn't they make that impression on you, General, in your recent trip down there, that the development there was really very remarkable, very rapid and remarkable
General BEACH. It was almost unbelievable to me, because the last time I had been there, the whole country was nothing but saw grass, water, horseflies, and mosquitoes, and to see the development that had occurred for 30, 40, or 50 miles back from Miami was simply astounding.
Mr. LINEBERGER. I would like to say, Mr. Chairman, that generally for the purpose of seeing to what extent Florida was a competitor of California, I spent the winter of 1916-17, the year we got into the war, in Florida, a great part of the time in Miami, and I have seen nothing in the whole country that comes as close to California and which is as much of a competitor as Miami. I say that in all frankness and justice to it. It has a great future.
The CHAIRMAN. To elaborate something more that General Beach said, shortly after the general left there, the vice president of the Florida East Coast visited Miami; he is the construction man of the railroad and he announced a program of double tracking that road, which is now only a single track road. There are 375 miles of road; and he announced a five-year program of double tracking, one-fifth of the length of the road each year for the next five years, and that is being done on account of the tremendous growth.
And then they also said at Miami, which I understand was generally understood to be the fact, that from Miami south the Florida East Coast Railroad had not been self-sustaining until the last year, but last year receipts had exceeded the outgo for the preceding year, and even from Miami south, with that enormous expensive construction across the Florida Keys, on account of the very great growth, that part of the railroad would be profitable.
Mr. LYON. That part is close to Cuba, is it not, Mr. Chairman? The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. LINEBERGER. There are some parts of Florida that have a production of fruit that can only be produced around in this Miami section. I think it is a very important section of the country.
Mr. MANSFIELD. How far is Miami from Bimini? 4 THE CHAIRMAN: I think it is about 40 or 50 miles: is it not, General Beach?
General BEACH. I do not know, sir.
Mr. HULL. Would they be allowed to come in there, General, if we were to put through this project?
General BEACH. The Engineer Department does not discriminate:
Mr. MçDUFFIE. Then, General, these people are established, and it is not a question of development for tourists trade, alone? This 60,000 population constitutes people who have gone there and gone into business and into commerce?
General BEACH. You will find as you go out from Miami that the entire country has been cleared and taken up and mile after mile of fruit-bearing trees, oranges, grapefruit, alligator pears, are planted really continuously.
Mr. MoDUFFIE. And you think, then, that this improvement would increase the volume of tonnage at Miami?
General BEACH. It certainly would. It would enable these people to get their fruit to marker more economically and in better condition.
The CHAIRMAN. General Beach, I have had this told me. I. do not know whether you know about it or not, but I am told that on account of the fact that the tankers draw 30 feet and that they have only 18 feet there now, that the oil supply for Florida passes Miami, as a rule, going north and to Jacksonville and then is carried down on the railroad, and you have the cost of transportation 375 miles two ways added to the cost of oil at Miami and the vicinity.
General BEACH. I did not learn much concerning that movement of oil. They send the small and medium sized tankers to Miami, not the largest tankers. The medium sized tankers, as I stated before, have to anchor off shore until the greater part of the cargo has been discharged, and then they can come into the harbor.
Mr. Hull. What did you say will be the cost of this project?
Mr. HULL. I was in Miami last year, and I did not understand it was so cheaply done as that, but at any expense I should think that this project ought to be put through, because if there is any place that I have ever been in that has a growth, not only of inhabitants but business, it is Miami. I was surprised it is so cheap. I thought it would cost way up into the millions to do what they want, but if the cost is as low as that, I do not think there would be any objection on the part of anybody to it; if they would all go down and see what they are doing they would be strongly for it.
The CHAIRMAN. They would be very strong for it.
A large part of the beach there has been created by pumping sand up out of the bay and on that beach, within the last few years, there have been built five modern, most substantial hotels of modern type, have there not?
General BEACH. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The site of one of these hotels, the Nautilus, a large beautiful hotel, was a year ago simply mud flats and to-day it has been built up and filled in all about it, and that hotel stands there and has been in use all this past winter, is General BEACH. I think the best illustration to me of the way that country is growing and the way values are increasing is shown by the auction the Government held a few weeks ago, and while I was down there, of an old aviation field. It was divided into lots and sold at
auction. I happened to get tangled in the crowd going to the sale and had some difficulty in getting out. I found that people had to park their cars 2 miles away from the auctioneer's stand and walk to that place. They could not get closer. I talked to a number of the people. They said they had gone over hoping to buy a lot anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500. The very first bid that the auctioneer received was $8,000 for one of the lots, and the lots that day which were the ocean-front lots, sold for from $12,000 to $15,000 a lot.
Mr. LINEBERGER. How big were the lots?
General BEACH. That was on the island, for residential purposes only.
The CHAIRMAN. General, about how far were these lots from Flagler Street?
General BEACH. They were over on the island, and they were about 4 miles north of the lower end of the island.
The CHAIRMAN. That is 31 miles across the causeway there?
The CHAIRMAN. So it would make it about 6 miles out from the center of the city!
General BEACH. I would state that a number of people told me they went out the second day, hoping to get an interior lot, still at their low figures, and they found that the interior lots sold at anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 apiece.
Mr. LYON. That was Government-owned land, was it?
Mr. MANSFIELD. Speaking about the tankers being lightered before they come into the harbor, that adds considerably to the expense of handling the cargo, does it not?
General BEACH. Very considerably.
Mr. McDUFFIE. There is no report later than the year 1920 as to tonnage. However, I notice on page 679, from 1918 to 1920, the tonnage practically doubled itself. Nineteen hundred and twenty is the last date of record here. It was 144,000 tons in 1918, and 330,000 tons, in round numbers, in 1920-more than doubled itself.
That would indicate a very substantial, rapidly-growing harbor.
General BEACH. It is very substantial.
Mr. LINEBERGER. General, I notice in that part of the report signed by Edgar Jadwin, engineer, that the city of Miami has already spent $854,000 on municipal terminals and the dredging of a channel across the bay to the Government cut, and is preparing to spend over $604,400, in addition in the construction of a larger and deeper turning basin and additional terminals if the project for the 25-foot channel is carried forward by the Government. That spirit of cooperation, I think, on the part of the city of Miami is a very commendable thing. That is one of the things we have always practiced on the west coast, as you well know-cooperating with the Government-and I think it is very commendable on the part of Miami to offer to spend practically one-half as much as they are asking the Government to appropriate here.