South Florida history: Pennsuco

I’d always wondered about this. There’s an old ghost town in northwest Miami-Dade County called Pennsuco, which houses a few weird things – a cement plant, a radio tower or two, and some lonely highway. What is Pennsuco, though?

I never really knew much about it till I stumbled upon this interesting article by William A. Graham.

Pennsuco is a portmanteau for PEnnsylvania SUgar COmpany. From 1920 to 1927 the area was home to a sugar cane plantation and sugar mill which attempted to beat the wetlands into submission and use them as fertile land for growing cane. It just didn’t work, but many of the discoveries and techniques used there were adapted for the later sugar cane farms up near Lake Okeechobee…. yes, the “Big Sugar” that stands in the way of Everglades conservation and restoration efforts to this day.

Later, Ernest R. Graham was able to establish dairy farms on some of this land which had been drained. This has all since been plowed under to build urban sprawl.

I was going to make some silly comment about the incident where WGNK-FM was put up with its antenna “accidentally” on the wrong side of the tower, but I’ll leave that one lying in the historical mystery [misery] files for another day. 😉

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