Archive for Saturday, October 19, 2013

100 years ago: Local investors warned against Florida land purchases

October 19, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Oct. 19, 1913:

  • "A number of Douglas county men have purchased land in Florida and it is to be hoped they will get dollar for dollar on their investment and a good profit besides, but according to the stories told by Abe Wolfson and F. W. Sneegas they all stand to lose not only what they have put into the land, but hundreds more in a futile attempt to make things grow. There were about thirty men in the party and all but three bought land. These men like thousands of others were kept in tow by the real estate men and did no investigating whatever on their own hooks. The train arrives in the evening and an auto takes you to the hotel. The next day is spent in showing the buyers some of the most beautiful groves of growing fruit that the mind can imagine or the heart desire. The buyers are overwhelmed. They see the soil is the same in both places and believe that if one man can make a success of fruit-growing they can do the same.... Careful investigation on the part of Mr. Wolfson and Mr. Sneegas convinced them that the cost of production was even greater than the selling price of the products and that one could not bring an orchard to the bearing point without cost from trees and fertilizer of $750 an acre, not counting anything for the purchase price of the land nor for living expenses and labor of the owner.... Instead of being able to buy trees at 35 or 40 cents as represented it was found that trees such as should be planted cost $3.00 each and that it required at least $1.50 the first year in fertilizer per tree with a greater amount needed for each succeeding year.... At Lake Hamilton, Haynes City and Winter Haven the land is nothing but sand and does not build up from year to year through fertilizing, but the process of enriching the soil has to be kept up from year to year. The fertilizer cannot be purchased except in the seaport towns and its average cost with freight and teaming added will be about $60.00 a ton.... Even south in the Everglades where the soil is black and looks rich enough to grow anything, it is necessary to use lots of fertilizers and nothing but truck gardens are practical. Mr. Wolfson and Mr. Sneegas feel that the Kansas men who buy Florida land will not only lose all they put into it, but will lose their work and the money the put into trying to build up the land."
  • "The Social Service League has a young girl, aged 15, for whom it desires to get a home. This girl has been working but became ill and the visiting nurse has brought her back to health. She will be able to go to work again in a few days. The desire is to place her in some home that will be quiet and where the girl can get personal attention. She is too young to be thrown on the tender mercies of the world and what is most needed is for her to get some place where she can have home life.... It is hoped that the response will be speedy. You can either call Rev. E. E. Stauffer or the visiting nurse, Mrs. Rachel Fisher."
  • "The University band will give a dance at Robinson gymnasium tonight for the purpose of raising money with which to buy uniforms. The band this year absolutely refused to wear the overall uniforms provided for them last year."
  • "Mrs. A. T. Walker entertained with a children's party this afternoon in honor of her two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth. It was a peanut party and all kinds of games were played with peanuts. There were fifty guests."


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