Academic journal article Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

The Greatest Railroad Story Ever Told: Henry Flagler and the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West Extension

Academic journal article Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

The Greatest Railroad Story Ever Told: Henry Flagler and the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West Extension

Article excerpt

Book Details Bramson, S. H. (2011). The greatest railroad story ever told: Henry Plagier and the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West extension. Charleston, SC: History Press, 160 pages, paperback, ISBN 978-1-60949-399-8.

Synopsis and Evaluation

The first ever complete history of the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West Extension, The Greatest Railroad Story Ever Told: Henry Flagkr and the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West Extension (2012) hails the building of the line from Homestead to Key West as the greatest railroad engineering feat in U.S. and, possibly, world history. The particular time, place, and actors that joined to create the rail line to Key West were a brief constellation of opportunity, unique in history. Only a visionary such as Henry Plagier could combine America's engineering prowess and an unprecedented private fortune to seize the opportunity that a railway link from New York to Key West afforded.

Written by Seth H. Bramson, a Barry University and Florida International University history professor, the book describes the extraordinary feat of how the extension came to be. Whereas past books have dedicated themselves either to the 1904-1912 construction or to the September 2, 1935, hurricane, which destroyed the extension, for the first time Bramson tells the complete story. Of the 94 photos in the book, 80 are from the author's private collection and have never been in print before.

Bramson, the Florida East Coast Railway Company Historian and author of 20 other books, has "given a face" to this great task. The book finally allows the public to understand not just the reasons for building the extension and the obstacles like the 1935 hurricane, but, also, how the railroad was operated later during the 23 plus years of its existence. As an authority on Florida railroad history, Bramson brings to light a neglected corner of our Florida heritage that is rich with history and narrative. I have been a fan of the author for quite a few years, and, frankly, I think and believe that it has to be one of the finest railroad line histories ever written. …

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