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April 2013 – Tamiami Trailblazers

Reprint of American Eagle

Reprint of American Eagle
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April marks the 90th anniversary of the automotive trek across Florida’s Everglades, known as the Tamiami Trailblazers. This group of men, which included four Koreshans — Alfred Christiansen, Frank Lewis, Charles Hunt and Allen Andrews. Frank Lewis kept a diary of sorts. This included a day by day account of the trip.
In 1973, during the 50th anniversary of the crossing, the American Eagle reprinted the April 26, 1928 issue of the newspaper which celebrated the opening of the road. The trip by the Trailblazers was made during the month of April, 1923.

The idea of building a road across the Everglades had been discussed for a long time as part of the overall Tamiami Trail project. At the time, the only cross-Florida road was from Tampa to Daytona Beach. The building of a South Florida highway would certainly help the growth of the area, but when the project encountered delays due to financial problems, many supporters of the road decided to publicize the project by driving across the Everglades in a caravan of Fords. The group thought it would only take a few days, but it took 23 days.

The “Trailblazers” arrived in Miami on April 21, 1923. It should be noted that when the group returned to the west coast of Florida, they returned via Fort Pierce and LaBelle. The trip across Florida totaled about 163 miles. The Florida Historical Quarterly published a good article in 1971 describing the entire event.

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