Presented by Laura Albritton and Jerry Wilkinson
What if the Overseas Railroad had never reached Key West? In their presentation the “Great Key West Extension Scare,” Florida Keys historian Jerry Wilkinson and writer Laura Albritton dive into the hidden history of Flagler’s railroad that went to sea. Uncovering a stash of records and newspaper articles, they will recount the dispute that might have led to the vital railroad line stopping in the Middle Keys. Who was involved, and why the Key West Extension was in doubt are two of the topics explored in this slideshow and lecture. The third book that Jerry and Laura have collaborated on, Hidden History of the Florida Keys, will be available for signing after the presentation.
About the Speakers:
Florida native Laura Albritton is a writer and book reviewer whose work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Harvard Review, Sculpture magazine, the Florida Keys Weekly, and many other publications. Her short fiction has been published in several literary journals. She is the author of the travel book Miami for Families, from the University Press of Florida and she co-wrote the book Marathon: The Middle Keys with historian Jerry Wilkinson. Laura holds a bachelor’s in Comparative Literature from Columbia and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Miami, where she was a James Michener Fellow. She also works at the University of Miami’s Writing Center. She and Jerry have just completed a new book, Hidden History of the Florida Keys, which will be published by the History Press this coming winter.
Fourth-generation Floridian Jerry Wilkinson first arrived in Key West in 1947. He served in the military for over two decades, and then operated his own business. Over the years, Jerry has become one of the foremost authorities on Florida Keys history. He has amassed a substantial archive of documents, photographs, and ephemera that chronicle Florida Keys’ heritage, and he has given hundreds of presentations on that subject. He is the president of the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys. Jerry also serves on the board of the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada and on the board of the Historic Florida Keys Foundation. In addition to the books Marathon and Key West’s Duval Street, he is also the author of two additional books, Key Largo and Islamorada. His website, KeysHistory.org, is an excellent resource for anyone interested in Florida Keys history
This program is sponsored by the Helmerich Trust.