Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The journey begins

It's official: Our selection for One Island One Book 2012 was chosen to commemorate the Centennial of the Overseas Railway. We'll be reading "Last Train to Paradise" by Les Standiford.

The book tells the tale of the epic effort to extend Flagler's East Coast Railway to Key West, which was then a prosperous shipping and cigar manufacturing center. The construction was comparable with the enormous engineering feats of the time, like the Panama Canal.

And the book continues to the railroad's tragic end -- the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 which swept across Islamorada as a Category 5 and destroyed the tracks.

Standiford will be in Key West in late February to discuss the book but there's plenty to do ahead of time to prepare. You can read the book, which is in the Library collection in print and audio -- and as an ebook through our new digital collection.

You can also learn more about the railroad by visiting "Flagler's Speedway to Sunshine," the current exhibit at the Custom House Museum of the Key West Art & Historical Society. Other Centennial events are listed on the Centennial Committee's website. And don't forget to check out the Library's own astounding collection of images from the construction and operation of the railroad, available on our Flickr page.

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