Portfolio Naples October 2017 - Page 53

New York financiers who had been dis- credited by A. W.’s legal and financial prob- lems, the Dimocks had left Wall Street for the wilds of Florida. Using Marco Island as their base, they motored and sailed the Gulf littoral in their houseboat, the Irene, on which they carried or towed a skiff, canoe, and small powerboat. Using the smaller craft, they traversed many of the rivers flowing into the Ten ousand Islands. On occasion, they canoed well into the Everglades and the Big Cypress Swamp, twice going all the way to Miami. Julian and A. W. also traveled over- land via oxcart and mule-drawn wagon to reach places like Deep Lake Plantation on the mainland. ey frequently camped out, sometimes for days or weeks at a time. On all of these adventures, Julian used his cam- eras to take photographs. When they were done, Julian Dimock had amassed nearly two thousand photographs of Florida, all on glass negatives. His photo- graphs illustrated nearly eighty magazine and newspaper articles on Florida written by him and/or his father for Collier’s, Field and Stream, Harper’s, Scribner’s, and other peri- odicals (a listing can be found at the end of this book). Some of the articles were reprinted in A. W.’s 1908 book Florida En- chantments (an expanded and revised edition was issued in 1915). A. W. also authored sev- eral books for young adults, including Dick in the Everglades (1909) and Be Prepared, or the Boy Scouts in Florida (1912). All of the books featured Julian’s photographs. Julian also supplied photographs to magazines to il- lustrate articles written by others. By the time A. W. died in 1918 at age sev- enty-six, Julian had married and moved to Vermont, where he had taken up farming (Julian died at seventy-three in 1945). In 1920, Julian gave his collection of exposed- glass plates to the American Museum of Nat- ural History. Julian’s photographs, especially when viewed in the context of the articles and books written by him and his father, provide an extraordinary record of southwest Florida in the early 1900s. S OUTHWEST F LORIDA IN THE F IRST D ECADE OF THE T WENTIETH C ENTURY Twentieth century? e words sound very modern. But in the spring of 1904, when A. W. and Julian Dimock traveled to Marco Is- land and began to amass their trove of photo- graphs, the island lay on the southern edge of the United States’ frontier. Following the Civil War, the frontier had crept down the Gulf coast until it hit the Ten ousand Islands, an untamed, verdant labyrinth of mangroves, shell mounds, small islands, and innumerable streams. Settlements on Marco Island, at Hen- derson Creek just to the north on the main- land east of Rookery Bay, and at Everglades City (then known only as Everglade) to the south on Chokoloskee Bay marked the boundary between Anglo “civilization” to the north and the Ten ousand Islands and the wetlands of the Big Cypress Swamp and the Everglades to the east. Farming and settling lands along the Caloosahatchee River, where Fort Myers was located, or on Marco Island was one thing; wresting a living from the Ten ousand Islands was another. In one sense, the Ten ousand Islands were a barrier to further expansion down the Gulf coast. But they also were an “in-be- tween,” a region whose unique physiography separated Marco Island and the other islands and the mainland in and around Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound in the north from the vast wetlands of the Big Cypress Swamp and the Everglades to the south and east. ose wetlands spread across south Florida from the Gulf coast to Miami and the nascent settlements on Florida’s lower At- lantic coast. Far to the south, at the tip of the Florida Keys, lay the “metropolis” of Key West, south Florida’s largest town. Key West’s founding had leapfrogged the relatively un- friendly (to Anglos) Ten ousand Islands and the wetlands of interior south Florida. In a cultural sense, too, the Ten ousand Islands were an “in-between.” Anglos were living from Marco Island north along the Gulf coast, localities they had settled in the Left: In early 1905, the Dimocks purchased the Irene, an 18-ton, 37-foot houseboat. e 14-foot-wide flatbottomed craft with its 3-foot draft was well suited to the shallow inland waters of the coast. On their initial voyage from mid-April into early May 1905, they took the Irene south from Marco Island to Florida Bay at the southernmost tip of peninsular Florida. From late May into June, they explored Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound. During the first five months of 1906, they again traveled the Ten ousand Islands. Here the Irene is under way in the Gulf of Mexico off the Ten ousand Islands. April 11, 1906; 48485. Middle; About a year and a half after buying the Irene, the Dimocks removed the aft jigger mast and enlarged the cabin, making space for a 200-gallon freshwater storage tank, an auxiliary engine, and a photography darkroom. ey regularly employed two local men as ship hands and guides. In this photograph taken near Coon Key southeast of Marco Island, A. W. Dimock is on the right and one of the hired hands, probably the Irene’s captain, is on the left. September 16, 1906; 48489. Right: On the deck of the Irene, the Dimocks carried a small motorboat, a canoe, and a skiff (rowboat) or a second canoe. e smaller craft were used in waters that were too shallow for the Irene or where they simply wanted to use a smaller and quieter mode of transportation, such as on the Harney River in the Ten ousand Islands, shown here. ey also used the smaller craft for fishing. eir scenic adventures provided Julian and his father with inspiration for nearly eighty magazine articles and several books. May 30, 1906; 48384. Opposite page: In September 1906, the Dimocks sailed north into Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor, then continued up the Myakka River. When overhanging tree limbs prevented them from going farther upriver, they anchored the Irene, unloaded a canoe and the small motorboat, and continued upstream. e Dimocks’ exploration of the river is recorded in an article by A. W. published in 1907, “An Overlooked River in Florida.” September 23, 1906; 48404. PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE 51