Prior to 1923, travel into or out of the Lake Okeechobee Area
accomplished only by boat or canoe.
In the early 1920's, W. J
Conner, a New York winter visitor bought 4000 acres of undeveloped
muck land near this site. Development required that this property
be accessible by land. Being a man with financial and executive
ability, he was not long in achieving his desire.
After obtaining approval from both houses of the State Legislature
in the record time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, he set about
building the W. J. Conners Toll Road.
Although the terrain was
unknown, Conners and his engineer, R. V. Patterson, constructed the
road using dredges. A temporary railroad installed on the roadbed
hastened construction. First work began on October 16, 1924 and
the highway was completed on June 25, 1925,
8 months later. The
final cost of the 52 mile road was $1,800,000. The road was
hailed as an engineering marvel of the time and contributed greatly
to the growth of this area. Although the toll was only $.03 a
mile, the average daily toll gathered was $2000. After Conners'
death on October 5. 1929, the road ultimately was
State of Florida for $660,000. This memorial is in tribute to his accomplishments.