Bridge to a Dream

Beth Rogero Bowen has just published another photo book – Bridge to a Dream – which looks at the building of the Bridge of Lions and the development of Davis Shores in the 1920s.

According to a St. Augustine Record article discussing Beth’s research:

Billed as the world’s largest dredging project, over 13 million cubic feet of fill was used to create Davis Shores from marshland at the northern tip of Anastasia Island.

Davis planned to spend $60 million on the project, including $1.5 million on a luxury hotel, $250,000 on a country club, two 18-hole golf courses and $200,000 for a yacht club. Just as construction began in early 1926, the Florida real estate boom began to fizzle, and Davis’ mysterious death at sea in October 1926 ended the dream for the island.

The only buildings completed on Davis Shores were a sales office, four apartment buildings and six homes. Bowen will use images from an original Davis Shores sales book to depict the various stages of construction of the development as well as photographs of Davis’ many promotional efforts to keep the development afloat.

The photographs used in the book come from the Historical Society’s collection – construction drawings of the bridge as well as photographs and architectural drawings from a sales book for Davis Shores donated to the society’s library. These photographs and drawings are amazing. Did you know a high-rise resort hotel was planned right across the bay from the fort?

Currently the book is only available through the St. Augustine Historical Society. You can purchase it at the Oldest House gift shop. Retail price is $29.00, but it was on sale for $20 the day I went. Members get an additional discount.