STUART, Fla., Oct. 2 — As land-boom boasts went, the 1925 headline was only mildly preposterous: “Stuart Bigger Than Miami in 10 Years,” it sang.
A cross-state shipping canal was in the works, and Stuart, about 100 miles north of the city it hoped to surpass, sat at the eastern terminus. It envisioned becoming a thriving commercial hub and built the Stuart Welcome Arch, a proud gateway on the old road into town, to embody that dream. "Atlantic Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico," its bronze lettering proclaimed.
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The cross-state canal became more bane than boon when the state started using it to flush polluted overflow from Lake Okeechobee out to sea.
“Everyone wanted that canal,” said Sandra Thurlow, a local historian, “and yet it has caused so many problems.”
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