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William J. Matheson was a philanthropist, agriculturalist, and pioneer developer in South Florida in the early 20th century. His agricultural experiments, social activities, travels, and estate are recorded in this collection and offer a unique visual history of Key Biscayne. Matheson served as commodore of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club from 1912 until 1923. His annual Chowder Party on the Key became a highlight event of the season. In the early 20th century, Matheson traveled on a world cruise with his friend Arthur Curtiss James aboard his yacht, Aloha. Matheson also supported the development of south Florida, and nearly one hundred maps, plans, and images document his visionary work - including architectural plans for three of his residences, two of which are no longer standing. In 1940, Matheson's children donated more than 800 acres to Dade County for what would become Crandon Park.
William J. Matheson was a philanthropist, agriculturalist, and pioneer developer in South Florida in the early 20th century. His agricultural experiments, social activities, travels, and estate are recorded in this collection and offer a unique visual history of Key Biscayne.
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The Finlay B. Matheson collection include more than 2,411 photographs; 112 maps, surveys, and architectural plans; and 13 books related to William John Matheson and his immediate family.
Drawings, postcards, and some of the first aerial view photographs of Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, the Miami River, and the Florida Keys are represented in the collection. The materials give a glimpse into the burgeoning social life of early inhabitants who gathered at the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. The Florida landscape is captured throughout the various albums and scrapbooks and attests to a more leisurely lifestyle before the advent of skyscrapers and multi-lane highways.
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This collection has been digitized.