Cesar Becerra Logging Industry Collection

You would never think of the Florida Everglades as a major contributor to Florida's logging industry, but from the 1920s through the early 1950s, it was. The epicenter was the long-abandoned Collier County town of Jerome, located on State Rd.29 just north of U.S.41. The Jerome lumber mill once was among the most productive in the United States. During the 1940s, loggers cut and finished about 100,000 board feet every day. About a thousand workers,mostly African-American men, kept the mill going. In addition to the dangers inherent in this kind of work, the men dealt with snakes, alligators, and oppressive heat. This little known part of Florida history was extensively documented in 1994-1995 by South Florida filmmaker and historian Cesar Becerra. This collection represents his work and research that has subsequently been used in exhibits and at least one court case. It includes photographs taken during the industry's heyday, government documents, videos, and oral history interviews with former loggers.