Shortly after Florida became a state in 1845. Its leaders began to consider draining the swampy areas of south Florida to create prime farmland as an inducement to settlement. In 1850 Florida received title to all swamp and overflowed lands within its borders, but the young state did not have funds to undertake drainage. Finally in 1881 the state convinced a wealthy northerner, Hamilton Disston, to drain the everglades in return for half the acreage he could reclaim. One of his projects was to improve the Caloosahatchee River and connect it to Lake Okeechobee by a canal which enters the lake near here. A lone cypress tree standing at the entrance of this canal served as a navigational aid for boatmen using the new waterways. Early in the 20th century the town of Moore Haven, named for its founder James A. Moore, grew up around the "Lone Cypress" and canal entrance. By this time the state itself had assumed responsibility for drainage, and in 1917-18 it constructed a lock at the canal entrance. In recent years state and federal government have cooperated on the related problems of drainage, flood control, and navigation. As a result, the Caloosahatchee Canal and River have been continually maintained and improved.