Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Florida for Invalids": Why Do the Writers Feel That People Should Move to Florida
Already famous for having written Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), Stowe went to Florida after the U.S. Civil War (1861–1865). She purchased a plantation near Jacksonville as a place for her son to recover from the injuries he had received as a Union soldier and to make a new start in life.
In 1866, Harriet made her first Florida real estate investment. In a sense, this was a consequence of the war; her son Frederic was a wounded veteran struggling with alcohol addiction, and she leased a cotton plantation for him to run, as a fresh start. Stowe became infatuated with Florida, buying a cottage in Mandarin across the St. Johns River from Frederick’s ill-fated plantation, which soon failed. In the ensuing years, she and Calvin took advantage of Florida’s suitability for people who can afford two homes, moving between Mandarin and Hartford, Connecticut.
. . [t]hese are not recognized by many vacationers.‖ In 1990, the ten top counties visited, eight were coastal and the other two were Osceola and Orange—the Orlando area. A 1995 report found that ―Beaches are a significant, if not overwhelming, part of Florida‘s landscape and identity (Sho, Gerald, 1956).
She helped to stimulate a growing tourism industry, and attracted progressive voters to the state by extolling the virtues of life in the sunshine surrounded by natural beauty.
Shaffer, Marguerite S. See America First: Tourism and National Identity, 1880-1940. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001.
Sho, Gerald. "Ever See a Pink Whale?" All Florida Weekly Magazine, 8 July 1956, 3.
Shofner, Jerrell H. History of Apopka and Northwest Orange County, Florida. Apopka, Fla.: Apopka Historical Society, 1982.