Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Florida's Mad Men

1924 brochure advertising
Florida real estate. Click to
Sarasota historian Jeff LaHurd has a delightful take on the hucksterism of the 1920s real estate frenzy in the Sarasota Herald Tribune. The headline was Florida's Mad Men.

Real estate advertising made up for the lack of color photographs with inflated prose, LaHurd writes. A 1920s brochure described Florida as “The land of romance, legend, song and story ... An emerald Kingdom by southern seas, fanned by zephyrs laden with ozone from stately pines, watered by Lethe's copious libation ... of the semitropical zone.”

Says LaHurd: "Sarasota filled with fast-talking real estate men parroting the copy of full-page advertisements. Passers-by were grabbed by the arm by high-pressure salesmen at the train station and led to offices blaring jazz music.  The prevailing message was umistakable: Be quick or lose out."

LaHurd is the author of numerous books about Florida history, including Sarasota: A History, Gulf Coast Chronicles: Remember ing Sarasota's Past, Hidden History of Sarasota and Pitching Paradise During the Roaring Twenties.

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