Plate Creek Bay, Everglades National Park – February 27, 2013
If your grandmother ever bought some swampland in Florida, she might have owned a piece of Plate Creek Bay.
“They used to sell it out of here,” John told me. “Had an office and everything. Said they’d fill it in and drop a road down from the highway.”
There were a bunch of con men scheming to sell tracts of Florida swamp. They advertised in magazines and papers in New York City, they handed out brochures, and made promises. People bought it–pieces of the swamp–on the dream that one day they could retire to Florida. Paradise was just a few canals and some filled in mangroves away. Now all that’s left of the company’s office is a wood chickee for sleeping and a blue plastic outhouse.
“I once found a twenty-dollar bill in the water here,” John told me. “And the guy I was with got jealous and started looking all around the mud for money, but he didn’t find anything. Said I had to buy him a lunch when we got out but that wasn’t how I saw it.”
The swamp never got filled in. The development never began. The grandmas in New York didn’t get to retire in Florida. “I’ve got some swamp land in Florida to sell you,” became a phrase and the Everglades became one of the most remote, wildest places in the United States.
“Then the same guy came back one day and found three bottles of whiskey someone lost,” John told me. “Maybe it’s the ghosts off all those New Yorkers haunting the place.”
Or maybe that story is just some swampland in Florida.