News Release

For immediate release - October 3, 2013

Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge and Canal & the Struggle for Florida's Future

The public is invited to a free presentation by Dr. Steve Noll on Tuesday, October 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Paisley County Library. Based on the award-winning book, Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge and Canal & the Struggle for Florida's Future, the presentation examines the long & convoluted history of the attempt to cross the Florida peninsula by cutting a waterway from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. It looks at the Ocklawaha River in the 19th century and the first attempt to cut a ship canal in the 1930s as part of a New Deal work project. It then moves to the 1960s and the controversy over the building of a barge canal along the path of the failed ship canal.

Dr. Steve Noll is a senior lecturer in the history department at the University of Florida. He received his PhD from there in 1991. He has written extensively on two widely disparate topics- Florida history & the environment and disability history. He has published three books: Feeble-Minded in our Midst; Mental Retardation in America; and, most recently, Ditch of Dreams: The Cross-Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida’s Future which started through a grant from the State of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and was researched and written in collaboration with Professor David Tegeder.

The program is part of Lake County’s celebration of Viva Florida 500. Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the national Endowment for the Humanities.

The Paisley County Library is located at 24954 C.R. 42 in Paisley. For directions or additional information, please call 352-669-1001 or go to our website at



Media contact:
Ron Moore
Library Supervisor

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