“Ditch of Dreams” Authors to Speak Nov. 17 at Santa Fe College

The public is invited to hear co-authors David Tegeder and Steven Noll discuss their book “Ditch of Dreams” 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at a meeting of the Florida Crackers Chapter of the Florida Trail Association on SF’s Northwest Campus.

The full title of the 2009 book by Tegeder, professor in the Santa Fe College Department ofSocial and Behavioral Sciences and Noll, senior lecturer in the University of Florida Department of History, is “Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida’s Future.”

“It’s a story about notions of progress, politics and economic development,” said Tegeder. “The canal as first proposed would have been four times longer than the Panama Canal.”

The canal was begun as a works project during the Great Depression, but construction ceased when funding was cut due to politics. Although funding was restored and construction resumed in the 1960s, Florida’s growing environmental movement led by Marjorie Harris Carr of Gainesville opposed the canal.

The Rodman Dam and Reservoir are byproducts of the barge canal project. The Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, which stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River, runs basically along the right of way proposed for the canal.

“Ditch of Dreams” has won two awards: the 2010 Michael Thomason Book Award from the Gulf South Historical Association for best book on Gulf South history, and the 2010 Rembert Patrick Award from the Florida Historical Society for the best scholarly book on a Florida history topic.

Trail Association members will conduct their business meeting from 6:30-7 p.m.; the lecture by Tegeder and Noll starts at 7 p.m. The location is Building R, room 1 on Santa Fe’s Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville. Admission is free.

For more information, phone David Tegeder, 352-395-5083, or email.