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Lake County Fl Ghost Towns

Discussion in 'Florida The Historic History of Florida' started by keep it reel, Dec 31, 2015.


  1. keep it reel

    keep it reel Lieutenant Commander
    Thread Started By

    Here you go Bob, this ones for you.

    image.png
     
  2. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member

    I don't get it?
     
  3. robthetimekeeper

    robthetimekeeper Seaworthy

  4. keep it reel

    keep it reel Lieutenant Commander
    Thread Started By

    The town "ravenswood" is on here along with many other little start up towns that never made it but have historical value.
     
  5. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member

  6. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member

    Checking old maps and old histories, I came up with 32, some of which were not on Warnke's list. He had 16 I didn't have. If you add those, you have 48 lost villages and towns in Lake County. Seems like a lot. Of course, our figures may be wrong.

    pixel.gif
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    Jim Warnke, who lives in Boynton Beach, has been trudging the back roads of Florida, backpack and all, for many years. He has written a small book on the subject that is available from him for $6. (P.O. Box 1408, Boynton Beach 33425)

    ''They came to the promised land of Florida in the early 1800s for many reasons,'' Warnke writes, ''the consumptive for his health, the pioneer for a new home for his family, the merchant for a new start, the tycoon to enrich his holdings and the worker to lead a new life in the land of everlasting summer.''

    Then Warnke asks: ''How could a whole town of homes, stores, hotels and post offices vanish so that today one is hard put to even find the spot where the settlement existed?

    ''The reasons are varied but are usually due to hard economics - a bad freeze, a railroad bypassing the town, or perhaps the local main industry closing its doors. Whatever the reason, Florida is dotted with over 350 of these historical and little-known ghost towns that contributed so much to the progress of the state.''

    Some of the historical villages, Warnke says, may still have the proverbial hermit in residence.

    ''Some do have the remains of clapboard structures still standing after years of forest fires and hurricanes,'' he writes. ''On other sites, one can still find the handmade bricks and the old bottles of another era to remind him that he is standing on the soil of history.''

    Eleven of the ghost towns Warnke identifies are in the Ocala National Forest, and he reminds us that it is a federal offense to disturb the sites of those ghost towns: Kismet, St. Francis, Sellers Lake, Summit, Bryanville, Syracuse, Churchill, Kerr City, Barronswood, Messina and Acron.

    Others in Lake County he identifies are: Conant, one mile north of Lady Lake on State Road 25; Grand Island, off State Road 44, north of Lake Eustis; Old Seneca, three miles west of Eustis on State Road 439; Lovejoys Mill, on the railroad, two miles east of Sorrento off State Road 46; Wayland, on the railroad, 3 1/2 miles east of Sorrento off S.R. 46; Cassia Station, on the railroad, seven miles east of Sorrento off S.R.46; Ethel City, east of State Road 433 on the south county line; Cason, three miles southwest of Okahumpka on the railroad off State Road 48; Winsted, near Florida's Turnpike and State Road 25; Hawkinsville, one mile south of State Roads 42 and 44 on the St. Johns River.

    My own list, based on some very early maps and information from the Lake County Historical Society, includes in addition to some of Warnke's, Chetwynd, two miles north of Fruitland Park; Slighville, east of Lady Lake on the west side of Lake Griffin; Lake Woodward, both a lake and a town on the lake; Higley, eight miles west of Umatilla; Seneca, six miles east of Eustis; Albert, on the Palatlakaha River near Lake Susan, Ravenwood, a development alongside Pittman, north of Umatilla; Glendale, between Umatilla and Altoona; Waterin' Pond, halfway between Leesburg and Slighville; Whitney, west of Leesburg; Emeralda, north Lake Griffin.

    pixel.gif
    Villa City, south of Mascotte; Monterey, east of Lake Louisa; Exeter, south of Yalaha; Parkland, on Lake Harris; Lassiter, on Lake Griffin; Bloomfield, near Leesburg; Dundee, north of Fruitland Park; Lanier, near Lake Griffin; Mersia, near Cassia; Mason and Fort Mason, north of Eustis; Sligh, west of Lady Lake; Mount Home, between Eustis and Tavares; Eldorado, southwest of Lake Eustis; Gardenia, between Dundee and Fruitland Park; Stickler, west of Umatilla; and a few I haven't been able to locate satisfactorily, including Ponceannah, Landis, Lower Blackwater, Helena and Bluff Pond.

    Warnke notes that if he has offended any town fathers (by calling their towns ''ghosts'' when they are not) he apologizes, as we all do. But on the other hand, there may be some vanished communities few of us know about, and if this is the case, we would appreciate hearing.
     
  7. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member

    List of ghost towns in Florida
    Ghost Towns Of Marion County
    An exclusive book excerpt from Historic Photos of Florida Ghost Towns.


    1989-Header.jpg

    When most people think of a ghost town, they conjure up an image of a dusty group of dilapidated wooden buildings in the Old West. Tumbleweeds roll down the street. Hinged doors of a saloon flap noisily in the wind. Broken windows, empty wooden sidewalks, and perhaps a drifter on horseback passing through complete what Hollywood has led us to believe is a ghost town. Although such an abandoned area would certainly fit anyone’s definition, many other scenarios also qualify (see sidebar).

    But whatever the criteria for identifying these towns, Florida has hundreds or thousands of examples, fascinating remnants of our not-too-distant past for those who strive to imagine what used to be. Here are 13 of our favorites.

    1989-Page-9.jpg

    BOYD

    The town of Boyd was named for J. B. Boyd and had its own post office from only 1891 until 1895. It was located along the Norfolk Southern Railroad track where CR 140 (Boyd Road) crosses it just west of US 221. This photo from around 1910 shows the employees of the Weaver Loughridge Lumber Company sawmill located in Boyd.

    1989-Page-52.jpg

    EUREKA

    Near the Oklawaha River, along CR 316 east of Fort McCoy, was the town of Eureka, from the Greek term meaning “I have found it.” Its post office operated from 1873 until 1955, then moved to Citra. Pictured here in 1892 is a steamboat taking on wood as fuel at the Eureka landing. The section passing by Eureka was the narrowest part of the Oklawaha River, Cypress Gate, and it determined the maximum width of the steamboats constructed especially for that river. Near Eureka, a large hydroelectric dam and power plant was planned during the 1920s, but the advent of the Great Depression killed the project before construction began. In the 1970s, federal termination of the Cross Florida Barge Canal project and the proposed recreational facility in Eureka killed the town’s chances of making a comeback.

    1989-Page-22.jpg

    FELLOWSHIP

    This town was located along US 27 at the intersection with CR 464B in western Marion County and was connected to Ocala by a pony express mail route in the 1880s. Its 1895 population was only 21. Nearby was this oil derrick photographed in 1928, belonging to the Flesher Petroleum Company.

    1989-Page-67.jpg

    BOARDMAN

    Founded in 1863 and believed to have been named for an early settler, L. Boardman, this town was served by the railroad shown in this 1880s photo. After the 1894-95 freeze, it had a population of only 15. The post office was open from 1882 until 1947, when it moved south on US 441 to McIntosh, the town that shared a cemetery with Boardman.

    1989-Page-61.jpg

    CAMP ROOSEVELT

    In 1935, a new settlement was established along US 301/441, named Camp Roosevelt after the then-president. A post office opened that year to serve crews from the Army Corps of Engineers who arrived to construct the Cross Florida Barge Canal. After that project was canceled, Camp Roosevelt was operated by the University of Florida and the Works Progress Administration for adult education classes. In 1938, the National Youth Administration used it as a girls’ resident camp, and in 1943 it passed back to the Corps of Engineers. Years later, it ceased to be a separate community, and its remaining buildings were absorbed into an Ocala neighborhood.

    1989-Page-11.jpg

    ZUBER

    The town of Zuber was located along CR 25A between Ocala and Reddick, and was named for a local family. Zuber had its own post office for only 10 years, from 1907 until 1917, when mail service shifted to Kendrick. Shown here in 1913 is the Florida Lime Company Plant Number 3 in Zuber.

    1989-Page-96.jpg

    SILVER SPRINGS

    The town of Silver Springs was named after the state’s largest spring, first reported by Colonel Gad Humphreys in 1825. It provides crystal-clear water at the head of the Silver River, east of the intersection of SR 40 and NE 55th Avenue east of Ocala. The community grew up around the spring in central Marion County, later the site of amusement parks. Silver Springs opened its first post office in 1852 when it was a stage stop along the route from Palatka to Tampa. The post office closed in 1867, reopened in 1872, and closed for good in 1916. Shown in this photo from around 1887 are the Silver Springs Hotel and the tracks and cars of the Florida Railway and Navigation Company.

    1989-Page-81.jpg

    KERR CITY

    Now in the middle of the Ocala National Forest, Kerr City, named for Robert B. Kerr, was founded in 1884 by George Smiley on the site of a Civil War cotton plantation. In this 1885 photo is the three-story Kerr House hotel, built by Junis Terry. The Big Freeze of 1894-95 caused most of the 100-resident town to be abandoned, but it was later reoccupied. The hotel burned down in 1907, believed to be the victim of arson. The post office closed in 1941. Many of the old buildings have been preserved for tours, including a 1925 gas station, the post office, and several homes.

    1989-Page-107.jpg

    MOSS BLUFF

    By 1876, the settlement of Moss Bluff had a post office, a pair of stores, and the Waterman and Company steam-powered sawmill. The settlement was connected to the main line of the Oklawaha Valley Railroad by a spur logging line of the Rentz Lumber Company, which connected at Silver Springs to the west. A portion of that right-of-way can still be seen a little south of the CR 464C bridge crossing the Oklawaha River northeast into Moss Bluff. The final Moss Bluff Post Office closed in 1932. Pictured here around 1898 is the Martin family in front of their Moss Bluff home.

    1989-Page-112.jpg

    ROMEO

    A little north of Dunnellon, this town was first settled by the 1850s with a sister town, Juliette. Some believe that a boy lived in one town and a girl in the other, their lives ending tragically because their families were enemies, but that is likely just a local romantic legend. A post office opened in Romeo in 1888, closed in 1893, reopened in 1894, and then mail service was shifted to Ocala in 1955. The one remaining store in the area was built long after the town’s boomtown years. Shown here in the early 1900s is the Marion County Prison in Romeo. The town was located along the railroad track paralleling US 41, a little north of CR 328.

    1989-Page-159.jpg

    JULIETTE

    During the 1850s, Captain Samuel Agnew cleared land around Blue Springs, planted sea island cotton, and established the settlement of Juliette. The town incorporated in 1883 and had a hotel, post office, sawmill, three general stores, and a railroad depot. Phosphate mining and farming were its major industries. The town began to fade away in the 1920s, and the springs became a popular tourist attraction known as Rainbow Springs, now a state park. Blue Springs is shown here in 1931.

    1989-Page-171.jpg

    IRVINE

    Located just west of Interstate 75 at the intersection of CR 225 and CR 318, Irvine is a small rural community located 1.5 miles north of the Fort Drane site, built in 1835. Its post office, named for local landowner Dr. O. B. Irvine, opened in 1871 and closed the following year, reopened in 1875 and closed in 1876, and reopened again in 1896 and closed after 2000. Shown here in 1946 on his Irvine ranch is Bill Davis with a three-month-old Karakul sheep named Abdul.

    1989-Page-192.jpg

    OAK

    The town of Oak was located along SR 200 in the northern part of today’s Ocala. This 1910 photo shows engine No. 2 of the McDowell Crate and Lumber Company while it was parked in Oak. The town had its own post office from 1904 until 1936, when the Ocala Post Office took over mail service for the area.



    So What Is A Ghost Town?

    No, not some Halloween theme park or Wild West frontier, a true ghost town must have/had:

    • a reason to exist as a community
    • a period of growth
    • a decrease in population
    • no remaining evidence of its existence
    • been absorbed by another town
    1955-FGT-Cover.jpg

    Want To Know More?

    turnerpublishing.com
     
    Shrimp Gritter likes this.
  8. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member

    Here is a List of ghost towns in Florida

    This is an incomplete List of ghost towns in Florida sortable by town or county.

    Town

    County

    Latitude/Longitude

    Acron

    Lake

    29°0.1'N 81°31.2'W

    Acton

    Polk

    28°3.2'N 81°56.0'W

    Agricola

    Polk

    27°47.3'N 81°53.3'W

    Aladdin City

    Miami-Dade

    25°34.6'N 80°27.2'W

    Allenhurst

    Brevard

    28°44.1'N 80°45.4'W

    Andytown

    Broward

    26°8.7'N 80°26.6'W

    Anona

    Pinellas

    27°53.6'N 82°49.9'W

    Apix

    Palm Beach

    26°56.6'N 80°20.6'W

    Apoxsee

    Osceola

    27°48.0'N 80°56.4'W

    Arlington

    Citrus

    28°52.2' 82°21.7'W

    Atsena Otie Key

    Levy

    29°7.3'N 83°1.6'W

    Aurytown

    Glades

    26°50.0'N 81°17.8'W

    Aurytown

    Pinellas

    ~28°4.8'N 82°49.9'W

    Balm

    Hillsborough

    27°44.5'N 82°12.2'W

    Bereah

    Polk

    27°39.6'N 81°37.5'W

    Barrsville

    Columbia

    ~30°0'N ~82°35'W

    Basinger

    Okeechobee

    27°23.3'N 81°2.0'W

    Bay Harbor (industrial)

    Bay

    30°8.7'N 85°37.3'W

    Bayview

    Lake

    28°32.7'N 82°38.6'W

    Bayview (inhabited)

    Pinellas

    27°27.5'N 82°42.5'W

    Bean City

    Palm Beach

    26°40.9'N 80°45.7'W

    Bereah

    Polk

    27°39.6'N 81°37.5'W

    Bermont

    Charlotte

    26°56.8'N 81°45.7'W

    Bethany

    Manatee

    27°28.4'N 82°16.2'W

    Birdon

    Collier

    25°54±'N 81°18.6'W

    Boyette

    Hillsborough

    27°49.1'N 82°13.4'W

    Brewster

    Polk

    27°45.1'N 81°58.4'W

    Bryant

    Palm Beach

    26°50.9'N 80°36.8'W

    Buchanan

    Hardee

    27°24.7'N 81°47.7'W

    Bullowville

    Flagler

    ~21°25'N ~81°09'N

    Bunce Village

    Pinellas

    27°38.7'N 82°44.3'W

    Bunkerhill

    Manatee

    27°35.7'N 82°12.4'W

    Castor Town

    Hillsborough

    27°35±'N 82°45.7'W

    Centralia

    Hernando

    28°36.9'N 82°32.7'W

    Campville

    Alachua

    29°39.9'N 82°7.1'W



    Chetwynd

    Lake

    28°52.6'N 81°55.0'W

    Chevelier

    Monroe

    T54S R31E

    Chicora

    Polk

    27°43.8'N ~81°59'W

    Chokoloskee

    Collier

    25°48.8'N 81°21.6'W

    Chosen

    Palm Beach

    ~20°42'N 80°46.8'W

    Citrus Center

    Glades

    26°48.8'N 81°14.9'W

    Clifton

    Brevard

    28°45.0'N 80°46.2'W

    College Hill

    Hardee

    27°37.7'N 81°52.3'W

    Columbus

    Suwannee

    30°23.1'N 83°10.4'W

    Conant

    Lake

    28°56.3'N 81°55.7'W

    Cornwell

    Highlands

    27°23.7'N 81°9.4'W

    Cosme (inhabited)

    Hillsborough

    28°06.5'N 82°34.4'W

    Crewsville

    Hardee

    27°25.3'N 81°35.0'W

    Cromanton (Tyndall Air Force Base)

    Bay

    30°7.0'N 85°37.6'W

    Croom

    Hernando

    28°35.4'N 82°13.7'W

    Cutler

    Miami-Dade

    25°36.9'N 80°18.6'W

    Deep Lake

    Collier

    26°02.5'N 81°20.6'W

    Deer Park (inhabited)

    Osceola

    28°5.5'N 80°53.9'W

    East Goose Creek

    Wakulla

    30°6.3'N 84°15.7'W

    Eden (inhabited)

    Saint Lucie

    27°16.5'N 80°14.6'W

    Edgeville

    Manatee

    27°18.9'N 82°6.5'W

    Eldora

    Volusia

    28°54.6'N 80°49.2'W

    Electra

    Marion

    29°7.7'N 81°53.3'W

    Ellaville

    Madison

    30°23.2'N 83°10.4'W

    Englewood

    Orange

    28°23.7'N 81°30.2'W

    Espanola (inhabited)

    Flagler

    29°30.4 81°18.5'W

    Ethel

    Lake

    28°50.1'N 81°26.6'W

    Fairmount

    Citrus


    Fivay

    Pasco

    28°19.9'N 82°38.4±'W

    Flamingo

    Monroe

    25°8.5'N ~81°0'W

    Fontaine

    Brevard

    28°45.4'N 80°54.4'W

    Fort Basinger

    Highlands

    27°21.7'N 81°3.2'W

    Fort Chokonikla

    Hardee

    27°37.2'N 81°48.5'W

    Fort Dade

    Hillsborough

    27°35.8'N 82°45.7'W

    Fort Dallas

    Miami Dade

    25°46.6'N 80°12.1'W

    Fort Denaud (inhabited)

    Hendry

    26°44.7'N 81°27.9'W

    Fort DeSoto

    Pinellas

    27°38.2'N 82°44.2'W


    Fort Drum

    Okeechobee

    21°37.6'N 80°48.4'W

    Fort Jefferson

    Monroe

    24°37.7'N 82°52.4'W

    Fort King

    Marion

    29°11.2'N 82°5.0'W

    Fort Kissimmee

    Polk/Highlands

    27°35.5'N 81°9.4'W

    Fort Lonesome

    Hillsborough

    27°42.3'N 81°8.3'W

    Fort Mose

    St. Johns

    29°55.8'N 81°19.3'W

    Fort Pickens

    Escambia

    30°19.5'N 87°16.8'W

    Freeman

    Hernando

    ~28°34'N ~82°33'N

    Fruitcrest

    Palm Beach

    26°37.8'N 80°44.9'W

    Gaiter

    Marion

    29°0.5'N 82°20.6'W

    Gamble Plantation

    Manatee

    27°32'N 82°32'W

    Gardena

    Palm Beach

    26°37.0'N 80°50.7'W

    Gardner

    Hardee

    27°21.1'N 81°48.1'W

    Garfield

    Volusia

    28°52.1'N 81°13.5'W

    Geerworth

    Palm Beach

    26°40.7'N 80°32.3'W

    Gillette

    Manatee

    27°36.1'N 82°31.7'W

    Gladecrest

    Palm Beach

    26°37.8'N 80°34.1'W

    Goodno

    Glades

    26°46.1'N 81°18.7'W

    Green Pond

    Polk

    28°18.6'N 81°53.9'W

    Greenbay

    Polk

    27°50.2'N 81°55.5'W

    Gulf City (inhabited)

    Hillsborough

    27°42.3'N 82°27.8'W

    Hague (inhabited)

    Alachua

    29°46.2'N 82°25.3'W

    Haile

    Alachua

    37°41.4'N 82°34.4'W

    Hall City

    Glades

    26°52.7'N 81°19.6'W

    Hampton Springs

    Taylor

    30°05.0'N 83°39.1'W

    Hardaway

    Gadsden

    30°37.9'N 84°44.2'W

    Hawkinsville

    Lake

    29°2.2'N 81°25.2'W

    Heidtville

    Marion

    ~29°3.6'N ~82°20.6'W

    Helen

    Leon

    30°18.5'N 84°24.0'W

    Hicoria

    Highlands

    27°9.1'N 81°21.2'W

    Hilolo

    Okeechobee

    27°26.9'N 80°46.3'W

    Holopaw (inhabited)

    Osceola

    28°8.2'N 81°4.6'W

    Hopewell

    Hillsborough

    27°55.7'N 82°07.5'W

    Hopkins

    Brevard

    28°4.2'N 80°35.9'W

    Illahaw

    Osceola

    28°1.1'N 81°1.9'W

    Indian Key

    Monroe

    24°53'N 80°41'W

    Indiantown (inhabited)

    Martin

    27°1.8'N 80°29.0'


    Island Grove

    Alachua

    29°27.2'N 82°6.4'W

    Jane Jay

    Polk

    ~27°40.3'N ~81°49.2'W

    Jerome

    Collier

    25°59.9'N 81°20.8'W

    Jessamine

    Pasco

    28°24.8'N 82°16.2'W

    Juliette

    Marion

    29°6.2'N 82°26.4'W

    Juno(Inhabited)

    Palm Beach

    26°50.6'N 80°3.6'W

    Kenansville

    Osceola

    80°59.3'N 27°52.6'W

    Kerr City

    Marion

    29°22.5'N 81°46.9'W

    Kicco

    Osceola


    Kismet

    Lake

    ~29°2.5'N ~81°37.5'W

    Koreshan

    Lee

    26°26.0'N 81°49.0'W

    Kreamer Island

    Palm Beach

    26°45.4'N 80°44.0'W

    Lake Fern (inhabited)

    Hillsborough

    28°8.9'N 82°34.8'W

    Lawtey (inhabited)

    Bradford

    30°2.6'N 82°4.3'W

    Leno

    Columbia

    30°2.6'N 82°4.3'W

    Limona (inhabited)

    Hillsborough

    27°57.1'N 82°18.6'W

    Linden

    Sumter

    28°33.7'N 82°2.0'W

    Liverpool

    DeSoto

    ~27°2.7'N ~81°58.2'W

    Locosee

    Osceola

    27°45.3'N 80°54.7'W

    Lulu (inhabited)

    Columbia

    30°6.4'N 82°29.5'W

    Mabel

    Sumter

    28°34.7'N 81°58.4'W

    Magnolia

    Wakulla

    30°13.2'N 84°10.5'W

    Manasota

    Charlotte

    27°0.8'N 82°24.2'W

    Manhattan

    Manatee

    27°23.1'N 82°19.2'W

    Mannfield

    Citrus

    28°47.0'N 82°26.6'W

    Mars



    Midland

    Polk

    27°44.3'N 81°37.3'W

    Minton's Corner

    Brevard

    28°4.7'N 80°40.3'W

    Modello

    Broward

    26°3.0'N 80°8.8'W

    Moffit

    Hardee

    27°27.3'N 81°47.8'W

    Montague

    Marion

    29°9.0'N 82°4.4'W

    Montbrook

    Levy

    29°19.6'N 82°27.0'W

    Muscogee

    Escambia

    30°36.4'N 87°24.8'W

    Naranja (inhabited)

    Miami-Dade

    25°31.0'N 80°25.3'W

    Narcoossee (inhabited)

    Osceola

    28°17.9'N 81°14.3'W

    Negro Fort

    Franklin

    29°56.4'N 85°0.7'W

    Neilson

    Polk

    27°40.7'N 81°30.1'W


    Newhall

    Glades

    ~26°51.1'N ~81°7.4'W

    New Troy

    Lafayette

    30°0.4'N 83°0.8'W

    Newnansville

    Alachua

    29°48.5'N 82°28.6'W

    Newport

    Wakulla

    30°12.0'N 84°10.8'W

    Nittaw

    Osceola

    27°57.2'N 81°0.0'W

    Oakgrove

    Hernando


    Okeelanta

    Palm Beach

    26°36.6'N 80°42.7'W

    Old Bethel

    Okaloosa

    30°47.5'N 86°36.2'W

    Old California



    Old Providence

    Union

    30°0.9'N 82°33.6'W

    Old Town

    Lake

    29°2.2'N 81°25.2'W

    Old Venus

    Highlands

    27°4.0'N 81°21.5'W

    Olympia

    Martin

    27°3.2'N 80°7.9'W

    Ona

    Hardee

    27°28.9'N 81°55.2'W

    Orange Center

    Orange

    28°23.7'N 81°30.2'W

    Orleans

    Citrus

    ~25°47.5'N ~82°22.5'W

    Orsino

    Brevard

    28°31.6'N 80°39.8'W

    Ortona

    Glades

    26°48.7'N 81°18.9'W

    Osceola

    Seminole

    28°47.6'N 81°3.5'W

    Oslo

    Indian River

    27°35.2'N 80°22.8'W

    Osowaw Junction

    Okeechobee

    27°34.8'N 80°50.1'W

    Old Venus

    Highlands


    Palma Sola (inhabited)

    Manatee

    27°30.7'N 82°37.9'W

    Parmalee

    Manatee

    27°22.3'N 82°13.2'W

    Parramore

    Jackson

    30°52.3'N 84°59.9'W

    Pembroke (industrial)

    Polk

    27°47.2'N 81°48.3'W

    Perky

    Monroe

    24°38.9'N 81°34.3'W

    Peru

    Hillsborough

    27°52.7'N 82°19.1'W

    Peters

    Miami-Dade

    25°35.9'N 80°21.2'W

    Picnic

    Hillsborough

    27°45.7'N 82°8.8'W

    Picture City (inhabited)

    Martin

    27°4.6'N 80°8.5'W

    Pierce

    Polk

    27°50.1'N 81°58.3'W

    Pigeon Key

    Monroe

    24°42.2'N 81°9.3'E

    Pinecrest (inhabited)

    Monroe

    25°39.7'N 80°18.5'W

    Pine Level

    DeSoto

    27°15.9'N 81°59.5'W

    Pittman

    Lake

    28°59.8'N 81°38.6'W

    Pittsburg

    Polk

    27°39.2'N 81°30.1'W


    Popash

    Hardee

    ~27°30.8'N ~81°41.8'W

    Port Leon

    Wakulla

    30°7.9'N 84°11.7'W

    Port Tampa (inhabited)

    Hillsborough

    27°51.8'N 82°31.7'W

    Prairie Ridge

    Okeechobee


    Providence

    Union

    30°0.2'N 82°32.9'W

    Punta Rassa

    Lee

    26°30.7'N 81°59.9'W

    Quay

    Indian River

    27°43.1'N 80°24.8'W

    Rattlesnake (Tampa)

    Hillsborough

    27°53.8 82°31.4'W

    Renfro Springs

    Marion

    29°3.4'N 82°28.4'W

    Ridgewood

    Polk

    27°53.4'N 81°54.8'W

    Ringgold (inhabited)

    Hernando

    28°39.1'N 82°26.8'W

    Rital

    Hernando

    28°31.3'N 82°13.0'W

    Ritta Island

    Palm Beach

    26°43.3'N 80°48.3'W

    Rochelle

    Alachua

    29°35.8'N 82°13.1'W

    Rollestown

    Putnam


    Romeo

    Marion

    29°12.4'N 82°26.2'W

    Rosewood

    Levy

    29°14.4'N 82°55.9'W

    Runnymede

    Osceola

    28°15.9'N 81°14.7'W

    Rye

    Manatee

    27°30.8'N 82°22.1'W

    Saint Annes Shrine

    Polk


    Saint Catherine

    Sumter

    28°36.7'N 82°8.3'W

    Sampson City

    Bradford

    29°55.0'N 82°12.3'W

    Sand Cut

    Palm Beach


    Sandy

    Manatee


    Sardis

    Manatee

    27°17.0'N 82°12.0'W

    Sears

    Hendry

    26°38.8'N 81°22.6'W

    Sherman

    Okeechobee

    27°12.6'N 80°45.2'W

    Silver Palm (inhabited)

    Miami-Dade

    ~25°33.1'N ~80°26.7'W

    Sisco

    Putnam

    ~29°31.14'N 81°37.31'W

    Slavia

    Seminole

    28°38.8'N 81°13.9'W

    Slighville

    Lake


    Shiloh

    Brevard

    28°46.0'N 80°46.6'W

    Snake Bight

    Monroe

    25°10.1'N 80°52.7'W

    Sparkman

    Charlotte


    Spray

    Madison


    Spruce Bluff

    Saint Lucie


    St. Francis

    Lake

    29°2.2'N 81°25.2'W


    St. Joseph

    Gulf


    Stage Pond

    Citrus

    28°41.9'N 82°24.4'W

    Stanton

    Marion


    Stiltsville

    Miami-Dade

    25°39.2'N 80°10.3'W

    Sumica

    Polk

    27°51.4'N 81°22.6'W

    Sun City (inhabited)

    Hillsborough

    27°40.7'N 82°28.7'W

    Sweetwater

    Hardee

    27°24.6'N 81°42.2'W

    Tantie

    Okeechobee


    Tarrytown

    Sumter

    28°33.3'N 82°0.1'W

    Tasmania

    Glades or Highlands


    Tiger Bay

    Polk

    27°45.6'N 81°50.9'W

    Tillman (Palm Bay)

    Brevard

    28°2.0'N 80°35.0'W

    Tohopkee

    Osceola

    28°13.5'N 81°4.6'W

    Torrey (inhabited)

    Hardee

    27°36.6'N 81°49.5'W

    Traxler

    Alachua

    29°52.2'N 82°32.3'W

    Troy

    Lafayette

    30°0.2'N 82°59.9'W

    Utopia

    Okeechobee

    27°1.9'N 80°41.8'W

    Vandolah

    Hardee

    27°30.9'N 81°55.6'W

    Venus

    Highlands

    27°4.0'N 81°21.5'W

    Venus

    Palm Beach


    Verna

    Manatee

    27°23.2'N 82°16.1'W

    Viana

    Citrus

    ~28°54'N ~82°27'W

    Vicksburg

    Bay

    30°19.5'N 85°39.9'W

    Viking

    Saint Lucie

    27°32.5'N 80°21.7'W

    Villa City

    Lake

    28°37.1'N 81°51.1'W

    Vineland (inhabited)

    Orange

    28°23.7'N 81°30.2'W

    Vogt Springs

    Marion

    29°3.4'N 82°28.4'W

    Waterbury

    Manatee

    27°26.7'N 82°18.2'W

    Waveland

    Martin

    27°16.1'N 80°12.4'W

    Weedon Island

    Pinellas

    ~27°50.5'N ~82°36.2'W

    Welchton (inhabited)

    Marion

    ~29°5.0'N ~81°59.5'W

    Welcome (industrial)

    Hillsborough

    27°51.9'N 82°5.2'W

    West Tocoi

    Clay

    29°51.0'N 81°37.4'W

    Willow

    Manatee

    27°38.6'N 82°20.8'W

    Wilson (Kennedy S. C.)

    Brevard

    28°38.6'N 80°41.8'W

    Wiscon (inhabited)

    Hernando

    28°32.0'N 82°27.6'W

    Yamato Colony

    Palm Beach

    26°24.6'N 80°5.4'W

    Yukon

    Duval

    30°14.1'N 81°41.9'W

    Zana

    Martin

    27°7.2'N 80°37.1'W

    Zion (inhabited)

    Palm Beach

    26°27.7'N 80°3.5'W

    • Note: some 19th-Century Florida maps show longitude west of Washington (WW), which is approximately 77°2.8' west of Greenwich (WG).
     
    Shrimp Gritter likes this.
  9. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member

    Ghost Towns and Ghost Cities in Florida

    From sun-kissed beaches to family-friendly amusement parks to the wonders of the Everglades, Florida is a state that seems designed for vacations. Snowbirds flock to the state during the colder months and others call this unique place home all year round. However, not all of those who wanted to find their own slice of paradise in the Sunshine State manage to do so. Over the years, there have been many communities built on dreams that quickly turned to nightmares for their residents.
    4681569_orig.jpg
    From planned communities to towns torn apart by racism, many of the ghost towns that dot Florida each have their own unique stories. Somes of these cities tied their fates to resources like ore, lumber and citrus fruits only to suffer when the industry went South. Others were intended to be places of sanctuary or utopias only to fall short of the mark their founders aimed for. While these towns may not be found on many maps anymore, they provide unique insight into the history of this sunny state.
    Aladdin City - The Planned Community
    Throughout the years, developers have tried to cash in on Florida’s sunny atmosphere by creating communities designed to attract those who want a little bit of the Sunshine State for their own. These planned communities can take off in a big way, but not all are successful. Several towns rose out of the Florida land boom of the 1920s like Miami Springs, Coral Gables and Opa-locka. While these towns managed to make it off the ground, other communities, like Aladdin City, were not so fortunate.
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    In 1925, The Aladdin Company of Bay City, Mich. was one of the first companies to manufacture mail-order kit homes, similar to those that were sold by Sears and Roebuck. The founders of the company, two brothers named Otto and William Sovereign, purchased a large parcel of land outside of Redland, Fla. with the intention of building a Moorish-themed city for 10,00 people. They marketed this town through their industrial catalog. They formed the Aladdin City Sales Co. in 1925 and began promoting a dawn-to-dusk construction event the following January.

    Hundreds of spectators gathered to watch the supplies be flown in to Ft. Lauderdale and unloaded. Construction commenced at 8 a.m. on Jan. 14, 1926 and a few days later, the company claimed 874 of the homes had been sold on the first day alone. While things seemed to go well initially, the community’s luck would soon change. Railroad companies placed an embargo on bringing anything but food into Florida later that year and the ship Prinz Valedmar, which was supposed to help bring in supplies, sank in Miami Harbor. Still, company officials remained optimistic.
    In September 1926, a massive hurricane hit the Miami area, which depressed land prices in the area. With more than 370 people killed in the storm, people became a lot less interested in living in Florida. Aladdin City’s developers continued constructing a train station, businesses and a town hall as well as promoting the community, hopeful things would turn around. However, the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression was in full swing by the end of 1930.
    560693482.jpg
    Hoping to cash in on the Depression, the company raffled off some of the homes with tricks to Aladdin City. However, this did nothing to revive the community. The Aladdin City Sales Co. disbanded in 1936. Few of the homes survived as did the wooden train station. Some of the structures were damaged during Hurricane Andrew. Today, only a few portions of some of the roads remain as they were. Ali Baba Circle, Aladdin Boulevard, Ali Cogia Circle and Baghdad Street have not been renamed, but other streets including Sinbad, Cathay, Sahib and Mecca have been renamed as the city of Miami expanded into the area.
    Brewster - The Mine Town
    When thinking of profitable industries based in Florida, mining may not be the first on anyone’s mind. However, phosphate mining was highly profitable in the state during the early 1900s and several towns were created in areas where the industry was prominent. One of these was Brewster, a company town founded in 1910 for workers of American Cyanamid, a phospate mining company that flourished in the area for decades.
    485410798.jpg

    Houses created for workers at the Brewster phosphate mine.
    When American Cyanamid began mining phosphate in the area in the early 1900s, they found their mine was too far away from any local towns and made the commute hard on workers, many of whom had to walk to work. They founded Brewster and set it up to meet the needs of local workers, establishing schools, a movie theater, medical clinic, community swimming pool, and establishing a post office in 1913. As segregation was a major issue in the Jim Crow South of that period, the town also had separate neighborhoods for white and black workers and their families.
    As the years went on and the town became more successful, more businesses began to open up there. Eventually, Brewster had a doctor’s office, a mine commissary, a drug store, a gas station and a public recreation area. However, things in Brewster were not as quaint and prosperous as they seemed. By the end of the 1950s, American Cyanamid was in financial trouble and owed a good deal of money to the state for Florida. Even worse, the mine near Brewster was becoming less and less profitable.
    In 1960, the company announced they were shutting down the mine and the company town. Residents were told they could purchase their homes and move them to a neighboring city or just pack up and leave Brewster for good, leaving the homes and businesses behind to be bulldozed. Several residents opted to purchase their home at rock bottom prices and then move them to nearby communities like Mulberry, Bartow and Fort Meade.
    282661403.jpg
    The post office was discontinued in 1961 and by 1962, the town was empty. Much of the town was demolished, but the drying plants, power plant, shops, main mine office and chemical plant remained. When a mine was built in nearby Fort Lonesome, some of the structures were built there. A good portion of the land American Cyanamide once owned in the area was handed over to the state of Florida in the 1970s after the company was prosecuted for environmental damages done to the area. The remaining land is now owned by the Mosaic Co., which produces phosphate and potash. They demolished several of the remaining structures in 2008.
    Eldora - The Coastal Town
    Building a community on the shores of a body of water named Mosquito Lagoon may not have been the best idea, but that didn’t stop the town of Eldora from cropping up on an inlet between the Turner Flats and Atlantic Ocean. Now a part of the Cape Canaveral National Seashore, this town located between the famed NASA launch site and New Smyrna Beach was one a very viable community. However, changes in transportation and the weather soon spelled the end for Eldora.
    350740189.jpg

    A walking trail is one of the few remnants of the former community of Eldora in the Cape Canaveral National Seashore.
    Founded sometime in 1877, the town was named for two sisters who lived in the area: Ellen and Dora Pitzer. The town was successful because it was part of a water route that many people took between central and south Florida. At that time, there were no trains or roads and water was one of the most reliable ways of transportation between the many islands of the Florida coast. While many residents made money off of fishing in Mosquito Lagoon or harvesting saw palmetto berries, the chief industry in Eldora was was a Florida mainstay: citrus.
    For years, orange groves in the area provided work for the some 200 residents that called Eldora home at its peak. The town had a post office and a school and town hall were run out of the Eldora State House, also known as the Moulton-Wells House. During its tenure, this home also served as a hotel and boarding house for season workers. The citrus crops and the harvests of fish, clams and shrimp from the ocean were sent via ship up to northern markets, where they were purchased for a considerable amount.
    However, change would soon befall Eldora. The 1890s brought about three serious freezes that damaged much of the citrus groves around Florida, and it was the first freeze in the summer of 1894-5 that decimated the groves in Eldora. The citrus groves never quite recovered, but worse was to come. In 1900, the first major railroad was established taking visitors into south Florida. With train access eliminating the need for boats, the town of Eldora faded from memory.
    226056854.jpg

    The Eldora State House is the only structure remaining in the former townsite.
    In the 1970s, the property where Eldora once stood was made part of the Cape Canaveral National Seashore. The state house was renovated, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 and has served as a museum in the past. Daytona Beach College and the University of Central Florida now base marine research facilities out of the Eldora area and a hiking trail will take visitors around the former townsite, including past some of the orange trees descended from the town’s original groves.
    Flamingo - Lost in the Everglades
    If visitors to the southernmost part of the Everglades National Park find themselves at the end of the 99-mile Wilderness Waterway, they may come across a visitor’s center that marks the former site of a small town that once thrived in the area. The heart of Flamingo was once located about 4.5 miles from the current welcome center and campground, but those who take walking trails in the area will get a glimpse of the remnants left behind by this former swamp community taken over by the national park.
    762440277.jpg
    The story of Flamingo begins with the Tequesta Indians who had lived in the area of the park, taking refuge in the Everglades from Europeans. When Spain surrendered Florida to Britain in 1763, the remainder of the tribe were relocated to Cuba, abandoning their villages. Flamingo would again become inhabited in the late 1800s when settlers came to the area to make their living selling fish, vegetables and charcoal to nearby Key West.
    The town really began around 1892 but wasn’t officially incorporated until 1893, when a new post office was designated in the area. The residents decided to name their town and post office Flamingo after the distinctive birds that would be seen in the area during their migration from Cuba and the Bahamas. Ironically, flamingos - or more specifically the hunting of this unique bird - would lead to the town’s downfall.
    One of the major industries in the area was illegally hunting exotic birds. However, when a game warden came to arrest some engaging in the practice, he was brutally murdered by poachers he had confronted in town. In response, Flamingo attracted negative media attention and tougher hunting legislation was enforced. By 1902, the flamingos would be a rare site in the township because the hunting of the animals greatly decreased their population.
    809032285.jpg
    Life was not easy for the residents of Flamingo. Some 38 homes, mainly wooden shakes, were constructed on stilts for residents to avoid flooding as well as fleas and mosquitoes. The town also had a small schoolhouse,. The town saw a brief economic resurgence when land speculators began buying property after hearing a rumor the Florida East Coast Highway would be constructed through the area, but this rumor turned out to be false.
    958221532.jpg
    By 1910, only three homes and families remained in the community and during the 1920s, the town was all but abandoned. During this period, moonshiners took over some of the remaining structures as the area was hard to get in and out of. Their activities were put to an end when the federal government acquired the land in the 1940s for inclusion in a new national park.
    Oddly enough, Flamingo would become larger once the national park took over the community, erecting a marina, store, gift shop, campground, cafe, gas station, hotel and cabins for park rangers. Most of these facilities were destroyed by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, though the marina and store have reopened. A visitors center has been constructed and plans are being made to restore the historic gas station. Plans are also being made to create new lodging for campers at site. In addition to various physical structures, flamingos have also started to return to the area. Today, visitors can take a wide variety of hiking trails that offer historical interpretation of Flamingo and several other communities that eventually became part of the Everglades National Park.
    Hampton Springs - The Spa City
    Since Ponce de Leon came to the state questing for the famed fountain of youth, visitors have been coming to Florida for a little rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. During the Victorian era, mineral spas and salt water treatment were all the rage as a panacea, and many people came to Florida in search of a different type of fountain of youth. Several communities sprang up around this health fad, one of which was the Florida town of Hampton Springs.
    830274328.jpg

    A 1910 postcard of the Hampton Springs Hotel.
    According to local legend, the story of Hampton Springs begins with local native tribes who used the sulphur springs in the area for their healing powers. Joe Hamilton, an early settler of what would become Taylor County, Florida, was directed to these springs by natives to help curse his wife’s rheumatism. When his wife was apparently cured by the spring water, he obtained a government permit and started charging $10 a pop for those wanting to be healed.
    605618912.jpg
    In 1879, Hampton and his brother Benjamin purchased 40 acres known as the Rocky Creek Mineral Springs for $400 from then-owners John and Ana Carlton. At the time, the Rocky Creek Lumber Company was already operating in the area. The Hampton brothers began construction of a hotel to capitalize on the springs in 1904.
    While there were already several homes for poor laborers in the area, the town of Hampton Springs was officially incorporated in 1904 thanks to the hotel and a post office to serve it. The hotel would have several facilities including a pool, bathhouse, an airplane landing field, stables, an outdoor dance pavilion, its own railroad depot, a power plant to keep things running and its own railroad depot. Hotel guests could enjoy activities like golf, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, tennis, camping, hiking, and gambling at the hotel casino. Several Florida railroads converged in the area, making it fairly easy to get to the hotel. Guests including Teddy Roosevelt and royalty from the Far East were said to have visited Hampton Springs. For those who couldn’t afford to visit Hampton Springs, the hotel also had a water bottling facility so its sulphur water could be shipped all over the world.
    The hotel was sold to businessman J.W. Oglesby, who expanded the hotel in 1915, turning the hotel into a luxury resort. In 1927, Oglesby then leased the property to Arnold Joerns, who formed the Hampton Springs Club, an exclusive spa for members only. The spa city flourished from the 1910s into the 1930s, but World War II caused a great decline in tourism. During the late 1930s and 1940s, the area was converted into barracks for military personnel working at the Perry Foley Airport. In 1954, the sumptuous luxury hotel burned to the ground.
    780832694.jpg

    The remnants of the Hampton Springs Hotel bath houses and other facilities today.
    With interest in healing mineral waters dying out, the decision was made not to rebuild and the hotel resort soon faded from local memory. The Hampton Springs post office was soon discontinued and many residents moved into nearby communities. However, Taylor County is in the process of renovating the site, hoping to turn it into a state park educating people about the importance the hotel once had on the area.
    Kerr City - The Citrus City
    Other than tourism, citrus might be the most well-known industry in Florida with 65 percent of citrus fruits grown in the U.S. being grown within the state. Orange groves helped put the state on the map, but a big freeze can put this major industry in jeopardy. When times are good, workers flood the state to help with the harvest, but when the crop is doing poorly, the entire state can suffer. In the 1800s, Kerr City was one such community that relied on the production of oranges. Now only a ghost town, the community tells the story of ups and downs in the orange groves.
    279953376.jpg

    A log cabin home built in Kerr City by early residents. Several early structures in the town were made out of wood, including a three-story hotel.
    Kerr City was the second city incorporated in Marion County, formally established in 1884. The town sprang out of a cotton plantation that had thrived prior to the Civil War. Initially, Kerr City began life as a stagecoach stop for those commuting from the St. John’s River to Ocala. One of the first large scale homes in the community was built in 1885 by Dr. Junis Terry of Chicago and his wife, which they dubbed Lake Kerr House. The home later became a three-story hotel made out of pine.
    The town’s first post office was established in 1884 and four years later was renamed Lake Kerr after the nearby lake. At its peak, the city had a sawmill, general store, pharmacy, school, church and a newspaper in addition to the hotel and post office. Several residents also sprang up, ranging from log cabins to much nicer, turn of the century residences. Many of the town’s occupants were employed by the local orange groves, which are still a prominent industry in Central Florida.
    For ten years, the town thrived on the citrus business, but the winter of 1894-5 and subsequent 1895-6 would be devastating for the Florida citrus industry. Dubbed “The Great Freeze,” this period set record lows across the state and destroyed entire communities throughout the state by killing off the citrus crop. Prior to the freeze, the state produced as many as six million boxes of oranges a year, but the year of the freeze only 100,000 boxes were produced. The state would not produce more than a million boxes of fruit again until 1900.
    153562362.jpg

    The former post office still stands, as does the old Texaco station and several residences.
    With no industry and no money, residents in Kerr City packed up and left for factory jobs up north or to pick other fruits out in California. Town founder George Smiley continued to live in Kerr City, buying up his neighbor’s property as they left. The town’s hotel burned down in 1907. A Texaco station was built in 1925 to help revive the town and is still the oldest station in the state. However, by 1955 Kerr City was a ghost town owned by Smiley’s son Alfred.

    The present owner Arthur Brennan is a descendant of some of the original homesteaders and has renovated many of the old homes in the city. Kerr City is now on the National Register of Historic Places, but is kept as private property. Brennan will allow visitors as long as he operates as the guide, including ghost hunters who sometimes show up to investigate the town.
    Koreshan Unity - The Religious Retreat
    From Plymouth onward, many communities across the U.S. have been established by those seeking religious freedom or a safe place to worship their own unique beliefs. Some of these communities have thrived and others have fallen by the wayside. Outside Estero, Florida, a group of believers in the late 1800s set out to establish what they felt would be a “New Jerusalem.” The remains of that community are now a Florida State Park, preserving the memory of a strange Christian sect.
    447874670.jpg

    Followers construct bamboo huts at the Koreshan Unity Settlement in Lee County Florida. These huts would later be largely replaced by wooden homes. The colony was intended to be the religious sect's "New Jerusalem."
    Koreshan Unity was a system of beliefs and the idea of a communal utopia begun by Cyrus Teed, who began preaching his creed in the 1870s in New York City. Believers felt that Cyrus, who had taken the Persian form of his name “Koresh,” was the new messiah and preached the belief in alchemy, reincarnation, immortality, celibacy and communal living. Some of the cult’s more outlandish teachings was that of Cellular Cosmogony, which stated the sun revolved around the earth, the sun is operated by batteries, and hollow earth theory or the belief that humans live inside the earth not outside
    After forming short-lived communities in New York City; Moravia, N.Y.; San Francisco and Chicago, Teed took his followers to Florida. The Koreshan Unity Settlement was on a 320-acre plot of land and plans were drawn up for a geometrically designed township. Early settlers worked to transform the tropical landscape into a self-sustaining community with light industry and agriculture. The town was mainly accessed by riverboat through a ceremonial entrance.
    Eager colonists constructed homes, a printing facility, boatworks, cement works, power plant, sawmill, bakery, general store, hostelry and centers for education, science and art. Gardens were also planted, bringing in exotic species of plants from around the world including sausage trees, eucalyptus, mango and false monkey puzzle tree. The group would draw the interest of several prominent figures during the period, including Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. In 1906, the community formed its own political party to try and gain more ground in Lee County, but failed to secure any seats.
    213741814.jpg

    Koreshan Unity president Victoria Gratia at the Estero home of Dr. Cyrus Reed Teed, founder of the Koreshan Universology.
    In 1908, founder Cyrus Teed died and the group went into decline. Factions split off and moved to nearby area. One dubbed the Order of Theocracy left in 1910 and survived in nearby Fort Myers until 1931. The group’s beliefs, including a tenant of celibacy for senior members, didn’t help drawing in new members. The last member of the group died in 1981 and is the only buried in the park. Before her death, she ceded much of the group’s land to the state for the creation of a park in 1961.
    974886457.jpg

    The settlement today.
    The settlement was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and many of its buildings are maintained as an educational component of the state park. Wildlife viewing is one of the most common activities at the park as well as fishing, picnicking, boating, camping, canoeing, hiking and kayaking. The park is maintained by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
    However, some former land belonging to the colony is now in the hands of the College of Koreshan Life Foundation, who also maintains the sects’ archives. This group is not comprised of believers but rather historians or those with familial connections to the religious sect. The group maintains a virtual archive of photographs and documents related to the settlement as well as a blog dedicated to preserving the memory of those who held the unique world view of the Koreshans.
    Muscogee - The Lumber Town
    On the Florida panhandle near the border with Alabama once stood a lumber mill town named after one of the many native tribes that once called the Sunshine State home. Muscogee, also spelled as Muskogee, was once a thriving community in the late 1800s, but now is all but forgotten. The downfall of Muscogee was the result of a lack of foresight in the town’s major employer. In the end, the success of the Muscogee lumber mill is what would spell the end for the town.
    895092706.jpg
    Muscogee was settled along the Perdido River in the Florida panhandle in 1857 by enterprising loggers from Georgia, who founded the Muscogee Lumber Company. The group began clear cutting timber, but the Civil War and deforestation would led to the group to abandon the area. A second attempt was made to capitalize on the area’s lumber in 1889 when the Southern States Land and Lumber Company bought the property.
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    This second company brought in pine from Florida and Alabama via river, oxcart and railroad. It constructed 50 miles of logging railroad and sailed tugboats and logbooms up and down the Perdido River. At one point the company employed more than 1,000 people. Wood from the area was sold not only in the U.S. but exported to the West Indies, Europe and Africa. At it’s height, the company exported 60 million feet of lumber worldwide.
    To keep their workforce local, the company built a commissary selling groceries, farm equipment, clothing and various other materials. A hotel and boarding house were also built to accommodate those arriving via the two railroads into town as well. At it’s peak, Muscogee had a barbershop, two churches, post office, two cemeteries, school, and several residences. Aviator Jackie Cochran was a native of the town, born there in 1906.
    However, mother nature and deforestation were not kind to Muscogee. The lumber company made no attempt to replant trees to replace those that were harvested. Hurricanes in 1917 and 1918 then destroyed around 80 percent of the timber on land owned by the mill. Workers being paid scrip instead of money went on strike and the company countered with violence.
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    Muscogee today
    As the company lost money, Southern States Timber began liquidating its holdings. It sold the town and most of the land around it in 1928. As the Great Depression set in, most of the town’s residents began to leave.Over the years, buildings in the town were dismantled or destroyed. Some were sold or taken elsewhere, and only a few houses remain in the area of Muscogee. Today, the town intersection of River Annex Road and Muscogee Road where the town once stood seems like just another rural intersection, a far cry from the powerful lumber mill town that once dominated the area.
    Paynes Creek - The Burnt Store
    As white settlers began to move into the state of Florida, tensions mounted with native tribes who had already called the state their home for centuries. The Second Seminole War had come to an end in 1842, but tensions were still high. To reward soldiers who had fought, the federal Armed Occupation Act gave veterans of the war the right to settle on land in Florida. This only further exacerbated the issue, especially as the native Seminoles were moved onto a reservation and had their trade limited to make room for the new settlers. White-run stores were permitted on the outskirts of these reservations to trade with the natives for the goods and services they needed. One of these was built on Paynes Creek.
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    A re-enactment at the rebuilt store at Paynes Creek.
    Two settlers by the names of Kennedy and Darling started their own trading company at Paynes Creek near present-day Bowling Green, Florida. They handed the store over to Capt. George Payne and Dempsey Whidden to run. Several white settlers also lived around the store. Ignoring the terms of the treaty with the federal government, settlers soon began encroaching on the land granted to the Seminoles as part of their reservation. The Seminoles, already angered by losing their land and government regulation, lashed out.
    On July 17, 1849, they attacked the trading post at Paynes Creek and the community at large, killing the two proprietors and burning the store to the ground. In fear, the settlers then fled to to a nearby fort for safety. In response to the fears of the white settlers, the U.S. government then constructed a fort at Paynes Creek to protect them and named it Fort Chokonikla, which was a corruption of a term meaning “burnt store” in Seminole.
    In the end, it would be mosquitos and malaria that brought down the community of Paynes Creek rather than wars with native tribes over land. The swampy area around the town was a breeding ground for mosquitos and many of those living in the area died of malaria in 1850. The deaths were so numerous the army agreed to evacuate and close the fort after only nine months of occupancy. With no protection and a high rate of disease, many of the white settlers soon followed.
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    A memorial to the victims of the Paynes Creek Massacre.
    Today, the former site of the fort and Paynes Creek are encompassed within Paynes Creek Historic State Park. The area was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Paynes Creek Massacre-Fort Chokonikla Site in 1978. The park offers a recreation of the trading post, a museum dedicated to the history of the Seminole and yearly reenactments of the massacre. Visitors can also enjoy activities including canoeing, kayaking, fishing, wildlife viewing, walking trails and picnicking.
    Rosewood - Razed by Jim Crow
    A community that once served as a safe space and home for hundreds for former slaves and their descendants was wiped off the map in one of the most frightening and shameful incidents in Florida history. A victim of Jim Crow, the entire Rosewood community was razed and deserted after an accusation by a white woman against that remains highly disputed to this day. Even worse, after the tragedy at Rosewood a conscious effort was made to sweep this ghost town under the rug to hide a legacy of racism and cruelty.
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    A community that once served as a safe space and home for hundreds for former slaves and their descendants was wiped off the map in one of the most frightening and shameful incidents in Florida history. A victim of Jim Crow, the entire Rosewood community was razed and deserted after an accusation by a white woman against that remains highly disputed to this day. Even worse, after the tragedy at Rosewood a conscious effort was made to sweep this ghost town under the rug to hide a legacy of racism and cruelty.
    The town of Rosewood was settled nine miles outside Cedar Key near the Gulf of Mexico in 1845, named for the reddish color of cedar wood. The town had been founded around the timber industry and attracted both black and white settlers. Two pencil mills operated in nearby Cedar Key and there were also turpentine and sawmills in the neighboring town of Sumner, in addition to farming citrus and cotton. A railroad station came to the area in 1870.

    By the 1890s, the majority of the white residents had moved to Sumner, leaving Rosewood a predominantly black town. Initially, race relations between the two communities were fairly amicable until the Goins, a black family in Rosewood, became successful and began earning more money than white counterparts.
    Lynchings and membership with the KKK were at their peak in Florida and other areas of the South at this time. Poll taxes prevented both poor whites and blacks from from voting, and blacks were increasingly moving north, dissatisfied with the treatment and lack of economic opportunities the south offered them. Several prominent white politicians, including governor Park Tramwell and Sidney Catts, ignored lynchings and white mob violence in the state. Catts even ran on platforms including white supremacy and anti-Catholic sentiment.
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    Black turpentine workers in Florida. Tensions mounted against Rosewood residents after the black Goin family began a successful turpentine business in the area.
    In the 1920s, four men accused of raping a white woman in Maccleny, Fla. were taken from a jail before their trial. That same year, two black men attempted to vote in Ocoee with weapons on their persons, shooting two election officials who wouldn’t let them vote. As a result, a mob of white residents destroyed 25 homes, two churches and a masonic lodge in the black area of town, killing 30 people. In 1922, a race riot in Perry ended with a black man being burned at the stake, two men being hung, and the burning of a black school, Masonic lodge, church, amusement hall and residences after a white school teachers was found mysteriously murdered.
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    The scene the day after the attack on Rosewood.
    On Jan. 1, 1923, a white woman named Frances “Fannie” Taylor claimed that a black man had broken into her house, assaulted her and tried to steal hear baby. Her story changed several times, and no evidence of bruises or sexual assault was found on her. Neighbors also reported seeing a white man in the area, and that Fannie Taylor was “peculiar” and had told many outlandish stories before.Others reported she had a white lover who she frequently fought with when her husband was away. Nevertheless, the county sheriff raised a posse and started an investigation to search for the men.

    As many as 400 white men and their dogs wound up at the home of Aaron Carrier, the son of Taylor’s laundress Sarah. The sheriff arrested Aaron Carrier for his own protection against men who were ready to lynch him and urged black employees to stay in their turpentine mills. Angered, white vigilantes seized a black teamster and blacksmith named Sam Carter and tortured him before shooting him in the face and hanging his body from a tree. To protect themselves, black residents of Rosewood began gathering together with what weapons they could find.
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    Sheriff Walker and the supervisor of the mill worked to diffuse the white mobs, but on Jan. 4, an armed group of white men surrounded Sarah Carrier’s house, which was filled with neighbors seeking refuge and family members visiting for Christmas. Shots were fired and several residents of the Carrier house were killed, including Sarah. The mob then turned to razing the town. Black churches were burned in Rosewood as well as a white church in the area. Black families fled into the swamps, some only wearing pajamas in the cold Florida winter, or sought shelter from sympathetic whites as the mob poured kerosene on houses and lit them before shooting anyone still inside
    The violence continued on Jan. 5 as the mob continued to stop black residents and often times shoot them. The sheriff and mill bosses were able to calm the residents down,after the governor threatened to send in the National Guard. White train conductors then worked to evacuate black women and children from Rosewood, but refused to take any men because of fear of the white mob.

    On Jan. 7, the remaining houses were destroyed by a mob of 100 to 150 whites. The following day, the U.S. Attorney General declined to investigate the attack on Rosewood, saying it was a matter for Florida to handle. Governor Cary Hardee appointed a special all-white grand jury, which found insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone for the attack. Some 27 residents of Rosewood were dead and Aaron Carrier was later released from jail. The story briefly appeared in newspapers across the country, but only black newspapers continued to demand answers.
    The story was generally swept under the rug and many former residents of Rosewood were too traumatized to talk about the incident. However, oral history from some of the residents kept the story alive. An investigative reporter for the St. Petersburg Times revived the story in the 1980s and the story later appeared on “60 Minutes.” For decades, there were now black residents living in the cities of Cedar Key or Sumner in Levy County, and the county government did not recognize the incident.
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    Psychologists determined many Rosewood survivors suffered from PTSD and many refused to associate with whites. The state eventually compensated victims of Rosewood with a scholarship fund for African-American students and a Florida Heritage Landmark plaque dedicated at the Rosewood site in 2004. However, the historic monument has been vandalized and destroyed several times since then.
     
  10. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member

  11. Shrimp Gritter

    Shrimp Gritter Seaman apprentice

    Preserving and passing on the content of history, whether of our state or our sport before it is as so often paved over, is so important to being able to honor and respect the efforts of those that have created the roots of both. It's good to see our articles of the past receiving the fresh new light for those now fishing and living in Florida. Thanks to all our members who research, relate and share such posts. WTG
     
    Nautical Gator likes this.
  12. Bubba Creech

    Bubba Creech Treasure Hunter

    I had heard some of the stories about Ocoee as most of my dad's family were around during that time. Different place today than in the past.
     
  13. shrimpmansteve

    shrimpmansteve Swabbie

    Wow. What an interesting read. Thanks for posting!
     
  14. Shrimp Gritter

    Shrimp Gritter Seaman apprentice

    The incidents that occured in Ocoee were carried out by a mob from Orlando that had seen a news reel of the Mayor being shot in the arm because he wasn't allowing all citizens to vote in city elections. If I recall correctly 16 homes were burnt.
     
  15. SylvesterR

    SylvesterR Newbie

    Very interesting read
     

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