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.
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.
Abandoned Highway 90 Bridge
Bridge Hunter – Hillman Bridge
Ellaville Ghost Town
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
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!
The Old Railroad Grade
View of Trestle
View of Trestle
Old Railroad Trestle
Under The Trestle
Old Debris by Trestle
Old Trails by Trestle
Trail to Trestle
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!
Old Dragline Bucket
Old Phosphate Mines
Old Tram Road
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Trails at North Entrance
Trestle Point (where the Trestle Was)
Exploring an old Phosphate Mine
Old Dragline Shovel