I have commented before on some strange lawsuits generated by environmental concerns, so this one, centered on the “Overseas Highway” that linked Key West, Florida to the mainland, came as an amusing surprise:
1926 – Monroe County citizens overwhelmingly approve a $2.5 million bond issue to launch construction of an “Overseas Highway.”
1927 – A severe winter, followed by a cool summer in northern Europe, causes charges that dredging and filling for the Over-Sea Railroad bed had caused a change in the path of the Gulf Stream. Europeans charge Flagler with displacing their climate control, but the U.S. Hydrographic Bureau and the Weather Bureau find no reason to believe the Key West Extension has shifted the Gulf Stream in any way.
I found out about this while reading Water to the Angels, a history of William Mullholland and the aqueduct he built. The Times gives it a tepid review, but as a civil engineer who was inspired to enter the profession by men like Mullholland, I found it a good read. And then there’s that bit about the film Chinatown… No surprise, but the historical facts are a bit different. “Forget it Jake, it’s Hollywood.” Still a great film though…