Although known more for hunting this area along the Suwannee River in Levy County known as Andrews Wildlife Management Area is a really nice place to explore. Some of the trails lead you along the river where you can experience some amazing views, other trails lead you throughout the woods in the preserve. There are also many forest roads and off trails.
Along with the beautiful scenery there is some interesting history to be experienced as well. Awhile back I was exploring here in the wilderness when I came across a lone gravesite. Sadly most of the tombstone is gone and the site is surrounded by a wooden fence. It made me wonder about the history of the area, who was buried there and for how long now. Perhaps there was a homestead nearby at one time. I took some photos and recorded some video footage there but left without knowing much about the site but was happy to have discovered it as I was inspired to learn more.
Here is some of the history on the area that I could find “Back to the 1800’s when the nearby Suwannee River was used as a steamboat route for hauling lumber. By the early 1900’s the area was used for cattle grazing, logging, hunting and fishing as well. In the 1945 the Andrews family purchased the land. They managed the land for outdoor recreation and were careful to protect natural resources. The state purchased the land in 1985.” You can read more about the history at this link.
Well about a year later I was able to finally find some sort of record on the site and went back out to look at it again. I find that it is important to check back upon these sites from time to time… The record I found indicates that this is the infant grave of Walter Miller Owens from 1889. If this record is accurate then it is a good start to uncovering some of the history here. More often than not finding these sites leads to more what you originally set out to find and learn about. That to me is very rewarding and all apart of the adventure.
If you visit this area be sure to check the hunting dates, enjoy!
Lone Gravesite at Andrews Wildlife Management Area
Andrews WMA History
Andrews Suwannee River Management District
Woods at Andrews WMA
Trail to Gravesite
This is part of a series of posts known as “Roadside History”. These posts will feature historical sites you can find along various roadways around Florida while on your travels.
Near Gulf Hammock in Levy County on US Hwy 19 / US 98 on the western side of the road you can see this relic of history. It is an old steam locomotive known as the Patterson-McInnis Steam Locomotive. It was built in the early 1900’s to haul logs from the area woodlands to the sawmill. It often pulled 40 cars and was retired from service around WWII. The engine was donated to Levy County in 1969 by the Patterson-McInnis lumber company.
Today it is restored and on display, there is a historical marker by it describing the history. “This locomotive, known locally as “Three Spot”, often pulled 30 to 40 cars as it transported logs from area woodlands to the Patterson-McInnis Sawmill. Originally a wood burning engine thought to be built around 1915, it was converted to steam during its service, which ended about World War II. The locomotive was donated to Levy County by the Paterson-McInnis Lumber Company in 1969 and maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation in the Gulf Hammock Wayside Park.”
Here are the directions to the site be sure to check it out sometime and experience some roadside history!
Patterson-McInnis Steam Train
Patterson-McInnis Train Marker
Patterson-McInnis Locomotive early 1900’s
Patterson-McInnis Steam Locomotive 2015
Patterson-McInnis Steam Locomotive 2015
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.
Larger Trestle 2
Exploring The Railroad Grade
Old Railroad Pole
Goethe State Forest
Exploring The Railroad Trestle
Old Railroad Trestle
In Levy county near the old town of Levyville I found this old cemetery from the 1800’s known as Carter Cemetery. I found it back in a wooded area near Levyville Cemetery. The area is vast and who knows what other history could be discovered out there. But on this day I mainly was there to find the cemetery.
I followed some forest roads until I found a small fence where you could see some of the tombstones towering above the brush that has over taken much of the site. I went in to look around and to get an idea of who was buried there and look at the dates. Luckily most of the tombstones you can read the names and dates still. The dates range from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. I also searched around the cemetery to see if I could find any remains of a homestead or even a church. A lot of the old cemeteries I see were either established near an homestead or a church. I didn’t see anything really in the direct area although on the way back I found some pieces of fencing and metal scattered in the woods. You never know it may have been related to the time of the cemetery but hard to really know until I can explore the area more.
After I got done looking around I proceeded to hike out the way I came in when I walked by a group of hunters at a camp they had set up. They looked over and asked why I was back there and I explained that I was searching for the cemetery. I learned that the land is leased to these hunters and they just so happen to be out there when I was passing by. They were really nice though and we even got to talk a little about some of the history there. After a few minutes of chatting we went our separate ways and I came away with more questions than answers regarding the cemetery but really enjoyed the experience of finding it. Be sure to check out my videos below for a really good look at the place.
Finding Carter Cemetery
Florida’s Lost and Abandoned Graveyards