Railroads Change Florida


Letter from Henry Flagler (1902)

From: Call and Brevard Family Papers (M92- 1, Box 1, Folder 15)

Henry Flagler began building up a system of railroads on Florida’s Atlantic coast in 1885. He purchased several existing lines and built new tracks leading as far south as Miami by 1896. By 1912, Flagler had extended his road across the Florida Keys to Key West.

In this letter from Henry M. Flagler to Ellen Call Long, Flagler describes the arrival of the "Spanish Stones." Flagler then replies to Long's request for information regarding his decision to move to and invest in the state of Florida. Ellen Call Long was the daughter of Richard Keith Call, territorial governor of Florida.

Letter from Henry Flagler to Ellen Call Long



Mch 20, 1902.

Mrs. Ellen Call Long,
Tallahassee, Fla.
Dear Madam;--

Your favor of the 17 inst. was duly received and has been read with interest. It gives me pleasure to advise that the “Spanish Stones” arrived safely and have been placed (quite appropriately I think) in one of the walls in the court of my residence here. I obtained the services of a most excellent Spanish scholar to translate the inscriptions, a copy of which is herewith enclosed. You will observe that it differs somewhat from the one you sent me.

I note also, your connection with the “Tallahassean” and your desire for information regarding my locating in Florida, etc, etc. I don’t know that I can assign any particular reason for my first investment in this State; it was simply the outcome of a casual visit, and is merely an instance of the luck which has attended me throughout my life. My attention was first attracted to the upper East Coast, and later I realized the wonderful possibilities of this section, both as to the soil and climate, until the development of the present day is reached. What the future will be, no one can foretell, but I have unbounded faith in the resources of the State and its citizens.

With best wishes, I am,
Yours truly,
HM Flagler