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History Matters: Farmer Lundy Dirr turned flowers into a blooming success

In late 1924 and early 1925, a family from Oskaloosa, Iowa, settled on Terra Ceia. The man of the house, Lundy Dirr, was a successful Iowan marketing and advertising businessman. Tampa magazine Suniland interviewed Dirr after his move to Florida and asked him why he relocated here. He responded, “I came to Florida to make money. I’m staying because my hunch was right.”

Dirr came here with his wife, Maud, and his two daughters, Joan and Ellen. He made a living through farming. Their primary crop was citrus along with some vegetables. A tidal wave surge swept over Terra Ceia in the early 1930s. The saltwater killed most of the crops, including the citrus groves. Dirr cleared his land and decided to try his hand at farming once again. Despite the high salt content in the soil as well as the discouraging advice he received from colleagues, Dirr planted peppers, tomatoes, squash and cabbage. Against all odds, the crops not only survived but they thrived. He was back in the farming business, making an even better living than before.

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