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Miami Beach - 6 - An hour and a half by automobile or bus is the entrance to the Everglades National park, third largest such preserve in the country and unique for its bird, animal and plant life. Egrets, ibis and many other species of aquatic birds may be seen in the park, as well as alligators, all completely wild, yet reasonably unafraid of man under the protection of U. S. rangers. Fishing in the salt water rivers, bays and channels of the park is fabulous. In the park the visitor can obtain a not too far-fetched picture of what Miami Beach was before the turn of the century when little development had been started. The first commercial undertaking in what is now Miami Beach was a coconut plantation, planted in the 1880s. Although the coconuts thrived the venture failed because of a heavy drop in the copra market. Development then turned to the growing of tropical fruits and winter vegetables, shipped to northern markets on the railroad built to Miami in 1896. Miami Beach as a playground and vacation land had its inception around 1912, and an ambitious promotion to sell residential and commercial building sites got under way in 1914. By 1915, when the city was incorporated by the unanimous vote of its 31 freeholders, dredges were put to work filling in low areas and pumping new islands in Biscayne bay. A causeway also was built, connecting with the mainland, and the city began its meteoric rise to its present eminence in the resort world. -- 0 --
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