Friday, July 26

Florida's Lost City of Travertine

I was perusing old Florida newspapers when I came across a 1927 article that mentioned Jacksonville. In the article, it was implied that "travertin" could be found only in Italy and Florida. However, I can't find any modern evidence that this stone was ever found in Florida at all.


According to Wikipedia, travertine can be found in several places worldwide, including Italy, where it's been mined since the time of Ancient Rome. Some other places in Asia and Central Europe have travertine deposits. In America, travertine can be found in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Arizona. No mention of Florida.

But the St. Petersburg Times reported this in 1927:
Florida, the wonder state of the nation, has yielded another product that is found here alone in the United States and is found only in the Tivola Mountains of Italy.
OK, I can accept that we hadn't fully explored the Western United States by 1927. Maybe we didn't know that travertine existed in at least five states and a national park that had already been established for 50 years. It's possible no one knew about all that American travertine, but I still wonder where the Florida version of the stone is located. Here's how travertine is formed:
Modern travertine is formed from geothermally heated supersaturated alkaline waters.
It's supposed to be white, but it can be yellowish or brownish, too. And it's often found near hot springs and water falls. So I searched images for hot springs and waterfalls in Florida. The hot springs aren't exactly super hot, and we don't have a lot of waterfalls in our flat state. In the images I found, there were no white rocks.

We've got plenty of limestone quarries in Florida, so we can make all kinds of cement and concrete here. That's not fancy, but it is an important product found in the wonder state. What I wonder is how or why someone tried to convince people that we had travertine here. Was it some kind of scam or just some limestone confusion or just old-time fake news? Or maybe, just maybe, there's a lost city of travertine somewhere around here we've forgotten about.


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