1928: The Grand Opening of the Tamiami Trail in the Sunshine State

April 25, 1928

Florida’s Tamiami Trail, which encompasses the southernmost 275 miles (443 kilometers) of U.S. Route 41, was officially opened. This highway starts at State Road 60 in Tampa on the west coast of the state, courses along what has become the Big Cypress National Preserve, intersects with Naples, cuts through the tropical and swampy Everglades, and ends up at U.S. Route 1 in Miami on Florida’s Atlantic coast. 

The development of the Tamiami Trail dated back to 1915, with those involved in the project seeking to build a corridor connecting the east and west coasts of the Sunshine State. This construction project was a lot easier said than done in light of the major topographical challenges involved, and the completion of the Tamiami Trail is now widely considered to be one of that era’s key engineering achievements. 

The dedication festivities for this highway included having a large motorcade of various dignitaries travel along the newly opened route. The grand marshal for this procession of motor vehicles was Hugh Mauck, a prominent citizen of the city of Fort Myers on Florida’s southwest coast. A motorcycle traffic officer named C.J. Hutches played a pivotal role in helping to ensure that the motorcade remained as orderly as possible throughout the journey. The next day’s edition of the Florida-based Bradenton Herald reported, “Officer Hutches rode in front of Grand Marshal Mauck’s blue roadster, clearing the way so that the motorcade moved along with very little loss in time.”

Photo Credit: Adbar (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

Additional information on the history of the Tamiami Trail is available at https://www.historymiami.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/sfh-1989-1.pdf and https://www.floridaseminoletourism.com/history-of-tamiami-trail/

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