Sunday, October 5, 2014

the last book I ever read (Oranges by John McPhee, excerpt four)

from Oranges by John McPhee:

The history of Florida is measured in freezes. Severe ones, for example, occurred in 1747, 1766, and 1774. The freeze of February, 1835, was probably the worst one in the state’s history. But, because more growers were affected, the Great Freeze of 1895 seems to enjoy the same sort of status in Florida that the Blizzard of ’88 once held in the North. Temperatures on the Ridge on February 8, 1895, went into the teens for much of the night. It is said that some orange growers, on being told what was happening on in the groves, got up from their dinner tables and left the state. In the morning, it was apparent that the Florida citrus industry had been virtually wiped out. The groves around Keystone City, in Polk County, however, went through the freeze of 1895 without damage. Slightly higher than anything around it and studded with sizable lakes, Keystone City became famous, and people from all over the Ridge came to marvel at this Garden of Eden in the middle of the new wasteland. The citizens of Keystone City changed the name of their town to Frostproof.

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