Old Windmill at Charles H. Bronson State Forest

Old Windmill at Charles H. Bronson State Forest

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Windmill

One of my favorite places to roam in Florida is at Charles H. Bronson State Forest. I always get that “old Florida” feel when I am exploring there.  The area was once used for ranching and some of that history can still be seen throughout the area. It is a large forest with many trails, wooded areas and open pasture areas. It is also near the St. Johns River and the floodplains. It is a place of beauty with many layers of history.

A really neat relic from the past here is an old windmill that even still works. It is amazing to see it in action as the winds blow through the pasture lands. It pumps water from underground into a vat that cattle still use today for drinking water. The windmill was made by the Aermotor Windmill Company and it may date back to the early or mid-1900’s.

There are more windmills out here but this is the only intact one that I have found, I hope that it can remain that way for a long time to come. I can imagine future generations seeing it here still working, a reminder of old Florida…

My Video

Old Windmill at Charles H. Bronson State Forest

Resources

Charles H. Bronson State Forest

Out in The Boonies – Charles H. Bronson State Forest

Charles H. Bronson Wildlife Management Area

Aermotor Windmill Company

Exploring Indian Mounds at Bronson State Forest

Exploring Indian Mounds at Bronson State Forest

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Indian Mound

I spent a few months focusing my explorations near the St. Johns River area. Not only are their numerous wilderness areas to explore along the river but there is a lot of fascinating history as well. In fact many layers of history and some of the earliest history is that of the Native American Indians that lived and hunted along these areas over 500 years ago. The history can be quite complex from what I am learning but as far as I know the Timucua and Mayaca Indians settled in these places. They would build large shell mounds over time and villages along the river.

These early Floridians ate countless tons of such shellfish as oysters, snails, crabs, clams, and mussels.  They piled the debris in middens.  These are trash heaps that contain shells, bones, broken pottery, etc.  Some of mounds are massive, and there were lots of them. Middens used to blanket parts of Florida’s East Coast, from Cape Canaveral northward.  During the 1800s, in fact, Americans couldn’t believe their eyes.  They couldn’t comprehend that human activity had created so many mounds. Unfortunately these mounds are not as large as they once were and many are gone all together. Although some can still be seen and that is where this adventure leads me…

I began this exploration at Charles H. Bronson State forest and was able to hike out to the St. Johns River area where several mounds could be seen. I really enjoyed finding them and the views there on the river floodplain are spectacular. It was dry and cooler so these areas weren’t as challenging to access as they normally can be.  As I stood there on the mounds I could imagine how the natives must’ve enjoyed it there. You can’t help but feel the history here. On the mounds I could see some remnants from the past like old pottery fragments and shells.

I have been enjoying learning about the history doing the explorations and tracking down the sites. I still have more to see, the adventure really just has begun.

My Videos

Old Indian Mound at Bronson State Forest

Exploring Indian Mounds at Bronson State Forest (Part 1)

Exploring Indian Mounds at Bronson State Forest (Part 2)

Exploring Indian Mounds at Bronson State Forest (Part 3)

Resources

St. Johns River Historical Society

St. Johns River Original Inhabitants

Charles H. Bronson State Forest

21st Century Expeditionist

Out in The Boonies

Florida Hikes and Other Outdoor Information

*Do not remove or disturb artifacts it is prohibited and illegal in this forest, thank you.