Tung Nut Depot in San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

Tung Nut Depot in The Woods

Tung Nut Depot in The Woods

I was searching for an old site in San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park known as the “Tung Nut Depot”. It was associated with the tung oil industry which was well-established in Alachua County by the 1930s. Tung oil is extracted from the ‘nut’ (actually from a seed of the fruit of the tung tree) and is used in the production of paint, varnish, printing ink, linoleum and other products. Tung trees were originally imported from China and cultivated on plantations in the southern United States.

The building has a large loading dock, sorting, storage area and an enclosed room. It may date back to the early 1900’s so I was glad to see that it was still in decent condition.

The industry was big in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Until the mid-1900’s when frost ruined a lot of the crops. Plus Argentina could sell oil at lower prices and U.S. producers were operating at a loss. In addition, frosts were decreasing the extent and yields of tung oil groves. Check out this article for some in-depth history.

Tung Nut leaves and seeds are also toxic if eaten. In humans, a single tung nut can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, respiratory depression, weakness, and possibly death. Effects are gastroenteritis, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, weakness, poor reflexes and dehydration.

I enjoyed this adventure of finding this old depot and learning about the history of the industry associated with it. I also really liked the trails and wilderness at this preserve. It is one of the most scenic places to hike in Florida in my opinion. I find myself visiting the place over and over again. The history you can discover is just an added bonus!

My Videos

Tung Nut Depot 1

Trails in San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

Resources

San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

Tung Nut Historical Information

Tung Nut Historical Information

Trails at San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

Scenic Trails in San Felasco Hammock Preserve

Scenic Trails in San Felasco Hammock Preserve

Tung Nut Depot

Tung Nut Depot

Tung Nut Depot

Tung Nut Depot

Inside in an Enclosed Room

Inside in an Enclosed Room

Tung Nut Depot

Tung Nut Depot

Tung Nut Depot Dock Area

Tung Nut Depot Dock Area

Finding The Old Grove Park African-American Cemetery in Alachua County

Gravesite in The Woods

Gravesite in The Woods

I have been trying to find the location of this African-American cemetery located in the old community of Grove Park in Alachua County. I finally found the cemetery after a couple of attempts in the woods by Phifer Flatwoods Preserve not far from The Hawthorne Trail. I only could see one tombstone with the name of Odum on it. This site is also known as Odum Grave so that was a good indicator that I had found the right location.

The area is by an overgrown path which I think may have been an old road at one time that runs along a creek. Back in the creek bed I found old bricks and even a Herty cup. Clearly this area is rich in history though much of it is hidden in the woods just like this gravesite. The creek leads up to the Hawthorne Trail which is a paved trail but at one time was a railroad line. There are several small communities along this old railroad line including Grove Park.

I haven’t been able to find much history on this gravesite but I am still researching it.  I posted a link below that gives a lot of historical information on Alachua County. I have barely scraped the surface of what history can be found in these areas so I am looking forward to exploring here more. My next adventure I think will be tracking down some turpentine sites that may be in and around Phifer Flatwoods Preserve as well.

My Videos

Grove Park African-American Cemetery 1

Grove Park African-American Cemetery 2

Resources

Alachua County History

Hawthorne Trail

Phifer Flatwoods Trail Map

My Route

DSC08781

Odum Grave

Odum Grave

Forest Road to Cemetery

Forest Road to Cemetery

Searching for Homestead Sites in Richloam Wildlife Management Area

Hiking in Baird Unit

Hiking in Baird Unit

I have been exploring some lately at The Richloam Wildlife Management Area in Sumter County in an area known as Baird Unit. It is a big place with over 11,000 acres of property and many miles of forest roads, multi-use and side trails to wander. I discovered around five homestead sites so far but only two of them had any significant remains left. The sites may date back to the early to mid-1900’s when homesteaders lived out here and farmed the land.

The first site I found had a structure that could have been where livestock was kept. Nearby it was a really big pasture that is now overgrown. I could see fence posts surrounding the property and some clearings where other structures may have stood. I scoured the area and didn’t see any other structures. a lot of stuff may be buried as well.

Further down the trail a few miles was the second potential homestead site I was looking for. As I got closer to the area the forest road all but disappeared into dense brush and woods. I struggled to see the path so I just followed my map the best I could until I eventually came upon the site. I saw a small clearing in the woods but nothing else initially. Then I saw a glimpse of metal by the trees and it was an old refrigerator.I knew then that I had found the place I was searching for. Around the site was metal and wood and part of a collapsed structure.

After leaving this site I headed back out to the forest road and continued onto the third site where nothing could be found. I also discovered two other sites where all that was left was just clearings. I still have more sections to check out here so I am looking forward to seeing what else I can discover. Finding history in the wilderness can be hit or miss but it’s all apart of the adventure!

My Videos

Exploring an Homestead Site

Exploring an Homestead Site 2

Exploring an Homestead 3

Resources

Richloam WMA

Old Homestead Site

Old Homestead Site

Old Refrigerator at Homestead Site

Old Refrigerator at Homestead Site

Old Fence Post

Old Fence Post

Structure at Homestead Site

Structure at Homestead Site

Structure at Homestead Site

Structure at Homestead Site

Exploring the Trails at Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Itchatucknee Springs

Itchatucknee Springs

When you think of Ichetucknee Springs State Park you may envision the beautiful springs there. But at the North Entrance of the park there are some scenic and historical trails you can explore. There are three different hiking trails. Blue Hole Trail: A half-mile walk through the Ichetucknee forest and cypress flood plain leads to Blue Hole Spring, the largest spring in the park. Trestle Point Trail: This shaded path winds along the crystal clear waters of the Ichetucknee River. The self-guided trail will take you back in time to the early 1900s, when phosphate ore was mined in the area. Pine Ridge Trail: A frequently overlooked area of the park is the majestic sandhill, with its towering longleaf pine and wide open vistas. View the natural diversity of this unique and vanishing ecosystem.

I particularly enjoyed the Trestle Point trail because of it’s history. In the early 1900’s they mined for phosphate in this area and you can still see evidence from that period as you walk along the old tram roads which are now part of the nature trail. I found large pits and even an old dragline shovel along the trail. I followed the trails towards the river and found the site where a small trestle used to cross. The phosphate would be hauled out of the mines across the river over the trestle. Here is some history I found on the area from the park website“Phosphate mining in the park covered two major periods. Exploration mining began prior to the turn of the 20th century, consisting of mule and wheelbarrow-assisted excavation in nearby sinkholes and depressions. Later, the mine used boilers, pumps and steam shovels for ore extraction. A series of narrow-gauge railroads were installed to cart the ore out to local railroad lines. This early phase of mining was never as intrusive as our present-day methods, but many pits were left in the park and are still present today, especially around the Head Spring area. Another relic of the phosphate era is the series of ‘tram beds’ crisscrossing the park, left behind from the railroad conveyances.”

If you plan on visiting the springs at the North entrance don’t forget to check out these trails!

My Videos

Old Dragline Bucket
Old Phosphate Mines
Old Tram Road
Trestle Point

Resources

Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Park History

Trails at North Entrance

Trails at North Entrance

Tram Road

Tram Road

Trestle Point (where the Trestle Was)

Trestle Point (where the Trestle Was)

Exploring an old Phosphate Mine

Exploring an old Phosphate Mine

Old Dragline Shovel

Old Dragline Shovel

Remains of an Old Homestead in The Green Swamp

Old Road to Homestead

Old Road to Homestead

In The Green Swamp just west of The Van Fleet State Trail I found what remains of an old homestead. I followed some forest roads back to a clearing where the site once was. I imagined what it must have been like to live back here at one time, the site is surrounded by peaceful wilderness.

As I looked around I saw pieces of bricks, wood and foundations. Nearby I also discovered where the well was possibly and also a pile of debris from the homestead that had been discarded such as old bottles and plates. I checked around the perimeter of the site where I found part of a fence, metal parts, piping and barrels. I even found a couple of orange trees that the homesteaders must have planted as well. I don’t know who lived here and when but I am guessing by the items that I saw at the site that it dates back to early to mid-1900’s though I am not positive on that.

As I explore this vast wilderness more and more I am discovering a lot of history which often times leads to more questions than answers. Though that is one of the things that keeps me on the quest for history, at times it can feel like putting a puzzle together. Finding this homestead site is just one piece of the puzzle of the deep history this wilderness has. I look forward to discovering what is down the next path on my adventure here because you just never know what you may find!

My Videos

Homestead Remains

Resources

Green Swamp East

Van Fleet State Trail

Green Swamp History

Foundation

Foundation

Hole with Piping by Site

Hole with Piping by Site

Old Piping

Old Piping

Part of an Old Vehicle Not Sure

Part of an Old Vehicle?

Old Barrels and Metal

Old Barrels and Metal Parts

Old Bottles and Debris from Homesteaders

Debris from Homesteaders

Old Pipe for Well

Old Pipe for Well

Orange Tree

Orange Tree

Old Fence Post

Old Fence Post

Back in Time… Exploring an Old Homestead Site in The Green Swamp

Painted Sign at Homestead Site

Painted Sign at Homestead Site

Let’s take a trip back in time… To an old homestead I found in The Green Swamp where I felt like I was transported back to another time. When homesteaders lived here by an old railroad grade in the early to mid-1900’s.

When I first discovered this place I saw a really nice painted sign at the site depicting what the area had looked like at one time. I saw a couple of abandoned vehicles by an area where they must’ve kept livestock. I searched around extensively and could tell that this was a large property as I found lots of remnants scattered about.

It took me sometime to find the ruins still left from the homestead. Those were in the woods by the vehicles it was just heavily overgrown back there which makes them hard to see at first. I found an old forest road that runs by the ruins and it crosses over the railroad grade. Perhaps they used this road to get onto their property. 

I enjoyed exploring around this area and experiencing the history that still remains. I hope that it will remain there for many years so that others can experience it as well. I would like to find out more about this place if you have any information on it feel free to comment below. It would’ve been a nice place to live here as the surrounding wilderness is beautiful. Beyond the homestead is a large network of forest roads, who knows what else is could be out there!

My Videos

Old Homestead Site

Old Homestead Site 2

Back in Time…Old Homestead Site

Back in Time…Old Homestead Site 2

Old Radio at Homestead Site

Resources

Green Swamp East Tract

Green Swamp History

Old Road by Homestead

Old Road by Homestead

Ruins at Homestead Site

Ruins at Homestead Site

Old Car

Old Car

Old Truck

Old Truck

Inside of Old Car

Inside of Old Car

Inside of Old Truck

Inside of Old Truck

Inside of Old Car

Inside of Old Car

Old Car

Old Car

Old Truck

Old Truck