Regional Sea Stories - Pensacola, the Deep-Water Harbor of the Gulf: Its Development, 1825-1930

A Story of Gulf Coast Maritime History

By George F. Pearce

The following article appeared in the Gulf Coast Historical Review which is published biannually in the Fall and Spring by the History Department of the University of South Alabama, Humanities 334, Mobile AL. 36688. Subscription inquries should be sent to the "Managing Editor", GCHR at the address above. The article that follows was copied from Vol.5, No.2 with their permission. (It's a great little magazine!)

Pensacola's historic claim of having the finest natural deep-water harbor on the Gulf Coast was initially predicated on surveys of it dating, at least, from 1719. In that year, the master of the Marine Academy of Toulon, France, wrote that Pensacola "is the only road in the bay of Mexico in which ships can be safe from all winds. You will find," he continued, "not less than 21 feet on the bar which is at the entrance into the road, provided you keep in the deepest part of the channel." (1) Subsequent surveys of the harbor by British cartographer George Gauld in 1764, and by Maj. James Kearney of the U.S. Topographical Engineers in 1822 corroborated the French survey of 1719. (2)

Despite these favorable surveys, the port of Pensacola had two detrimental natural features: a bar which denied deep-draft vessels access from the deep water of the Gulf to the deep water of the bay, and the absence of a navigable river system connecting it with the fertile agricultural lands of its hinterland. By the time these obstacles were overcome or were no longer important, the nation's transportation system had created a marketing arrangement that was disadvantageous to old southern port cities which had served as transshipment ports for staple products or, as in the case of Pensacola, for an exhaustible commodity, timber. Consequently, late-nineteenth-century urbanization and industrialization, two important criteria for sustaining a flourishing port, bypassed Pensacola. After approximately four decades as a major seaport, the port of Pensacola was in serious decline by 1918.

Early in 1825, Congress authorized the construction of a navy yard at Pensacola. It took this action despite being informed by the Board of Navy Commissioners a year earlier that the channel into Pensacola Bay did not provide, "at all times, a sufficient depth of water for larger vessels than frigates of the first class." Therefore, the commissioners recommended that a further study of the advantages of the harbor be made by the Army Corps of Engineers, before the establishment of permanent facilities. (3)

As early as 1829, it became obvious to some observers that, to insure future development at the yard, dredging operations to deepen the channel over the bar were imperative. In that year Capt. William H. Chase of the Army Corps of Engineers proposed to the secretary of war that a channel be excavated over the bar to a depth of 27 1/2 feet at low tide. (4) Four years later the commandant of the yard proposed that a channel be dredged to a depth of 30 feet at low tide. Both proposals erroneously concluded that, because the depth of water on the bar did not appear to have changed since the earlier surveys in 1764 and 1822, the bar was a permanent bank of sand not subject to shoaling. Thus a channel over the bar would remain at the depth excavated. (5) However, they correctly recognized that the yard's success weighed heavily upon making the harbor accessible to the largest vessels in the fleet. Action in Washington on such proposals for Pensacola harbor would not materialize for another half century. Thus, the bar was partially responsible for the agonizingly slow development of the yard which, many had predicted, would quickly bring economic prosperity to the port city.

Just as the bar was a detriment to the development of the navy yard, so the absence of a river system into the interior was a formidable obstacle to the development of commercial shipping. Three rivers empty into Pensacola Bay: the Blackwater and Yellow, in the northeastern arm of the bay, and the Escambia, in the northwestern arm of the bay. These rivers, however, were shallow and unnavigable for commercial purposes.

In 1836, Maj. J. D. Graham, U.S. Topographical Engineers, described the land in Pensacola's hinterland in Alabama, lying between the Chattahoochee River to the east and the Alabama River to the west, and 150 miles wide from north to south, as "generally of a rich soil, and admirably adopted to the cultivation of cotton. . . ." However, Graham stated that the inhabitants of the area were denied access to the most convenient place to market their produce, the port of Pensacola, because of an unsuitable river system. He noted that the Escambia -Conecuh river (They are the same river; the portion in Alabama being called the Conecuh River and the portion in Florida being called the Escambia River.) was the only stream upon which any navigation existed. (6) In 1833 and again in 1836 the government appropriated five thousand dollars for the removal of snags, overhanging trees, and other obstructions from the Escambia and Conecuh rivers, but such small expenditures could do little to rectify the magnitude of the problem. (7)Therefore, by the middle 1830s Pensacolians turned to the new steam railway as the best possible substitute for a navigable river.

The Alabama, Florida and Georgia Railroad Company was chartered in December 1834 for constructing 210 miles of railroad from Pensacola to Columbus, Georgia, with a branch line going into Montgomery. The railroad was designed to divert the cotton commerce of Montgomery on the Alabama River, and Columbus on the Chattahoochee River, to the port of Pensacola. After protracted negotiations, company officials agreed to abandon the plan for the Columbus line for a direct line to Montgomery. This action shortened the railroad to 156 miles. However, by that time the prospects for success had vanished. The railroad was heavily indebted to the Bank of Pensacola. When the Panic of 1837 closed the doors of the bank, it spelled the eventual doom of the railroad. The company had spent over a half million dollars for materials, surveys, grading, and machinery when the construction was discontinued in 1838, but no rails had yet been laid. This first attempt to offset the disadvantages of a poor river system, by connecting Pensacola to the cotton plantations of the Alabama-Georgia heartland by rail, was an expensive failure. (8)

Before railroad projects came to fruition in both Florida and Alabama, Mobile's hinterland included southern Alabama and southeastern Mississippi. The Alabama river systems emptying into the Mobile River were only navigable as far north as central Alabama. Consequently, Mobile was the seaport for many of the counties in southern Alabama with the exception of those counties on the Alabama-Georgia border, which shipped their cotton to the port of Apalachicola by way of the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers. (9) In 1850 Mobile and Apalachicola were the second and third largest cotton ports on the Gulf of Mexico. New Orleans was the largest. (10) Without a railroad into the interior, Pensacola was isolated from the valuable cotton-producing area to its north. As prosperity returned in the 1840s, Pensacohans began laying plans for a proposed Alabama and Florida Railroad connecting their city with Montgomery. When Alabama surpassed Mississippi as the leading cotton-growing state in 1850, the attraction of the line grew. By the late 1850s, construction on both the Alabama and Florida sections was in progress.

The prospects of luring cotton shipments from Montgomery to Pensacola by rail appeared encouraging. In 1858, the Mobile and Ohio Railroad transported over "152,000 bales of cotton to the Alabama port." Since only a small portion of the line ran through Alabama before entering Mississippi, the cotton arriving in Mobile by rail before 1860 largely came from counties in Mississippi; that arriving from southern Alabama was transported on its river system. (11) Although the distance from Mobile to Montgomery was only 172 miles by land, it was approximately 500 miles on the meandering Alabama River. Thus the passage took several days by steamboat; this was in sharp contrast to traveling the 159 rail miles from Montgomery to Pensacola in less than twelve hours.

As war clouds gathered, crews on both the Alabwna and Florida sections worked at a feverish pace to complete the line. The last spikes were driven in early May 1861, just as the first guns of the Civil War thundered. Pensacola was now connected by rail with Montgomery and by way of the Montgomery and West Point Railroad to West Point, Georgia, thirty miles north of Columbus on the Chattahoochee River. Both of these river cities were important commercial centers of the Georgia-Alabama cotton belt. (12) The jubilation in Pensacola over ending its isolation from the productive cotton lands of southern Alabama and Georgia was to be short lived. The Alabama and Florida Railroad became a victim of the Civil War.

Almost unnoticed amidst the fever of antebellum railroad building efforts, was the beginning of a substantial timber and lumber industry at Bagdad on the Blackwater River near where it empties into Pensacola Bay. (13) In time this industry, as it spread through northwest Florida and southern Alabama, would bring unimagined, although short-lived, activity to the port of Pensacola.

Unlike New Orleans and Mobile, where decades went by before their port trade again approached the 1860 figure, the port of Pensacola surged from practical obscurity in that year to national prominence by the 1880s. A number of men would apply their skills and capital to create a lumber boom that would turn the port of Pensacola into a veritable beehive of activity. Rapid urban growth, both here and abroad, created an unprecedented demand for timber and lumber. West Florida, with its vast prime timberlands, capitalized on this demand. (14)

In 1877, as Reconstruction ended, a dozen or more saw mills in areas contiguous to Pensacola had an aggregate cutting capacity of over two hundred million feet of lumber. Also thousands of logs were rafted down the rivers and bay to Pensacola harbor. To transport this timber, valued at $2,291,822, to both domestic and foreign markets, 590 vessels entered the harbor that year. (15) The Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad connected the city with the rest of the nation in 1883; this development was expected to make the port of Pensacola competitive for cotton and other agricultural products. (16) Since the line ran through, or was in close proximity to, the pinelands of West Florida it also greatly facilitated the development of the timber industry. To exploit the port's new-found position, however, accessibility to the harbor was imperative.

When loaded, the larger ships coming into the harbor were frequently detained for many days waiting for a sufficient depth of water on the bar for safe passage across it. Others were forced to leave with less than fun cargoes for the same reason. This situation augured ill for local commerce unless dredging operations were begun. In a speech in the U.S. Senate in June 1882, Senator C. W. Jones of Florida pointed out that generous appropriations for eastern ports to open their harbors had been approved by that body, but that little had been done for Pensacola. (17)

Undoubtedly the bar at Pensacola was a problem but it was not unique on the Gulf Coast. The water in upper Mobile Bay was so shallow that deep- draft ships anchored at Mobile Point where their cargoes were transferred to shallow-draft vessels for the thirty miles through the bay to the city's wharves. (18) Ocean-going vessels also had to anchor outside the Galveston bar to load and unload. (19) The bar at the mouth of the Mississippi River also prevented large vessels from reaching New Orleans. Eastern ship builders came forth with the "New Orleans packet," a shallow-draft vessel, to navigate the bar. However, much of the port's "ocean cargo was . . . carried in bottoms that were second and third class in capacity and speed." (20)

States and cities instinctively turned to the federal government for aid in river and harbor control. However, the federal responsibility in this realm had not been fully determined. Improvements to river systems and harbors stirred the imaginations of far fewer people than railroads, which were liberally subsidized by both state and federal governments. In 1882 President Chester A. Arthur vetoed a river and harbors bill, only to have Congress pass it over his veto. At that time, there was a hundred million dollar surplus in the U.S. Treasury from tariff revenues, and Congress' solution to the problem was to spend the surplus in lavish appropriations for river and harbor improvements and porkbarrel handouts.

Dredging operations in Pensacola commenced under the supervision of the Army Engineers in 1883 and continued intermittently during the rest of the century. These dredging operations maintained a channel depth of between twenty-three and twenty-four feet at low tide, but in the years dredging was suspended for lack of funds the channel would quickly shoal to a depth of nineteen feet. (21) In 1888, the Chief of Engineers predicted that permanent improvements at Pensacola "may require the expenditure of several millions of dollars." (22)

Between 1878 and 1896, total congressional appropriations to maintain navigation at Pensacola harbor amounted to $650,000. (23) This expenditure is in sharp contrast to the $6,200,000 Congress authorized in 1890 for the completion of the Galveston jetties, which made it a deep-water port by 1896. Of course, before Houston became a deep-water port in 1914, the Galveston project had a significant impact on the economy of the Trans-Mississippi West. (24) Deep- water conventions held in Fort Worth, Denver, and Topeka, where delegates from nine western states adopted a resolution for a first-class harbor on the Texas coast, worked in Galveston's favor. (25) In 1896, Pensacola's export tonnage was 380,091 with a dollar value of $6,615,635. (26) Nevertheless, it did not have the political clout with Congress comparable to the western states clamoring for a deep-water port.

Jetties were also constructed in the Pensacola channel but they met with little success. (27) The problem of the bar was resolved in 1905 when the dredge Caucus was turned over to the Pensacola district by the Army Engineers. Continuous dredging soon provided a channel with a depth of thirty feet at low tide. (28)

Government expenditures were also required for improvements on the Escambia and Conecuh rivers. Reports of the Army Engineers indicate that most of the operations occurred on the hundred miles of the Escambia in Florida and on approximately seventy-one miles of the Conecuh in Alabama. (29) By removing overhanging trees, logs, snags, and rocks, and by dredging the bar at the mouth of the river the depth of the water was sufficient to raft logs downstream to the bay where tugs secured the rafts and towed them to Pensacola. The value of the timber arriving by this stream was valued at two Million dollars in 1905. (30)

At the turn of the century Pensacola was enjoying a degree of prosperity. In three of the four closing months of 1899, exports were substantially above the million dollar level. At times cotton exports were even rivaling those of timber. For example, in January 1900 their value was $829,749. By 1900 other commodities, such as tobacco, naval stores, pig iron, and grain were regularly appearing on the list of exports. (31) Export tonnage continued to climb during the first decade of the twentieth century, reaching an all time high in 1913 with a tonnage of 1,475,051, with an approximate value of $25,000,000. (32)

Palafox St. Wharf
Click on Photo for a Larger Image (Approx 70 kb)

In January 1914 a Liverpool brokerage firm, which handled a sizeable amount of Pensacola's timber exports, reported that it was insolvent. The First National Bank of Pensacola had extended loans totaling close to a half million dollars to the firm. Rumors spread quickly that the bank was overextended, and a run by its depositors closed its doors. This unfortunate action drove several other Pensacola businessmen, who were large stockholders in the bank, into bankruptcy. Among them were prominent families in the timber industry. The bank's failure sapped energy from the city's commercial interests that were already tottering on decline. (35)

In August 1914 the outbreak of war in Europe soon suspended almost all of the commercial activity at the port. The lumber era was ending and the European markets dried up. After 1917 ships plying the Atlantic carried government cargo to sustain American and allied military forces, but Pensacola and other ports on the Gulf Coast did not produce such cargo. By the end of the war in 1918, export tonnage from the port was about one-fifth of its 1913 level. The cargo records of one Pensacola steamship agent firm shows that it served thirty-one steamships in 1913, compared to only four each in 1917 and 1918. (36) The establishment of the Pensacola Naval Air Station in 1914 helped somewhat to soften the economic adversity the war brought to the port. (37) In time it would become a mainstay in the city's economy, but it contributed only marginally to its commercial development.

The massive timber exports from the port during the period roughly from 1877 to 1914 had blinded Pensacolians to the need for adjusting to rapid changes occurring in the nation. Local promoters continued to believe that once they had a railroad running to the north, the port of Pensacola would become a major outlet for products of the Midwest. But during and after the Civil War, many railroads were built in the Midwest. These railways north of the Ohio River running east to west siphoned off the produce of that area to the east by way of the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal; while those south of the river carried the produce of that area to the bustling Atlantic ports of Baltimore and Norfolk. By the time Pensacola had a rail line into the interior, "the bulk of the Midwest trade was not going to follow in a southerly direction, either by rail or by water." (38) Despite the boosterism of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and the Chamber of Commerce, the prospects of Pensacola tapping new markets to the north proved an empty hope; they never materialized.

Pensacola continued dependent upon timber exports while many sections of the nation industrialized. Boosters of the New South tirelessly championed the cause of industrial growth, but the city's leaders placed their greatest emphasis on improving commercial rather than industrial facilities. However, industrialization was imperative if the port was to remain viable as the timber industry declined. Naval stores and fishing were other Pensacola industries but they, too, were in decline and, like the timber industry, did not generate a large urban labor force. In 1909, there were 961 workers engaged in manufacturing activities in Pensacola. The value of the products manufactured in that year was $1,962,661. However, the city did not make the transition to industry, and it became even less important than those cities which were able to exploit changing conditions. (39)

Admittedly, Pensacola's leaders were faced with almost insurmountable obstacles in making this transition. Largely because of geography and the shift in the national economy away from agriculture, Pensacola, much like Mobile, New Orleans, and Galveston, was unable to exploit railroad connections as effectively as inland cities. It was in the southern inland cities, such as Dallas, Houston, Birmingham, Atlanta, and Durham, where southern industrialization and urbanization occurred most rapidly. (40) The dynamics that control urban growth destined that Pensacola attain only the level of a small city. This coupled with its sparsely settled hinterland also precluded the development of a valuable import trade, which is a necessary counterpart to exports in a successful port. When it was one of the nation's leading timber-exporting cities, Pensacola was actually a transshipment center. Ships coming there for cargoes of timber came in ballast rather than laden with cargo for consumption in the locality or in the interior. (41)

In the first six years of the 1920s, Pensacola's port made a modest recovery. Articles appeared in such publications as the World's Markets, Gulf Ports Magazine, and the Nautical Gazette describing the port's location, its alleged modern wharves and cargo-handling equipment, and rail facilities. These were probably partially responsible for cargo reaching a respectable 750,000 tons in 1925. (42) That same year marked the arrival in Pensacola of another railway line. The St. Louis-San Francisco Railway gave the port new access to the northwest. This welcomed event, along with the recent increases in exports, buoyed optimism among city officials that the past fortunes of the port would return.

This optimism was seriously dampened in 1926 when a severe hurricane struck the city. Most of the sixteen wharves suffered various degrees of damage, and the Louisville and Nashville grain elevator was completely destroyed. The disaster prompted the Chamber of Commerce to engage the consulting firm of Parks, Kapp, Bincherhoff, and Douglas to assess the port's future. Released in 1927, the voluminous report described the functions of the wharves and their various stages of disrepair. The condition of the piers, and "the port's primitive cargo handling equipment were two of the report's major concerns." In addition to suggested improvements to the foregoing, other recommendations for upgrading the port were:

building a grain elevator, development of a fruit import and storage business, constructing a cold and dry storage warehouse, large enough to make ice for icing rail cars, and a publicly owned and operated cotton warehouse and press ... near dockside. (43)

In 1929 two years after the Parks report, the Army Corps of Engineers released another study. It dwelt upon the need for adequate facilities to handle commodities which it could likely attract to the port; for adequate terminals to provide rapid loading of vessels; and ample railroad trackage between the railroads and the docks. However, of at least equal importance was the point that "the, success or failure of the port community to attract and hold business was port coordination and management. It declared that, if possible,

the control of all deep-water frontage by the public.... including the ownership and operation of a belt-fine railroad connecting all rail lines and all terminals, ... (would be) a practical solution of the coordination problem and ... an effective remedy for many of the ills that now exist.

In concluding, it stated that "ports should not have to depend upon the good will or selfish interests of either railroads or steamship lines to develop business." The development of traffic, it stressed, is the primary function of the port itself. (44)

As these reports indicate public control of facilities and management was essential to coordinate port activities and to generate traffic. However, all the main wharves in Pensacola, engaged in imports and exports, were privately owned, most by railroads. There is no indication that either city or state officials seriously attempted to get control of this waterfront land. "The Louisville and Nashville Railroad deserved credit for much of the port's success, but some charged that it hurt Pensacola's imports by refusing to service independents at its wharves. (45) (In 1912, Pensacolians had voted favorably for a bond issue to build municipal wharves, but they were not built nor a port authority established until 1943.) Neither the Parks nor the Engineers reports suggested who should assume the responsibility for getting their recommendations accomplished. Before an answer was found to this perplexing problem, the community was in the throes of economic depression and the recommendations were ignored. As the Depression worsened during the 1930s, one-by-one several of the wharves rotted away and the port became a mere shadow of its once bustling past.


(1) Cass to Van Buren, January 18, 1836, 24th Cong., 1st sess., S. Doc. 67 (Serial 280), 3-7.

(2) John D. Ware (revised and completed by Robert R. Rea), George Gauld: Surveyor and Cartographer of the Gulf Coast (Gainesville, 1982) 28-31. Cass to Polk March 17, 1836, 24th Cong., 1st sess., H. Doc. 176 (Serial 289), 2-5. Cass to Van Buren, January 20, 1836, 24th Cong., 1st sess., S. Doc. 70 (Serial 280), 2-5.

(3) Rodgers to Southard, April 15, 1824, American State Papers: Naval Affairs 1: 951- 52. See George F. Pearce, The U.S. Navy in Pensacola: From Sailing Ships to Naval Aviation, 1825, 1930 (Gainesville, 1980) 1-5.

(4) Chase to Eaton, February 5, 1836, American State Papers: Naval Affairs 4: 372- 74.

(5) Cass to Van Buren, January 18, 1836, 24th Cong., 1st sess., S. Doc. 67 (Serial 280), 3-7.

(6) Cass to Polk, March 17, 1836, 24th Cong., 1st sess., H. Doc. 176 (Serial 289), 2-5.

(7) U.S. Engineers Department, Annual Report, 1895, 2: 1662.

(8) Charles H. Hildreth, "Railroads Out of Pensacola, 1833-1883," Florida Historical Quarterly 37, nos. 3 and 4, (January-April 1959): 403-5. See Dorothy Dodd, "Railroad Projects in Territorial Florida" (M.A. thesis, Florida State College for Women, 1929) 45-55. See also Jesse Earle Bowden, "Canal Dreams and Railroad Reality" in Iron Horse in the Pinelands (Pensacola, 1982), 8-9. New Orleans, however, had an almost identical experience at the same time, in attempting the construction of the New Orleans and Nashville Railroad. See Harold Sinclair, The Port of New Orleans (New York, 1942), 190.

(9) Harriet E. Amos, Cotton City: Urban Development In Antebellum Mobile (Tuscaloosa, 1985), 20. "Planters in northern Alabama sent their cotton via the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers 1,500 miles to New Orleans." Ibid.

(10) William Warren Rogers, Outposts of the Gulf: Saint George Island and Apalachicola from Early Exploration to World War II (Gainesville, 1986),44.

(11) Amos, Cotton City, 202-4.

(12) Hildreth, "Railroads Out of Pensacola," 404-8. The Mobile and Great Northern Railroad was also completed in 1861. This fifty-mile line ran from Tensas, Alabama, on the Tensas River east to Pollard, Alabama, where it intersected with the Alabama and Florida Railroad. Pensacolians were confident, however, that their port would receive the bulk of the cotton coming south by rail from Montgomery. The tracks of the Alabama and Florida Railroad within the city of Pensacola extended to the foot of Tarragona Street where new wharves had been built. The cotton going to Tensas on the Mobile and Great Northern line would have to be off-loaded on barges for the remainder of the passage to Mobile's wharves.

(13) See Brian Rucker, "Arcadia and Bagdad: Industrial Parks of Antebellum Florida," Florida Historical Quarterly 67 (October 1988): 148-65.

(14) John Appleyard, Four Centuries ... A Saga of Pensacola Port in Action

(Pensacola, 1980),8.

(15) W. D. Chipley, Pensacola (The Naples of America) and its Surroundings Illustrated (Louisville, 1877), 6, 20.

(16) See Howard N. Rabinowitz, "Continuity and Change: Southern Urban Development, 1860-1900," in The City in Southern History: The Growth of Urban Civilization in the South, ed. Blaine Brownell and David Goldfield, (Port Washington, NY, 1977), 95. In 1881, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was operating the original Alabama and Florida line, and, in the same year, it subscribed to the controlling portion of the capital stock issued by the proposed Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad. L&N officials also held management positions in the P&A. The P&A line eastward from Pensacola to Chattahoochee, was completed in 1883. It connected at Chattahoochee with the Florida Central & Western Railroad Company that extended eastward to Jacksonville. On January 1, 1885, the P&A was incorporated into the L&N system. The L&N had also gained control of the Mobile and Great Northern system; thus, the L&N system had lines running out of Pensacola to the west, north and east. (See Jesse Earle Bowden, "Colonial Chipley Builds a Railroad," in Iron Horse in the Pinelands (Pensacola, 1982) 22-38.

(17) The Harbors of Fernandina and Pensacola: Speeches of Hon. C. W. Jones and Hon. Wilkinson Call in Senate of the United States, June 15, 1882, upon a bill in reference to same (Washington, 1882), 3-10.

(18) Amos, Cotton City, 26.

(19) Marilyn McAdams Sibley, The Port of Houston, A History (Austin, 1968), 114.

(20) Sinclair, The Port of New Orleans, 173-74.

(21) Lincoln to Reed, February 13, 1885, 48th Cong., 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 224 (Serial 2303), 3.

(22) S. V. Benet to Reed, March 17, 1888, 50th Cong., 1st sess., H. Ex. Doc. 226 (Serial 2560),I-2.

(23) U.S. Engineers Department, Annual Report, 1896, 3: 1374.

(24) Sibley, The Port of Houston, 114.

(25) David G. McComb, Galveston, A History (Austin, 1986), 60. With completion of the jetties and with frequent dredging, the depth of the channel at Galveston was twenty-five feet, or approximately the same as the depth of the channel at Pensacola.

(26) Appleyard, Four Centuries, 16.

(27) U.S. Engineers Department, Annual Report, 1896, 3: 1375-76.

(28) U.S. Engineers Department, Annual Report, 1906,1257.

(29) U.S. Engineers Department, Annual Report, 1896,3: 1394.

(30) U.S. Engineers Department, Annual Report, 1906, Appendix Q, 1259.

(31) Fred 0. Howe, Gulf Ports Special Freight Circular (Pensacola, 1891).

(32) Appleyard, Four Centuries, 16.

(33) Chipley, Pensacola (The Naples of America), 20.

(34) James R. McGovern, The Emergence of a City in the Modern South: Pensacola 1900-1945 (De Leon Springs, FL, 1976), 25. A basic tenet of the New South creed regarding agriculture was crop diversification. However, all efforts to break the sharecropping and crop-lien systems, largely failed. Henry Grady's dream that industrialization and urbanization would bring "farm husbandry in its true sense of the South" did not materialize. Lawrence H. Larsen, The Rise of the Urban South (Lexington, 1985), 78-79.

(35) McGovern, Emergence of a City, 26-27. See Thomas Muir, Jr., "William Alexander Blount, Defender of the Old South and Advocate of a New South" (M.A. thesis, University of West Florida, 1988), 50-52.

(36) Frank J. Oaks, "The Port of Pensacola, 1877-1920," 1970, 19, Pensacola Historical Museum. With the opening of the Panama Canal to traffic in August 1914, Pensacola and other Gulf ports expected to handle an enormous increase in tonnage the canal would generate. However, this expectation was never realized. See Leland J. Henderson, "Pensacola and Panama," Pan American Magazine 15, no. I (November 1912): 27-39.

(37) Pearce, The U.S. Navy in Pensacola, 148-62.

(38) Larsen, The Rise of the Urban South, 74-77.

(39) McGovern, The Emergence of a City, 26. Mobile's experience with the exportation of the staple cotton, created a similar situation: "It had fewer workers and half the industrial capital in 1880 than twenty years earfier." Larsen, The Rise of the Urban South, 82.

(40) Rabinowitz, "Continuity and Change," 95-96. Lacking industrial know-how and little access to capital, the post-war South's manufacturing base remained weak in comparison to the Northeast and Midwest.

(41) In 1885, the value of Pensacola's exports was $1,967,950; whereas the value of its imports was $48,499. "Quantities and values of merchandise imported into, and exported from, the custom districts of Florida during the years ending June 30, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1885." U.S. Bureau of Statistics, 49th Cong., 2d sess., H. Doc. 7 (Serial 2476), 2: 429- 30.

(42) J. V. Price, "The Port of Pensacola," The World's Markets (December 1920): 19- 21. J. B. Morrow, "Pensacola, the Natural Deep Water Harbor of the Gulf," Gulf Ports Magazine (December 1921): 11-13. J. B. Morrow, Pensacola, "Nature's Deep Water Harbor," The Nautical Magazine (November 24, 1923): 563, 588.

(43) Quoted in Appleyard, Four Centuries, 19-21.

(44) War Department, Corps of Engineers, United States Army and United States Shipping Board, The Port of Pensacola, FL (Washington, 1929), vols. 7-8. It was becoming increasingly more difficult to get government appropriations for harbor projects "without promises of local contributions and assurances that the waterfront would not be privately controlled." Quoted in Sibley, Port of Houston, 136.

(45) McGovern, The Emergence of a City, 20-21. As early a 1885, a local editor complained that discriminatory rates of the L&N "keep Pensacola at a standstill and a competing line ... is ... the only thing that will enable us to take our rightful place in the commercial world." The Pensacolian, June 20,1885.

Dr. George F. Pearce is a professor in the history department at the University of West Florida, Pensacola.

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