Old State Route 5 Bridge at Chinsegut Preserve

Old State Route 5 Bridge at Chinsegut Preserve

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Old Bridge

There are some nice trails and interesting history at Chinsegut Preserve located in Hernando County.  One of the interesting layers of history in this area is that one of the hiking trails used to be a main route through this section of the county.

It was known as State Route 5 and dates back to at least the 1920’s. You may not even know it hiking on the trail as nature has reclaimed much of the old highway. It was a two lane road and part of it went over a small bridge which is located in the preserve. It crosses over a creek and has a sign posted on it indicating that it was the S.R. 5 Bridge in the 1920’s. It is made of concrete and people still cross over today just not in cars but on foot.

The highway was eventually replaced with the modern U.S. Highway/Route 41 that is adjacent to the property. As I hiked around the area I could get a sense of old Florida here and seeing this bridge a nice reminder of that. Hopefully for a long time to come more people will be able to see it and learn some of the history on this area.

There is a lot more history to be experienced in this area such as the Chinsegut Manor, an old cemetery and so much more! Check out the links to below to get more information and be sure to take a hike around the preserve and check out the bridge site. Also be on the look out for catface trees which were from the turpentine industry here at one time.

My Video

Chinsegut Preserve and Old Bridge

Resources

Hike to Bridge

Chinsegut Preserve and Nature Center

Chinsegut Preserve and State Route 5 Bridge

Chinsegut Preserve and Nature Center

Roadside History: Abandoned Highway 90 Bridge on The Suwannee River

Roadside History: Abandoned Highway 90 Bridge on The Suwannee River

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Old Highway 90 Bridge

One of my favorite places to explore in Florida is along the Suwannee River with many wilderness areas and historical sites to experience there. The area just has that “old Florida” feel to it. On this visit I went to check out an abandoned bridge that crosses over the river. It was part of the old Highway 90 at one time and the bridge was built around 1925. I read that it was also known as the Hillman Bridge or Ellaville Bridge over the years. The bridge is nearly a thousand feet across and as you walk out onto the bridge you experience amazing views of the Suwannee River.

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Highway 90 Bridge Construction 1920’s

The area was once part of the ghost town of Ellaville back in the 1800’s. There is a park next to the bridge with a historical marker describing some of the history about the town. Behind the parking lot and down under the bridge you can find some trails to hike with more scenic views and even more history that can be discovered if you look good enough. The Hillman Bridge was abandoned sometime in the 1980’s when the modern Route 90 bridge was built next to it. Today this old bridge still stands as a relic and reminder of history, hopefully it will remain there for many years to come.

My Video

Abandoned Highway 90 Bridge

Resources

Bridge Hunter – Hillman Bridge

Ellaville Ghost Town

Roadside History: Lake Monroe Bridge

Roadside History: Lake Monroe Bridge

Passing over Lake Monroe where it meets the St. Johns River you can see the old Lake Monroe Bridge. Just off of Hwy 17 there is a park called Wayside Park in Seminole County. It is a popular place for fishing and boating. The bridge was Florida’s first electrically operated swing bridge and was built in 1933. It was part of the original Hwy 17, today the swing span is preserved as fishing pier. There is a historical there that describes the history.

“The Lake Monroe Bridge was the first electrically operated swing bridge in Florida. In 1932-1933 the State used federal assistance to build this bridge, which replaced a wooden toll bridge that was manually operated. The construction of the bridge provided economic relief for an area hurt by the economic collapse of the Depression era. The bridge was fabricated by Ingall’s Iron Works of Birmingham, Alabama. The swing machinery manufactured by Earle Gear and Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was erected by W. W. White Steel Construction of St. Petersburg, Florida. Kreis Contracting Company of Knoxville, Tennessee was the general contractor for the Florida Department of Transportation. The Florida Department of Transportation and Seminole County cooperated in preserving the swing span as a fishing pier when the new Benedict Bridge was completed in 1994.

The Lake Monroe Bridge had historic impact on the communities of the area, but also is of historical value as an example of a branch of bridge engineering.

The Lake Monroe bridge was 627 feet, and included a 235 foot swing span. It carried the main route linking Daytona Beach and Tampa, via Deland, Sanford, Orlando, and Lakeland. It could pivot 360 degrees on its curved rack and two spur pinions.

The Warren-type through truss construction had a central panel section peaked to accommodate the drive machinery. The Warren-type truss is considered the most economical construction for continuous spans. It is characterized by diagonals that alternate in direction. The first diagonal beam starts at base level and goes up to the top. The next diagonal starts at the top and goes down to the base level. The diagonals are in tension and compression in alternate panels. To meet the heavy stresses of the swing span operation the bridge arms were heavily reinforced and had riveted connections at all stress points. The harbor for Lake Monroe Park in Volusia County was created by fill taken for the approaches to the Lake Monroe Bridge.”

Visit the links below to see my video, photos and for more information.

My Video

Old Lake Monroe Bridge

Resources

Lake Monroe Bridge on Bridge Hunter

Lake Monroe on Waymarking

Lake Monroe Historical Marker

Old Railroad Grade at Lake Wales Ridge State Forest

Old Railroad Grade at Lake Wales Ridge State Forest

One of the places I enjoy exploring is Lake Wales Ridge State Forest in Polk County. Some of my early days as Florida Trailblazer were spent there so it is a place I like to return to when I can. I initially learned about how the area was a chain of islands millions of years ago when the rest of Florida was covered by ocean. It is known as the Central Florida Ridge today, the ridge runs for about 150 miles through central Florida, Lake Wales Ridge standing 295 feet above sea level, is the oldest part of it. As you walk along through areas where the scrub habitat are you are literally walking on an ancient beach.. The forest has a many areas of diverse habitat though with many miles of trails and places to explore.

Besides the enjoying the amazing wilderness here I have been learning a lot about the history as well. Some of it can still be seen today if you know where to look. One of the areas I found was an abandoned railroad grade, in fact some of the trails cross over it but today it just appears as another forest road so you may not know that it was a railroad line at one time. Once I found it I hiked along the grade for a few miles until I reached a creek where a bridge once was. The bridge is mostly gone except for the wood pilings that supported it. It was neat to see this reminder of history out here though. I learned that the railroad was built around 1944 to connect Avon Park Air Force Range with the existing railline in Frostproof. This line was discontinued in not to long after in 1948 and was dismantled. I would like to explore more in the area to see what else may be there that could be associated with the railroad.

My Video

Old Railroad Grade at Lake Wales Ridge State Forest

Resources

Lake Wales Ridge State Forest

Out in The Boonies – Arbuckle Tract

Roadside History: Old Railroad Trestle at Dowling Park in Suwannee County

This is an old railroad trestle I found while exploring around the Dowling Park Area in Suwannee County. The trestle crosses over the Suwannee River there and is a fascinating piece of history to see.

Old Railroad Trestle over The Suwannee River

Old Railroad Trestle

The railroad line and trestle were once part of the Live Oak, Perry and Gulf Railroad. It started as a log road of the R.L. Dowling & Sons Lumber Co. out of Live Oak, Florida in the mid 1890’s. The railroad was slowly built towards the Suwannee River and was known as the R.L. Dowling Shortline. The town name was eventually changed to Dowling Park and a sawmill was built there. in 1905 Thomas Dowling helped establish the Dowling Lumber and Naval Stores Company with locations in Live Oak. In Live Oak his relative Robert L. Dowling’s sawmill stood, the Live Oak, Perry and Gulf Railroad machine shops would later reside there and also in Dowling Park. Dowling also established several other lumber companies around the state.

I explored around the trestle and the surrounding woods and found old paths which may have been used for roads at one time. I saw pieces of old metal and bricks in different areas along there but the main thing to experience here is the trestle. I still would like to search around more extensively though to see what else I can discover.

There is a boat ramp and parking area nearby and where you can access the trestle from. It is a great place to enjoy some roadside history, just be careful around the trestle and do not attempt to cross over it. I posted a couple of my videos below, some photos and my hiking route around the trestle. Be sure to check out the historical links I listed below as well to learn more, enjoy!

My Videos
 
Resources
 
The Old Railroad Grade

The Old Railroad Grade

View of Trestle

View of Trestle

View of Trestle

View of Trestle

Old Railroad Trestle

Old Railroad Trestle

Under The Trestle

Under The Trestle

Old Debris by Trestle

Old Debris by Trestle

Old Trails by Trestle

Old Trails by Trestle

Trail to Trestle

Trail to Trestle

Exploring The Old Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad Line (Abandoned Railroad Trestle)

Old Railroad Grade

Old Railroad Grade

I found this old railroad trestle near Lake Butler in northern Florida. It actually borders both Bradford and Union counties over a river. I followed an abandoned railroad grade out to it which is a very scenic place to wander and see little bits of history from the railroad. Though today the trail is overgrown and somewhat tough to get through in some sections but well worth it. Not far from this area this same railroad line turns into The Florida Trail and also the Lake Butler-Palatka State Trail.

As I approached the trestle where the grade meets the river I really couldn’t tell if it was still there or not. Most of the one side is gone but you can see part of it sticking up through the brush just before the river. I made my way down the grade through the brush then came out under the trestle where I could see this relic of history still spanning the river. The area under the trestle is peaceful and picturesque, as I stood there I could imagine the area over a hundred years ago when the trains crossed here.

It is unsafe to cross the trestle over to the other side so after exploring here I went back to where I parked and headed over to the other side of the trestle using some roads nearby. This side of the trestle seems easier to access and has more history to discover. Near the bottom of the railroad grade I saw some concrete foundations shaped like pyramids like I’ve seen before at other railroad grades. These may have been foundations where some sort of structure was attached. One of them even had bricks embedded into the bottom of it. I also saw various metal pieces scattered about. As I walked to the river I checked out the trestle and this side seems to be more intact.

This railroad was part of the Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad going back to the late 1800’s. In the 1870’s and 1880’s, timber was becoming a more valuable commodity in southern Georgia and northern Florida. In 1881, the Georgia legislature authorized the formation of the Georgia Southern and Florida Railroad Company. Its charter was to build a line south from Macon, Georgia to Clinch County, Georgia near the Florida state line. At that point, it would tie into Savannah, Florida & Western Railroad.

In 1884, the Florida Legislature granted a charter for the Macon and Florida state Air-Line Railroad Company to extend the GS&F tracks from the Georgia-Florida state line to Tampa/Charlotte Harbor on the Gulf coast, with a branch line to run to the St. Johns River. In 1888, the two companies merged for the line to go to Palatka, a busy river port on the St. Johns River. The GS&F reached Palatka by March 1890.

Due to poor management of funds and heavy mortgages, the GS&F went bankrupt in 1891. In 1895, J.P. Morgan attempted to gain control of the GS&F and reorganized the railroad into the GS&F Railway.

I really enjoyed finding this area and learning the history along the way it is such a fascinating place! I would like to continue exploring down this railroad line as far as possible to see what other history could remain. As far as this trestle I hope that it can remain for many years to come so that others can experience the history as well.

My Videos

Exploring The Old Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad (Railroad Trestle)

Exploring an Old Railroad Grade in Bradford County (Railroad Spikes)

Old Railroad Trestle in Bradford County

Old Railroad Trestle in Union County

Exploring The Old Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad in Union County

Exploring an Old Railroad Trestle in Bradford County (Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad)

Exploring The Old Georgia Southern Florida Railroad Line in Bradford County

Resources

Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail

Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad Historical Information

New River Ghost Town Geocache

Union County Historical Information

Exploring The Old Railroad Grade

Exploring The Old Railroad Grade

Railroad Trestle

Railroad Trestle

Foundations by Railroad Grade

Foundations by Railroad Grade

Ruins by Railroad Grade

Ruins by Railroad Grade

Do not cross!

Do not cross!

Railroad Trestle

Railroad Trestle

Railroad Trestle

Railroad Trestle

Under The Trestle

Under The Trestle

River Under The Trestle

River Under The Trestle

Hidden Trestle

Hidden Trestle in The Brush

Old Bucket with Railroad Spikes

Old Bucket with Railroad Spikes

Exploring an Old Railroad Grade in Goethe State Forest

Trestle

Trestle

There is an old railroad grade that cuts through part of Goethe State Forest and dates back to at least the early 1900’s. The railroad was once part of the Seaboard Coast Line and then later became the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.

As I explored along it for several miles I saw various remnants related to the railroad. Things like railroad spikes, markers, pipes, railroad ties, poles and even a couple of old trestles.

The trestles were fascinating to see one was larger than the other and both in relatively decent condition for how old they are. The larger one I was unsure about crossing and it didn’t appear to be very stable. I was really careful when exploring around that one but managed to get across it. The smaller trestle you can walk across with no problem at all. I was able to get underneath both of them to get some photos and videos. I still haven’t explored this entire railroad grade yet so who knows what else can be found. It is part of what keeps me coming back for more!

I really enjoy exploring in Goethe State Forest because of the history you can experience and the beautiful wilderness there. Goethe State Forest can be found in Levy County and has a rich history of logging and turpentine operations. Possibly mining history there as well but as always when it comes to this forest I am always learning new things about it. I posted some helpful links below along with my photos and videos from this area.

My Videos

Old Piping

Smaller Trestle

Larger Trestle

Larger Trestle 2

Railroad Artifact

Exploring The Railroad Grade

Old Railroad Pole

Resources

Goethe State Forest

Railroad Trestle

Railroad Trestle

Exploring The Railroad Trestle

Exploring The Railroad Trestle

Railroad Spike

Railroad Spike

Old Railroad Trestle

Old Railroad Trestle

Old Piping

Old Piping

Railroad Pole

Railroad Pole

Railroad Pole

Railroad Pole

Old Piping

Old Piping