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Passion, perseverance, and a Welcome Center! Ernest Coe’s Quest for anEverglades National Park.

In January 1929, Stephen Mather received a letter from Ernest F. Coe, Chairman of “The Tropic Everglades Park Association,” soliciting Mather’s aid in furthering a movement to make the Everglades a National Park candidate.

 

In his letter, Coe extols…”some 2500 square miles of lakes, bays, rivers, glades, jungles, sunny beaches and islands…in such wondrous combination that nowhere else in our great country do you find this combination and with it the near tropic climate…”

 

Ernest Cole was born in New Haven in 1866 and after a successful career as a landscape architect in New England, moved to Florida in 1925.  According to US Senator Duncan Fletcher, who introduced legislation to create the Everglades National Park, Coe “was the very figure of a man possessed…”

 

Despite years of delays, Coe lived to see the dedication of Everglades National Park in 1947.  The park was considerably smaller than Coe had envisioned but today is host to more than 800,000 visitors each year.

 

In 1997 Congress acknowledged that Coe should be considered the “Father of Everglades National Park” and authorized the naming of the Homestead entrance as The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.  Appropriately, outside the Center, you will find a Stephen Mather plaque.  







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