Model Land Company Records (University of Miami)

The Model Land Company (MLC) Records date from 1907 - 1967 (inclusive) with bulk dates of 1910 - 1940. The MLC Records are housed in one hundred and fifty-nine (159) boxes and total sixty-six (66) cubic feet of files. The MLC Records are arranged in two series: Series I: Special Files and Series II: Sales Files. The files consist of the administrative and financial records of the MLC's Miami-based land agent, Frederick S. Morse, and those agencies that followed Morse, including Pepper and Potter; Pepper and Coffrin, Inc.; Frank J. Pepper and Son, Inc.; and Frank J. Pepper, Inc. The files do not represent the comprehensive records of the Model Land Company, although this material constitutes a large portion of the surviving records. Unfortunately, most of the records of the central office in St. Augustine were destroyed between 1963 and 1967.

The MLC had an enormous impact on the history of the Everglades. The region known as Cape Sable is documented in a number of files recording land transactions and plans to develop roads, experimental farms and other facilities. James Ingraham initiated the drainage and development of the area. As an employee of Henry B. Plant's South Florida Railroad, Ingraham explored the Everglades for construction of a railroad route to the Keys. He reported that the land was unsuitable for a railroad but had enormous potential for farming. Plant was uninterested, but Flagler pursued this information and eventually acquired and began the process of draining the land so it could be sold as farmland. In addition to promoting the sale of the land and encouraging the establishment of agricultural experiment centers by providing low rate leases, the company constructed roadways and advertised hunting and fishing attractions. The files contain maps showing various proposed boundary lines, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, memos, transcripts of radio broadcasts, and other materials documenting the company's activities in the Everglades.

Description prepared by Ruthanne Vogel, University of Miami

Also available: brief biographies of Henry M. Flagler and James E. Ingraham.




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