For collectors of early Floridiana, here is a prize---a circa 1930 hand colored photograph of a lazy slough with a clump of distant palms, titled in lower right margin "Miami River, Fla.", and at left margin in pencil is "Harris". This work, 6 3/4" by 10 3/4" in most interesting old original frame, is by the noted photographer best known for his early images of Saint Augustine, W. J. HARRIS. The area depicted is today very close to downtown Miami and Interstate 95, which makes this view most prized and rare---the photographer of this lazy tropical backwater view, back then, could not have easily foreseen that modern day Miami, "The Magic City", with its now-familiar high rise residential and office towers, would rise from the mosquito-infested land just a matter of decades hence. Harris was born in England and came to Saint Augustine by 1898 after growing up in Pennsylvania. He began to winter in Florida, and soon found a niche selling postcards and other images of Saint Augustine, to early tourists, from his shop on Saint George Street. Harris was at one time the curator of the Saint Augustine Historical Society. He summered for many years in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, before passing away in 1940. Today, collectors seek out his postcards and other images of early Florida. While Saint Augustine was of course always quite a draw in earlier times, going back to the days of the Spanish explorers, South Florida and the region of today's Miami was essentially a barely populated swamp before the 1920's, making early twentieth century images very scarce and desirable. The photo is clean, margin has some slight discolorations especially at lower right corner. Note original early label still affixed on the reverse.
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