Like Christopher Columbus, Dr. John Gorrie is both revered and reviled for his dramatic role in the development of Florida. Gorrie invented something without which Florida would still be, in the words of a 19th-century senator, “a land of swamps, of quagmires, of frogs, and alligators, and mosquitoes” that no one would want to emigrate to, even from hell.
He made the ice maker and led the way to that remarkable creation called air-conditioning. Without it, Florida would have far fewer people. That’s why the merits of Gorrie’s contributions will be debated forever.