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Ghost Town USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

FLORIDA

“The Sunshine State”

 

 

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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Florida

Florida like the other eastern states is usually shorted in ghost town books.  However, there are a hundreds of locations worth looking into a state which has had an active and contentious history.  Florida was one of the first parts of the United States to be explored by European explorers, with Juan Ponce de León y Figueroa making landfall in 1513.  More commonly known as Ponce de Leon, he was a member of Christopher Columbus’ second exploration to the New World in 1493.  He became a provincial governor in what later was named Puerto Rico and in April 1513, he led an expedition to what he named La Pascua Florida.  

 

From that point on, Florida was ripe for exploration, and the Spaniards continued to visit the unknown land.  Then in 1559 Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a colony at Pensacola, but it was abandoned in 1561.  The French began active exploration of the area, which enticed the Spanish desire to claim and settle the land themselves.  In 1564, Fort Caroline was established by the French at present-day Jacksonville, which forced the Spanish hand.  They established St. Augustine the following year.  In September 1565, the Spanish attacked and took over the French fort, renaming it San Mateo, but the French retook it in 1567.  The Spanish fort at St. Augustine was battled for and overrun several times, including 1586 when Sir Francis Drake the noted British seaman attacked and burned the town.  The Spaniards had also established a number of missions and by 1655 had converted thousands of the Native American inhabitants to Christianity.  However, peace did not reign, and the entire peninsula was contested over, as well as serving as a haven for pirates until the early 1800s.

 

In 1763, the Spanish traded Florida to the British, and left Florida.  However in 1784, they were re-awarded Florida by the Treaty of Paris.  Land grants were issued to settlers, and many Americans came to Spanish Florida.  Finally in 1821, the United States took over Florida, and 300+ years of bickering went away.  Florida became a territory in 1822 and the 27th state in 1845.  Then in 1861 Florida joined the Confederacy be seceding from the United States of America.  Once the Civil War ended, Florida was on the road to reinstatement, which took place in 1868.

 

Throughout the state’s history, agricultural communities, military posts, logging camps, ferry landings, steamboat landings, and hundreds of other tiny communities were established, lived for a while then faded out.  During the 1920s, there was a land boom and many new towns were established.  Some made it, others didn’t.  Then in the early 1950s, retirees began flocking to the state, and by 2000 Florida had become the nation’s fourth most populous state. 

 

This is a great state for searching for tangible remains of the past, but they are generally well-hidden.  It takes a dedicated researcher to them, but, they do exist.  Below, some 45+ sites are listed to get you started.  Get on out and see what the Sunshine State has to offer ghost town chasers.  Enjoy!

 

 HELP!  Please check here to find a list of ghost towns that various contacts are looking for.  IF you have any information on these places please e-mail me and I can respond back to those looking for info on these ghosts.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

ANDYTOWN

Broward Co.

Nothing but memories remain of this class A former crossroads community under the ramp from westbound I-75 (Everglades Parkway) to northbound US 27/State Highway (SH) 25, 18 miles west of Fort Lauderdale. It got its start in 1947 as a coffee-serving roadside shack along the eastern end of Alligator Alley. Andy Poulos bought the shack and ten acres of land and built up the tiny roadside community.  In 1951, Andytown incorporated, but in 1967, the state purchased the land.  In October 1979 the town of four people was doomed to be bulldozed to make room for a freeway interchange.  The Andytown Gulf service station, motel, bar and restaurant closed. It no longer appears on maps as the site was bulldozed and sits underneath the interchange.  The Gnis topographic map shows the site right on the bend in the North New River Canal at the road junction, while the aerial photo shows it in the area between the ramp and the highways.  In any case, Andytown, the town named after Andy Poulos is completely gone.

 

·        SWC(orner) Sec 22, T49S, R39E, TM (Tallahassee Meridian and Baseline) 

·        Latitude:  26.1459193 / 26° 08’ 45” N

·        Longitude: -80.4417201 / 80° 26’ 30” W

AURYTOWN

Pinellas Co.

A class A pirate “town” located on the north side of Honeymoon Island, across from Crystal Beach, which is due west of Tampa. It is said to have been founded and named after the French pirate, Luis (Louis-Michel Aury) de Aury in the early 1800s. An April 1979 magazine article claims Aury “…maintained several dozen shacks, a general store and a pier for his boat.” However, I have found no evidence of Aury being involved with this venture.  Aury did establish a small pirate “town” (privateering base) on Galveston Island (TX) around 1816, and the following year operated out of Amelia Island, which is on the east coast of Florida, just south of the FL/GA state line. None of the websites dealing with his biography mention the Aurytown location.  Anyone know for sure???

 

Please note that I am not trying to disclaim the existence of the pirate town, just questioning Louis-Michel Aury’s involvement.

 

The aerial photo from GNIS shows a number of paths in the trees on the north end of the island.  Access is by foot from the parking area located in the center of the island, which can be reached via Causeway Blvd west of Scottish Village Shopping Center, which is on the northwest corner of the junction of Bayshore Blvd (US 19)/Curlew Rd (SH 586)-Causeway Blvd., on the north side of Dunedin.  This is a state park/state recreation area, so metal detectors are not allowed anymore. However, in an April 1979 article, the author lists a number of relics that were discovered at the site.

(Aurytown is not listed in Gnis , but Honeymoon Island is. GBS)

 

HONEYMOON ISLAND:

·        SW¼ Sec 5, T28S, R15E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.0697381 / 28° 04’ 11” N

·        Longitude: -82.8303814 / 82° 49’ 49” W

BEULAH

Orange Co.

“There's a little town on the outskirts of Winter Garden. It's called Beulah. You would travel on Hwy 50 (which runs parallel to SH 91 – Florida’s Turnpike/Ronald Reagan Turnpike – GBS’s note) through Winter Garden till you get to the intersection of 50 and Beulah Road. There's a gas station called Dodge on the left hand side, so you can only turn one way (south – GBS) onto Beulah. You take it all the way into the back, and there's an old house back there. I will have to go back there again. I haven't been there for seven years.”

Contributed by Dan H., August 21, 2007

 

I checked my resources, and it appears to be a small community on the south side of Winter Garden.  In 1990 it had 100 people. From Gnis the aerial photo shows several large commercial-looking structures at the west (north) side of Beulah Road, across the street from the Beulah Baptist Church.  A cemetery is located just to the northwest and a number of housing developments encroach in form the edges.  It doesn’t appear that IF it is an old town, much is left.  Does anyone have the history of this place?  Or an update?  (GBS)

 

·        NW¼ Sec 36, T22S, R27E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.5347243 / 28° 32’ 05” N

·        Longitude: -81.5725735 / 81° 34’ 31” W

BREWSTER

Polk Co.

Brewster is an old company-owned phosphate mining town and railroad station on the CSXT Railroad at the junction of SH 37/County Route (CR) 630, about seven miles north of the county line, about 20 miles south of Lakeland and nine miles west of Fort Meade, in the far southwestern corner of the county.  The Gnis aerial photo doesn’t show any standing buildings at the site.   See PIERCE as it is listed by Mr. Fifer as a former phosphate mining town.

 

It was established in 1910 as a company town for the American Cyanamid Company (ACC). A typical company town, it contained all the needed amenities to serve the “captive” population such as doctors, medical clinic, drug store, gas station, movie theater, post office (1913 - 1961), a school and a community swimming pool.  It was a segregated town and consisted of two areas:  one for white residents and one for African-American residents.  In 1962, ACC closed the operation and removed most of the buildings.  By the 1970s the entire operation had closed and the mine buildings and plant had been relocated.  The smokestack is a local landmark, and as of 2008 was still standing along with some ruins and rubble. 

PLEASE NOTE:  The site is on PRIVATE PROPERTY and is closed to the public.

 

·        SE¼ Sec 26, T31S, R23E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.7528082 / 27° 45’ 10” N

·        Longitude: -81.9795299 / 81° 58’ 46” W

BULOWVILLE

Flagler Co.

This class B-sugar plantation town is located on CR 2001, nine miles southeast Bunnell and three miles west of Flagler Beach. The ruins of the sugar mill and plantation manor remain of what was once a large plantation with supporting worker's village.  It was destroyed by Seminole Indians in 1836. 

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

 

·        Ctr Sec 38*, T12S, R31E, TM  NOTE:  *The Section 38 designation is NOT an error despite the fact that most Townships are a square 6 sections wide and 6 sections high (36 total/section). 

·        Latitude:  29.4358096 / 29° 26’ 09” N

·        Longitude: -81.1403372 / 81° 08’ 25” W

CALL

Union Co.

…SEE Fort CallBELOW

CAMP GORDON JOHNSTON

(AKA... Camp Carrabelle)

Franklin Co.

This major World War II era amphibious assault training center stretched some 20 miles along the Gulf Coast northeast of Carrabelle.  It included Lanark Village, St. Teresa, and stretched all the way to the east to Alligator Point, which was used for gunnery practice.  It officially opened in September 1942, after about five months of planning and construction.  In closed in June 1946 after training over 250,000 soldiers. At 160,000 acres, it was the second largest military installation in the state.  At any one time some 30,000 troops were stationed there.  It served as the training center for the D-Day forces. All the camp buildings are gone, but docks remain along the Carrabelle River at Camp Belle, pilings remain in Lake Morality and the streets in Lanark Village.  Some of the homes in Lanark were officer’s quarters.  Camp Gordon Johnston was organized into three regimental combat team areas and a base camp area in Lanark.

 

There is a website for the Camp Gordon Johnston Museum located in the Carrabelle City Complex located at 1001 Gray Avenue, Carrabelle, 32322.

 

Details of the old camp can be found in the United States Army book: THE AMPHIBIOUS TRAINING CENTER – Study No. 22, Chapter VII,  “TRAINING AT CAMP GORDON JOHNSTON (Carrabelle, Florida)”

 

ALLIGATOR (Peninsula) POINT:

·        SW¼ Sec 34*, T6S, R2W, TM (* sections not shown, but it straddles the township line at that location)

·        NW¼ Sec 3*, T6S, R2W, TM (* sections not shown, but it straddles the township line at that location)

·        Latitude:  29.9068748 / 29° 54’ 25” N

·        Longitude: -84.4276763 / 84° 25’ 40” W

 

LANARK VILLAGE:                                                                         

·        SW¼ Sec 12, T7S, R4W, TM

·        Latitude:  29.8835413 / 29° 53’ 01” N

·        Longitude: -84.5957359 / 84° 35’ 45” W

CASTORTOWN

Hillsborough Co.

This class A pirate town was established by an English pirate based out of Savannah, Georgia, on the east side of Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay. It is said to have had about 20 buildings, a general store and a pier.  It dates to the early 1800s and nothing remains.  Today a U. S. Coast Guard Station and lighthouse sit at the northern tip of the forested island, which is now Egmont Key State Park.  A small community of 20 or so homes sits just south of the midpoint along the eastern shore, but that community is NOT related to the old pirate town OR Fort Dade (SEE below).

 

EGMONT KEY:

·        Corner Sec 23, 24, 25, 26, T33S, R15E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.5919782 / 27° 35’ 31” N

·        Longitude: -82.7626010 / 82° 45’ 45” W

CEDAR KEY

 

(AKA – Atsena Otie, Depot Key, Fort #4)

Levy Co.

Today’s town of Cedar Key is NOT a ghost town.  It sits just offshore, at the southwest end of SH 24, along the west coast of state, 54 miles southwest of Gainesville.  It once spread over several of the low-lying juniper-clad islands or keys.  The junipers were misidentified as cedars, and the entire island group was called the Cedar Keys. Today the historic old town of Cedar Key is a quiet fishing village and resort with a 2010 population of 702 people.   However, history runs thick here and there were other towns located in the area that no longer exist.

 

In 1839, during the Second Seminole War, Fort #4 - was established by US Army General Zachary Taylor on what was then one of several unnamed keys offshore from here.  A hospital and depot were also built, and the key became known as Depot Key.  On Seahorse Key another post, Cantonment Morgan was established.  Then on October 4, 1842 a hurricane destroyed Cantonment Morgan and seriously damaged Fort #4.   As the Seminole War was over, the army abandoned the fort and the key.  In 1843, Augustus Steele purchased the island and the remains of the military buildings and renamed the island Atsena Otie Key.  He built a number of “vacation cottages” founding a small community here.  In 1845, the Cedar Key post office was established, and because of the growth of Cedar Key as a shipping port, a lighthouse was built in 1854, along with several residences beside it.  The city of Atsena Otie was chartered by the state of Florida in 1859 and the juniper trees on the islands were cut, and a couple of mills were built to reduce the wood to slats, which were then shipped to pencil factories in the North. 

 

By 1860 the Florida Railroad made Cedar Key its western terminus, establishing shops and a terminal on Way Key, across the channel from Atsena Otie Key.  A General store was built, and a small community began to develop there also.  When the Civil War began, the lighthouse on Atsena Otie Key was shut down as were the pencil-wood mills.  After the war ended, and Union troops occupying the keys left, the small town was reestablished, and in 1865 the pencil mill on Atsena Otie Key was rebuilt.  Another one was established on Way Key.  Three years later the Florida Railroad was repaired and in 1869, the town on Way Key was incorporated as Cedar Keys, quickly eclipsing Atsena Otie.  By the 1880s, Tampa had become a major railroad shipping center, and the Cedar Keys communities faded. 

 

Then on September 29, 1896 a hurricane ripped the heart out of the towns.  The junipers were wiped out, the mills destroyed and the towns on the keys were seriously damaged.  On December 2, a fire destroyed what remained of Atsena Otie.  Some rebuilding began on the town of Cedar Keys on the island of Way Key and by the early 1900s it had grown into a fishing center, while the original town of Atsena Otie was completely forgotten.  Today Cedar Key is a busy little community of nearly 1000 people, while the original community of Cedar Key/Atsena Otie is a rubbled site.  The junipers have returned, but all that remains of the old town are a few foundations, ruins and the cemetery located on the south side of the island.

 

ATSENA OTIE KEY (cemetery):

·        S½ Sec 32, T15S, R13E, TM

·        N½ Sec 5, T16S, R13E, TM

·        Latitude:  29.1194126 / 29° 07’ 10” N

·        Longitude: -83.0267870 / 83° 01’ 36” W

 

TOWN of CEDAR KEY:

·        NW¼ Sec 32, T15S, R13E, TM

·        Latitude:  29.1385785 / 29° 08’ 19” N

·        Longitude: -83.0351212 / 83° 02’ 06” W

CENTER HILL

Sumter Co.

“There's a small population still living there but its downtown area is all but abandoned. There are still a few businesses open here and there on the outskirts but its "main street" would qualify as a ghost town.”   

Contributed by David P., October 06, 2002.

 

It is located on SH 48, about eight miles east of Bushnell, and northwest of Orlando. The town was once located along the railroad, but the rails have been pulled.  In 1986, it was listed by Rand McNally as being on the Seaboard System Railroad line, but in 1994 it was no longer listed along the railroad, nor is the railroad shown on the map.  However, the 2010 Census population of 988 makes its inclusion here questionable.  (GBS)

 

·        NE¼ Sec 22, T21S, R23E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.6499942 / 28° 39’ 00” N

·        Longitude: -81.9925814 / 81° 59’ 33” W

CENTEREACH

Lake, Marion or Putnam Co.

Centereach must be part of a town. I expect it is near Ocala National Forest. It is not listed on the Florida town page as such.  

Contributed by ‘Mardell’, Nov 03, 2009

 

No other details were given, and it is not listed in GNIS or in my Rand McNally Commercial Atlases for 1986, 1995 or 2002.  The Ocala National Forest sits where the three counties come together west of Daytona Beach and east of Ocala.  (GBS)

CENTRALIA

Hernando Co.

This class A sawmill town once had 1500 people, and is located seven miles north of Weeki Wachee Springs, which is north of Tampa on the west coast of Florida.  That location would put it near the junction of US 19-SH 55/CR 628 (Centralia Road.)  The town was established in 1911 and lasted until the 1920s.  It was named after Centralia, Wisconsin. 

 

The 2-3 foot diameter longleaf and slash pines in the area gave rise to a sawmill and lumbering community established to house the sawmill workers.  When the mill was built in 1911, it had a capacity of 100,000 board feet of lumber a day.  Some 1500-1800 people lived here and the town was complete with a commissary (company-store), grocery & dry goods store and a hardware store.  There was also a small one-room school, a doctor, visiting dentist, boarding house (Centralia Hotel), drug store, the Hungry None Restaurant, church, turpentine still, railroad depot and a movie theater.  The Centralia post office was in operation from June 10, 1910 through December 11, 1922.  Once the trees were all cut and the lumber milled, Centralia faded into the sunset as a town.  Ruins are said to remain.

 

JUNCTION OF US 19-SH 55/CR 628:

·        E-Ctr Sec 36, T21S, R17E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.614420

·        Longitude: -82.551833

Cruger and DePeyster Sugar Mill

Volusia Co.

…SEE New Smyrna Beach Sugar Mill

EGMONT KEY

Hillsborough Co.

This island/key is at the mouth of Tampa Bay. It is the site of several ghost towns, including the old pirate “town” of CASTORTOWN (SEE above) and FORT DADE, an old military post. The state-owned island is reachable only by boat. 

 

EGMONT KEY:

·        Corner Sec 23, 24, 25, 26, T33S, R15E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.5919782 / 27° 35’ 31” N

·        Longitude: -82.7626010 / 82° 45’ 45” W

FORT BARRANCAS

(AKA – Fort San Carlos de Barrancas)

Escambia Co.

This restored class C military fort is located on the south side of the Pensacola Naval Air Station just east of the three-way junction of South Blue Angel Parkway/Taylor Road/Radford Blvd.  Entrance is off Taylor.  This old fort is a National Historic Park.

 

The first fort at the site was built by the British in 1763. In 1781 the Spanish captured Pensacola from the British and built a fort called San Carlos de Barrancas. In the 1820s, the United States built its own fort when Pensacola Bay was picked to be a Navy port.  Fort Barrancas is one of four forts built to protect the harbor and was involved in Civil War battles in 1861 and 1862.  On April 15, 1947, the fort was officially deactivated.  It has since been restored, and in 1980, opened to the public.

 

SEE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Barrancas FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS

 

·        SW¼ Sec 5, T3S, R30W, TM

·        Latitude:  30.3479773 / 30° 20’ 53” N

·        Longitude: -87.2971948 / 87° 17’ 50” W

FORT CALL

Union Co.

Back in 2002, a correspondent contacted me and asked where Call was.  I posted it on the HELP page and received the following response from Mike Woodfin, a noted Ghost Town photographer/explorer in December 2006.  Call would be the remains of Ft. Call in Bradford/Union County FL.”  In May 2008, Mike added: “There is a Fort Call Cemetery in Union County, northwest of Worthington Springs.  (It) was considered a community at one time.  There was a church there but it was moved to Worthington Springs.  Fort Call was a Seminole War Fort established prior to 1845.  There apparently was a Call in Volusia County and one in Dixie County also.” 

Contributed by Mike Woodfin

 

The cemetery is located on the west side of Fort Call Road, north of SH 18, about five miles east of I-75 and about four miles northwest of Worthington Springs.  A few scattered homes are in the area. No town is visible, so it appears to be long gone.  (GBS)

 

CEMETERY:

·        NE¼ Sec 22, T6S, R18E, TM

·        Latitude:  29.9502778 / 29° 57’ 01” N

·        Longitude: -82.4872222 / 82° 29’ 14” W

FORT DADE

Hillsborough Co.

Named after Major Francis L. Dade, Fort Dade is an old military post located on the northern half of EGMONT KEY, and is accessible only by boat.  SEE also CASTORTOWN and EGMONT KEY above. 

 

The island (key) was recommended to be used for military purposes during a survey in 1849, but nothing was built.  Some troops were stationed on the island during the Civil War, but again, nothing was built, and in 1882, the island was made a military reservation.  A lighthouse was built (either in 1848 or 1858 – depending on source), but no military base was actually constructed until the onset of the Spanish-American War in 1898.  Some 70 buildings were built and a small community also established to support the fort.  The community supporting the fort had about 300 residents, and was supplied with electricity.  It later had a movie theater and a bowling alley. A hospital where soldiers returning from battle in Cuba were quarantined was also built. 

 

Fort Dade was established to protect Tampa Bay from a Spanish attack, and had artillery batteries protecting the shipping channel.  During World War I, the fort was used a Coast Guard training center and was deactivated in May 1923.  During World War II, the property was used as a harbor patrol station and an ammunition storage facility.

 

The GNIS aerial photo shows several batteries (gun emplacements), the lighthouse, crumbling brick roads, concrete stairs and foundation outlines throughout the northern half of the island. 

 

FORT DADE (from GNIS):

·        Corner Sec 23, 24, 25, 26, T33S, R15E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.5919782 / 27° 35’ 31” N

·        Longitude: -82.7609342 / 82° 45’ 39” W

FORT DADE

Pasco Co.

Not to be confused with the FORT DADE on EGMONT KEY, this Fort Dade was located north of Dade City and a mile or so south of Lacoochee, west of the Withlacoochee River, and just southeast of the junction of the Main Line Road/Mickler Road.  The site appears to be on privately-owned commercial property and is NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

 

It dates to the Second Seminole War in the 1830s and may have had as many as 2000 soldiers stationed here, and by 1845 the fort had faded.

 

APPROXIMATE LOCATION FROM GNIS:

·        SW¼ Sec 25, T23S, R21E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.4502773 / 27° 27’ 01” N

·        Longitude: -82.1664734 / 82° 09’ 59” W

FORT DENAUD

Hendry Co.

“…Ft. Denaud, Hendry Co, (is located) just west of Labelle Fl. There are one or two buildings, a historical marker, fireplace / chimney from burned building, and cemetery.

Contributed by Pete F.  March 27, 2014.

 

Hist marker

The combined pressure of growing white settlement in Florida and federal policy of relocating Indian tribes west of the Mississippi sparked the outbreak of the 2nd Seminole War in 1835. Controlling the coasts and campaigning in the heart of Seminole lands were the objectives of Major General Thomas Jesup in 1837. Captain B. L. E. Bonneville established Fort Denaud in 1838 as one of a series of posts linking American operations south of Tampa to the east coast. It was constructed on the south bank of the Caloosahatchee River 27 miles from Fort Myers on land owned by Pierre Danaud, a French Indian trader. The fort consisted of tents with a blockhouse in their midst. It served as a supply depot for troops in the Lake Okeechobee area and was utilized intermittently until the war ended in 1842. Fort Denaud was reopened in 1855, soon after the outbreak of the 3rd Seminole War. Additions included company quarters, hospital, guardhouse, sutler's store and stables. A few months after a fire ravaged the post in June 1856, another site on the north bank of the river tow miles west was chosen. The fort, which was abandoned in May 1858, gave its name to the nearby town of Denaud.

 

According to GNIS and the National Map, the original site is about 5.25 miles southwest of Labelle, ¾ mile southwest of the south end of the swing bridge over the Caloosahatchee River.  The cemetery is located off the road that intersects at the junction of CR 78 and the swing bridge road (CR 78a), 0.4 miles north of that junction.

 

APPROXIMATE LOCATION OF FORT FROM GNIS:

·        SW¼ Sec 15, T43S, R28E, TM

·        Latitude:  26.7336780 / 26° 44’ 01” N

·        Longitude: - -81.5164666 / 81° 30’ 59” W

 

CEMETERY:

·        NW¼ Sec 10, T43S, R28E, TM

·        Latitude:  26.7536772 / 26° 45’ 13” N

·        Longitude: - -81.5134108 / 81° 30’ 48” W

FORT DeSOTO

Pinellas Co.

A class C, Spanish American War era military fort built on the southwestern tip of Mullet Key, on the north side of the mouth of Tampa Bay, across the Egmont Channel from Egmont Key.  Construction began in 1898 and continued until 1903. Like Fort Dade on Egmont Key, Fort DeSoto was built to protect Tampa Bay from naval attack. This fort had 29 buildings and was built of thick concrete walls covered with a thick layer of dirt. Several guns remain, even though the fort deactivated in the 1920's. SH 679 accesses the island south from St. Pete.  It is a County Historical Park and the fort sits west of Anderson Blvd, north of the parking lot at the pier.  The fort was named for Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.

 

By 1910, the troops stationed here were relocated to Fort Morgan, Alabama.  During WW I a small contingent remained, but in 1917, some of the fort’s guns were sent to San Diego, CA.  In May 1923, the fort was officially closed.  Hurricanes have taken their toll on the fort, and the site was sold to the county.  In 1962 the bridge to the island was built, and on May 11, 1963, the Fort DeSoto Park was dedicated.  In 1977, it was added to the roster of the National Register of Historic Places.  A museum operates out of the reconstructed Quartermaster’s storehouse.

 

Located nearby on the east side of Mullet Key, was the Mullet Key Quarantine Station, established in 1889, it checked immigrants arriving by ship.  In 1901, the Marine Hospital Service took over the quarantine station’s operation.  In 1925 it had 15 buildings, and was in used until 1937.

 

LOCATION FROM GNIS TOPO MAP:

·        NE¼ Sec 18, T33S, R15E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.615653

·        Longitude: -82.736235

FORT GADSDEN

Franklin Co.

This old British fort is located on the east bank of the Apalachicola River, six miles south of Sumatra and west of SH 65, southwest of Tallahassee.  It was in use only between 1814 and 1815 and destroyed by American forces in 1816.  From 1818-1821, there was an American Fort Gadsden at the same location.  The old fort site is south of the tiny community of Fort Gadsden.

 

·        NE¼ Sec 23, T6S, R8W, TM

·        Latitude:  29.9382602 / 29° 56’ 18” N

·        Longitude: -85.0096350 / 85° 00’ 35” W

FORT JEFFERSON

Monroe Co.

This class C/F military fort sits on Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas Islands, at the far western tip of the Florida Keys, 70 miles west of Key West. It is only accessible by boat or seaplane from Key West. This was the largest all brick fort in the Western Hemisphere and is now a National Monument.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for May 2005

For more details see our FORT JEFFERSON page.

FORT McREE

Escambia Co.

This old military post sits on the northeast point of Perdido Key, across from the Pensacola Naval Air Station, on the west side of the mouth of Pensacola Bay.   It is marked as “Ruins” on the GNIS topographic map.  The aerial photo shows ruins and foundation outlines.

 

·        NW¼ Sec 34, T3S, R31W, TM

·        Latitude:  30.3258333 / 30° 19’ 33” N

·        Longitude: -87.3169444 / 87° 19’ 01” W

FORT PICKENS

Escambia Co.

This old military post sits on the west tip of Santa Rosa Island, across from the Pensacola Naval Air Station, on the east side of the mouth of Pensacola Bay.   It is marked as “Ruins” on the GNIS topographic map.  The aerial photo shows ruins and buildings, and what appear to be still-armed gun emplacements.  It is now a State Park.

 

·        Sec 30 or 31, T3S, R30W, TM  (Section #s not marked on GNIS topo map)

·        Latitude:  30.3265889 / 30° 19’ 36” N

·        Longitude: -87.2896944 / 87° 17’ 23” W

FORT REDOUBT

Escambia Co.

This old military post sits on the east side of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, on the west side of Taylor Road and just south of Tow Road.  It was one of the four forts protecting Pensacola.  It is marked as “Ruins” on the GNIS topographic map.  The aerial photo foundation outlines.

 

·        NW¼ Sec 5, T3S, R30W, TM

·        Latitude:  30.3554771 / 30° 21’ 20” N

·        Longitude: -87.2969171 / 87° 17’ 49” W

GOODNO

Glades Co.

This 1800s era cattle town was established by E.E. Goodno. The scattered community was located along a railroad line.  GNIS shows it along SH 80, where the former railroad crosses the highway four miles east of Port LaBelle, east of Fort Myers and west of Lake Okeechobee. The GNIS aerial photo shows the tracks gone, and no old buildings on site, except for what appear several scattered farms/rural dwellings. (GBS)

 

“The ghost town of (jumping off place really) Goodno was on the south side of the Caloosahatchee River in what is now Hendry County. Until 1923 it was Lee County. The north side of the river was in Glades County. Goodno had a hotel and an ice plant. It was located 6 miles east of the town of LaBelle FL.  The hamlet called Port LaBelle is on the site of long ago Goodno. There is a hotel, several homes and a lot of cattle there today.”

Contributed by Terry Hamilton Wollin, November 19, 2009

 

·        Sec line 34, T42S, R30E, TM

·        Sec line 3, T43S, R30E, TM

·        Latitude:  26.7686760 / 26°46’ 07” N

·        Longitude: -81.3117397 / 81° 18’ 42” W

GULF CITY

Hillsborough Co.

This ancient pirate town was established by Ben Margoza, a mid 1600s English pirate. He set up the town on the south bank of Little Manatee River, between Tampa & Bradenton, across the river from Ruskin. It went into decline in the 19th century and in 1895 had a population of 76 people and a post office. Gulf City was completely abandoned by or shortly after the 1920s. 

 

In the Manatee Harbor area there is a Gulf City Road.  Gnis shows the site just east of the junction of Neptune/Sweeney Drives in Manatee Harbor.  This area has been built over, placing it in the class A category.  The topographic map shows a bridge over a part of the river to Goat Island. The aerial photo shows what appears to be a bridge abutment, but no bridge in the center of that branch of the river, as well as some concrete walls on the south tip of the island.  The aerial photo shows no development or any sign of human habitation on the island, and no sign of any bridges leading anywhere else off the island.  My question is this – why would a bridge be built over to an uninhabited island?  Could the old town have been on the island? (GBS)


The site of Gulf City is now Hillsborough County property. While it was formerly connected by road to Tampa via a bridge over the Little Manatee River, the bridge is gone and the site of Gulf City cannot be reached by road.

 

·        SW¼ Sec 12, NW¼ Sec 13, T32S, R18E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.7058639 / 27° 42’ 21” N

·        Longitude: -82.4617613 / 82° 27’ 42” W

HACIENDA VILLAGE

Broward Co.

“I did not see Hacienda Village in your list of Florida ghost towns. Hacienda Village (founded 1949) is a defunct town located in central Broward County, Florida. It was located near State Road 441 and State Road 84.”   

Contributed by Jeannie B., Jan 02, 2008

 

(GBS - below)

GNIS lists it as a “Former incorporated city of Hacienda Village merged with Davie on Sept. 4, 1984.”  It is shown at the intersection of the Port Everglades Expressway (I-595)/US 441-SH 7, southwest of Fort Lauderdale and north of Pan-American State Park.  The GNIS Topographic map shows the site south of the canal (New River), east of US 441 and north of the expressway.  The aerial photo shows it under the west to north portion of the interchange under what appears to be the westbound truck bypass.  A small apartment or condominium complex is shown to the north, just south of the canal.

 

Hacienda City was established in 1949 and was a tiny town consisting of consisted of a large nightclub called The Hacienda Inn, 14 mobile homes and three junkyards.  It also had a night court, a police department with 18 officers and a fire department.  The tiny municipality was supported solely from traffic fines from heavily enforced traffic laws.  It was disincorporated in 1984, and merged with Davie. 

 

·        NE¼ Sec 24, T50S, R41E, TM

·        NW¼ Sec 19, T50S, R42E, TM

·        Latitude:  26.0853655 / 26° 05’ 07” N

·        Longitude: -80.2011583 / 80° 12’ 04” W

INDIAN KEY

 

 

Monroe Co.

This class B early settlement was located on Indian Key, just 0.6 miles south of US 1, along the upper 1/3 of the Keys, just southwest of Islamorada (which is on Upper Matecumbe Key) and 0.8 miles east of the northeastern tip of Lower Matecumbe Key. The original inhabitants were Native Americans in the 1500s, and they were followed in the 1700s by pirates and others who used the key as a base for various fishing and logging crews.  In the late 1700s through 1823. The first "permanent" white settlement was in 1824 when a store was established on the island to serve the transient population.  It served as a focus point and a small community grew up around it. Captain Jacob Housman arrived in the early 1830s and began to build up the little town and island. A customs inspector was established in 1832 and a post office in 1840. 

 

During the Second Seminote War of the late 1830s, Indian Key was one of two towns on the keys that was not abandoned.  The other was Key West.  However, that war eventually affected Indian Key, when in the early morning hours of August 07, 1840, a party of Native Americans arrived, and thanks to an early warning, only 13 of the 70 or so people in the town were killed, the others escaping.  The Seminoles burned the buildings and by 1850 and the cessation of hostilities, only a few folks remained.  The last inhabitant left in the 1880s.

 

The key has remained uninhabited since.  The GNIS aerial photo shows a number of structures, two docks, and what appear to be foundation outlines and roads on the tiny island that measures about 500’ wide and about 1000’ long. 

 

·        NW¼ Sec 13, T64S, R36E, TM

·        Latitude:  24.8781901 / 24° 52’ 41” N

·        Longitude: -80.6767301 / 80° 40’ 36” W

KICCO

Polk Co.

From Ghost Towns.com comes this following information: 

“Here are the directions to the Kicco town. Enjoy - Take SH 60 (about 20 miles) east of Lake Wales to River Ranch Road, turn left (should be right). Turn South on Kicco Road (south of the River Ranch Resort Airport). The Roads Section above says 2-wheel drive because you either must use a bicycle or hike from the picnic area. You can access Kicco site about 7.5 miles farther down the (Kissimmee) river from the picnic area.”

Contributed by Duane, Jan 27, 2008 [Note:  Items above in () from GBS]

 

From the directions above, it sounds like the site is about 7.5 miles south of the River Ranch Resort Airport along the west side of the Kissimmee River just south of Rattlesnake Hammock and about two miles north of the county line.

 

APPROXIMATE LOCATION:

·        W½ Sec 20, T32S, R32E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.6773905

·        Longitude: -81.1476803

KING’S FERRY

 

 

Nassau Co.

This class A historic ferry is located on the St. Mary's River, north-northwest of Jacksonville, and right on state line.  The GNIS aerial photo shows a few homes still in the community of Kings Ferry at the junction of Kings Ferry Road/Kolars Ferry Road/Middle Road (SH 121A), which is ten miles west of I-95, eight miles east of US 1/23/301, and about a mile south of Georgia SH 40.  Across the river in GA, there are also a few homes in Flea Hill.  GNIS has a separate entry for the historical site of the ferry, which is shown about 400 feet east of where the power lines cross the river.

 

CENTER OF COMMUNITY:

·        NW¼ Sec 37*, T4N, R25E, TM (*Along the river, there are added non-square sections.  This would normally be a NE¼ Sec 7 location)

·        Latitude:  30.7852336 / 30° 47’ 07” N

·        Longitude: -81.8389984 / 81° 50’ 20” W

 

POWER LINE RIVER CROSSING:

·        NE¼ Sec 44*, T4N, R25E, TM

·        Latitude:  30.786357

·        Longitude: -81.840205

 

GNIS LOCATION FOR (Historical) FERRY:

·        NW¼ Sec 37*, T4N, R25E, TM

·        Latitude:  30.7866225 / 30° 47’ 12” N

·        Longitude: -81.8389984 / 81° 50’ 20” W

KORESHAN

Lee Co.

Another well known ghost town, said to be one of the most complete in the state is just south of Ft Myers, Koreshan. There is a great deal of info about the settlement, and founder Cyrus Teed on the web with a quick search. You’ll find some of the most interesting info on sites dedicated to “cults.”  I have spent a number of days at the site, which is a state park now. Many of the original buildings still remain, and preserved quite nicely…. 

Contributed by Pete F.  March 27, 2014.

 

According to GNIS, the site was “Acquired by the State of Florida November 2, 1961.  The park includes the remains of a pioneer settlement established in 1894 by religious visionary Cyrus Reed Teed, who brought his followers from Chicago to the banks of the Estero River to construct a ‘New Jerusalem.’"  It is located about 15 AIR miles south of Ft. Myers, a quarter mile west of US 41/SH 45, just west of Estero and the junction with Corkscrew Road, two miles west of I-75 at EXIT 123.  It is shown as Koreshan State Historic Site on the GNIS maps and is tucked into the northeast corner of a cluster of golf courses.

 

Cyrus Reed Teed established a new religion called Koreshanity (Koreshan Unity), in which the followers believed the universe was in a hollow sphere.  He called himself Koresh (the Hebrew translation of his given name, meaning shepherd), left New York (and his wife and son) and established a utopian religious colony with some 200 fellow believers at what is now Estero, Florida.  It was established in 1894, and had various assets, including a bakery, boat works, cement plant, dining hall (torn down in 1949), hotel, landscaped grounds, print shop (printed the Flaming Sword and the American Eagle), sawmill and store.  After Teed (Koresh) died in 1908 the colony faded, but remained active for many years.  The last four surviving members gave the land to the state in 1961.  The state park offers self-tours or ranger-led tours through the grounds and the 11 remaining buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places.  Some of these remaining buildings include the Founders House cottages, bakery, generator building, machine shops, a store and an art hall.  The print shop burned in 1949.

 

·        NW¼ Sec 33, T46S, R25E, TM

·        Latitude:  26.4331362 / 26° 25’ 59” N

·       Longitude: -81.8153639 / 81° 48’ 55” W

LACOOCHEE

Pasco Co.

“Another town much like (Center Hill) above. Its "main street" is abandoned as well. Even the last big name convenience store pulled out about 10 years ago.”  Contributed by David P., October 06, 2002.

 

Lacoochee is an old cypress logging town that was established in 1888.  The post office opened on May 22 of that year with William I. Acosta as the first postmaster.  The little community supported the Cummer Cypress Co., until the sawmill closed in 1959, and the town began fading.  It is located on CR 575, east of I-75, about eight miles north of Dade City, west of the Green Swamp and just south of the county line.  It appears to still be a viable community as it still has an active post office (33537), several churches, a school, fire station and hospital.  One railroad line has been removed (along CR 575) and the main street is Pine Products Road.  In 1990, the population was 2072, BUT by 2000 had dropped to 1345.  Even though it is really larger than most towns listed in this work, it does bear watching.  The 2010 Census counted 1714 folks.  (GBS)

 

There is a good website that shares the history of this old town at:  http://fivay.org/lacoochee.html

 

·        SE¼ Sec 23, T23S, R21E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.4658322 / 28° 27’ 57” N

·        Longitude: -82.1720291 / 82° 10’ 19” W

LAWTEY

 

 

Bradford Co.

“I am interested in Lawtey, Florida, Bradford County. It was known as Burrin Florida at one time.  Any advice on how I locate pictures etc?”

Contributed by MaryAnn Burrin, Jul 29, 2008

 

Like Lacoochee (above), this is another borderline listing.  It is along US 301/SH 200 and the Seaboard Railroad about 20 miles southwest of Jacksonville.  It had 554 people in 1930, 692 in 1980, 676 in 1990, 656 in 2000 and 730 in 2010. It is an incorporated “city” with a post office (32058) and a correctional facility that houses a maximum of 832 male inmates and a staff of 216.  The jail was built in 1973 and modified in 1977.

 

Lawtey has an interesting history dating back to when it was founded in 1877 by a group of Chicago investors.  A sawmill operated by Captain Thomas Burrin anchored the community.  By 1885 there were 250 people and agriculture supported the town until the Great Depression of the 1930s, however that doesn’t appear to have affected the population. There are numerous abandoned buildings and homes. The town is most famous for being an officially known “speed trap” and numerous sources cite this as the number one income generator for the moribund little town.  (GBS)

 

·        SE¼ Sec 23, T5S, R22E, TM

·        Latitude:  30.0470350 / 30° 02’ 49” N

·        Longitude: -82.0720140 / 82° 04’ 19” W

LOW TOWN

Charlotte/Lee Co.

On Cayo Pelau Island, on north side of the entrance to Charlotte Harbor southwest of Port Charlotte and northwest of Fort Myers.  This early 1800s Spanish pirate town had about 60 buildings and a ship repair facility.  Nothing remains today.  The island is uninhabited, and the GNIS aerial photo shows no remains.  Excluding the northern tip of the island, the vast majority is on the Lee County (south) side of the county line.

 

CAYO PELAU ISLAND

·        Sec 6, T43S, R2E, TM

·        Latitude:  26.7761796 / 26° 46’ 34” N

·        Longitude: -82.2212046 / 82° 13’ 16” W

MAYTOWN

Volusia Co.

Maytown is a former railroad junction town on Maytown Spur Road, 0.4 miles south of Maytown Road, at a point about three miles west of I-95, southwest of Edgewater and northeast of Geneva and Lake Harney.  It was established in the 1880s around the railroad and supported by cypress loging industry.  After the 1930s it died.  In 1945 the railroad stopped running and the tracks were pulled in 1976.  

 

It is located in south central portion of Section 30.  The southwestern branch ran southwest to Geneva via PENNICHAW and OSCEOLA.  The northwestern line pretty much followed Maytown road past FARMTON, KALAMAZOO, through Osteen, north of Lake Monroe, through Enterprise and ending at the Seaboard Coast Railroad line at Benson Junction, on the southwest side of DeBary.  The northeastern branch – the Florida East Coast Railroad, ran up through CREIGHTON and EDGEWATER JUNCTION to Edgewater.  The southeastern branch of the Florida East Coast Railroad ran over the Brevard County line, through AURANTIA, Mims and Titusville.  All lines as noted above have been abandoned and trackage removed.  Towns in ALL CAPS are not ghost towns.  Those marked in BOLD font are currently listed in this work.

 

The GNIS topographic map shows the four lines spreading out, as well as a dozen or so buildings, only half of which are still standing.  According to the GNIS aerial photo, there appear to be four stand-alone houses and a couple outbuildings at one of them.  The other buildings shown on the topo map are gone.  It also indicates a water tower in the junction area, which is now hidden in the trees at the belly in the road as it changes direction.  Nothing is visible in the aerial photo.  Looks like an interesting place to explore.

 

·        S-Ctr Sec 30, T19S, R34E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.8072135 / 28° 48’ 26” N

·        Longitude: -80.9600566 / 80° 57’ 36” W

Mullet Key Quarantine Station

Pinellas Co.

…SEE Fort DeSotoABOVE

NEW SMYRNA &
NEW SMYRNA SUGAR MILL

 

(AKA - Cruger and DePeyster Sugar Mill)

Volusia Co.

Located just west of the junction of Mission Drive/Old Mission Road, about a half mile south of SH 44 and about a  mile southwest of the junction of US 1/SH 44 in New Smyrna Beach.  This class B plantation town dates to 1768, when Andrew Turnbull imported a number of European workers to work his sugar plantation. A small town called New Smyrna was established for them, but by the 1770s, they tired of Turnbull's politics, and moved north to nearby St. Augustine.  The location of Turnbull’s mill and “town” is long gone.  In 1830, some 600 acres of his grant were purchased by Henry Cruger and William Depeyster.  They erected a sugarmill and operated it until 1835 when it was burned by the Indians during the winter of 1835/1836, during the Second Seminole War.  On August 12, 1970 the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The ruins are now the centerpiece for a state historic park.  GNIS shows the location as New Smyrna Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site. It is also known as the Cruger and DePeyster Sugar Mill .

 

NEW SMYRNA (historical)

·        Sec 38*, T17S, R34E*, TM (*oddball sections numbered east of the regular 36 in T17/R33)

·        Latitude:  29.0502629 / 29° 03’ 01” N

·        Longitude: -80.9331095 / 80° 55’ 59” W

 

SUGAR MILL

·        SW¼ Sec 19, T17S, R34E*, TM

·        Latitude:  29.00091528 / 29° 00’ 33” N

·        Longitude: -80.9406099 / 80° 56’ 26” W

ORANGE HILL

Washington Co.

“I am currently working on Orange Hill in Washington County FL.  This was a small town east of Wausau FL and the site of an Indian massacre and as far as I can tell It pretty much now is just rural homes on a county road. There are signs that it was there at one time.   Like the old pure gas station sign still standing.  

Contributed by Ron Schulte, Feb 02, 2008

 

GNIS shows a site called Orange Hill Corners, located at the junction of CR 273 (Orange Hill Road)/CR 156 (Sunday Rd.), 7.5 AIR miles northeast of Wausau, 3.5 miles south of I-10 and north of Panama City.  A rural church (Sand Hill Church) and a small cluster of rural homes are shown east of the junction.  On CR 156, about 1.5 miles west at the junction with Bush Road is the Orange Hill Church and cemetery, as well as a number of scattered homes.  (GBS)

 

ORANGE HILL CORNERS:

·        Sec 1 / 2 line, T3N, R13W, TM

·        Latitude:  30.6949160 / 30° 41’ 42” N

·        Longitude: -85.5004842 / 85° 30’ 02” W

 

ORANGE HILL CHURCH:

·        E-Ctr Sec 3, T3N, R13W, TM

·        Latitude:  30.6888046 / 30° 41’ 20” N

·        Longitude: -85.5218732 / 85° 31’ 19” W

OSCEOLA

 

 

Seminole Co.

"Look into the town of Osceola next to Geneva, FL.  An old sawmill town that no longer exists.”

Contributed by Rita, May 24, 2008

 

Osceola is located about ten miles due east of the Orlando-Sanford International Airport, along the west side of the river or slough at the north end of Lake Harney about six miles northeast of Geneva.  It sits at the end of the Osceola Fish Camp Road, opposite the mouth of Deep Creek (Volusia Co.) in the northeastern end of the county.  The GNIS topographic map shows a couple other interesting sites in the area.  “Ruins” are noted just west of the river, about ¾ mile northwest of Osceola.  The no-longer active OSCEOLA NAVAL OUTER LANDING FIELD (SEE entry below) lies a half mile north of the road, about 1.5 miles west-southwest of Osceola (SEE below).  There is also an “Old Railroad Grade” following the road from Geneva, to Osceola.  The railroad then continued across the river into Volusia County and through PENNICHAW (SEE below), a tad over three miles east of Osceola.  It then continued to Maytown, a railroad town with a Rand McNally listed 1990 population of 0 (SEE above).

 

The GNIS aerial photo shows what appears to be a couple houses and some slabs.  The railroad grade is covered by the road, but it is visible on the Volusia County side of the river.  There are also a number of scattered homes throughout the area, especially south of the airfield.  The “Ruins” are located ON PRIVATE PROPERTY in a cluster of obviously occupied homes.  There is NO PUBLIC ACCESS. 

 

OSCEOLA:

·        Ctr Sec 31, T19S, R33E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.7930477 / 28° 47’ 35” N

·        Longitude: -81.0592261 / 81° 03’ 33” W

 

“RUINS”:

·        NW¼ Sec 31, T19S, R33E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.801360

·        Longitude: -81.067150

OSCEOLA NAVAL OUTER LANDING FIELD

Seminole Co.

The airfield is abandoned as a landing field, but it appears to be used for truck parking and several businesses appear located there.  Roofless ruins are also visible.  The field had two main runways, each about 3000 feet long.  One runs slightly offset East-West, and the other runs southwest-northeast.  The businesses and trucks are located on the E-W runway.  The other runway has lost most of its paving, and appears unused, as do the taxiways and the apron area along the southeast side of the facility.

 

SEE OSCEOLA above for additional details of the area.

 

·        SE¼ Sec 35, SW¼ Sec 36, T19S, R32E, TM

·        NE¼ Sec 2, NW¼ Sec 1, T20S, R32E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.7886111 / 28° 47’ 19” N

·        Longitude: -81.0825000 / 81° 04’ 57” W

PENNICHAW

Volusia Co.

Located at the junction of Lake Harney Road/Underhill Branch Road, which is where the Lake Harney Road crosses the long abandoned railroad line that ran from MAYTOWN (SEE above) to Geneva, over the top of Lake Harney.  It is located in the southern tip of the county.  A couple of scattered homes are visible in the area on the GNIS aerial photo.

 

For additional area details, SEE OSCEOLA (Seminole Co.), above.

 

·        NE¼ Sec 34, T19S, R33E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.7988806 / 28° 47’ 56” N

·        Longitude: -81.0056136 / 81° 00’ 20” W

PIERCE

 

Polk Co.

This Polk County Ghost was a contribution from a reader and was our featured Ghost Town of the Month for January 2008.

See our PIERCE page for more details

PINE LEVEL

 

DeSoto Co.

Pine Level was the county seat of Manatee County until 1866 when Desoto County was created and was the county seat of that county until 1889. A graveyard, remnants of the Baptist church, Methodist church, one original house and part of the schoolhouse still remain.

Contributed by William Jones, February 24, 2007

 

Today, it is rural community at the junction of SH 70/NW Florida Avenue (south)/Bethel Farms Road (north), in the northwestern corner of the county, about 35 AIR miles east of Sarasota and eight miles northwest of Arcadia.  The Pine Level Campground Cemetery lies about a half mile west and ¼ mile south of the highway. A church also remains.  A second unnamed (in GNIS) cemetery lies about ¼ mile southeast on SH 70, then about a mile south, at the south end of NW Mizell Avenue (124th Avenue). (GBS)

 

·        Corner Secs 10, 11, 14, 15, T37S, R23E, TM

·        Latitude:  27.2653255 / 27° 15’ 55” N

·        Longitude: -81.9917524 / 81° 59’ 30” W

PUNTA RASSA

Lee Co.

This class B early 1800s cattle shipping town is located at the western tip of the peninsula along the mouth of the south side of Caloosahatchee River, ten miles southwest of Ft. Meyers, on the west coast of the state. It was a lively town lined with wooden buildings. It had a hotel and probably many "grog shops" to fuel the tempers of the merchants and cattle sellers. The site has probably been bulldozed to accommodate the large apartment/condo complex on the tip of the point north of the McGregor Blvd (CR 867) bridge across to Sanibel Island.

 

According to a March 27, 2014 E-mail received from Pete F., “There are actually a few remnants left of the original town.”  Thanks Pete!  Would love to see photos of the ruins!

 

·        W-Ctr Sec 9, T46S, R23E, TM

·        Latitude:  26.4878569 / 26° 29’ 16” N

·        Longitude: -82.0123132 / 82° 00’ 44” W

RERDELL

Hernando Co.

“I recently received a request from a fellow genealogist to explore the area of Rerdell, Hernando County, Florida, in an attempt to locate her grandmother's grave site. The area maps still contain references to this town but the actual site has been overgrown with trees and vines and is currently used as a dumping site.” 

Contributed by Tom B. (I  didn’t note the date of the E-mail)

 

It appears to be a community with gridded streets and scattered homes west of Treiman Blvd (US 301/SH 35), about five miles east of Croom and five miles north of Ridge Manor.  The arrow on the GNIS maps and aerial photos is along the highway, just north of the cluster of houses.  Does anyone have any historical information or exact coordinates for this place that we could share?  (GBS)

 

·        SE¼ Sec 13, T22S, R21E, TM

·        Latitude:  28.5674952 / 28° 34’ 03” N

·        Longitude: -82.1561964 / 82° 09’ 22” W

ROSEWOOD

Levy Co.

In the community of Rosewood, controversy and silence over the following episode go hand in hand.  The following information came from Brian Morgan in August 2007.  It concerns the story of Rosewood, where racial tensions in the 1920s contributed to mob violence and reparations to the wronged former citizens of this now nearly forgotten town. Please note: I have edited Brian’s contribution for brevity.  (GBS)

 

I can see in your page for the State of Florida you don't mention the town of Rosewood, Florida and the real reasons why and how it became a ghost town. I think you owe it to those who want to know the truth about what are the various effects that cause most of these towns across the United States to become ghost towns…. In the case of Rosewood it was bigotry, stupidity and lies of a white woman (from Sumner) who wrongfully accused an innocent African-American man of rape.  This already inflamed heightened racial tensions between two towns: one with a majority White the other a majority African-American.  (SEE my notes below for additional details - GBS)

 

“Rosewood once stood as a quite peaceful community with a church and Masonic hall and a blacksmith shop. Now (it’s) only a memory. I also believe that the truth should be known and exposed about the demise of Rosewood in 1923. I also believe we owe an overdue apology to the survivors of Rosewood and their descendents for the disgusting events that led to such carnage. 

 

The State of Florida paid Reparations to the former residents and their descendents.”

Above information contributed by Brian A. Morgan, August 22, 24 & 27, 2007

 

 

Rosewood was established in 1845, and was located along the Florida Railroad south of and parallel to present-day SH 24, about nine miles northeast of CEDAR KEY and 40+ miles southwest of Gainesville.  It is about 200 yards southwest of SW 95th Avenue and runs a half mile southwest to a point south of the junction of SH 24/CR 345.  Its citizens worked in the pencil mills at CEDAR KEY, or in nearby turpentine mills and sawmills in the Sumner area. By 1870 it had a post office and a station along the Florida Railroad (later the Seaboard Air Line Railway).  The rail line is long gone and not even shown on the GNIS topographic map.  In 1915, the population reached 355, and was predominately African-American.  By 1920 there were three churches, two general stores, a Masonic Hall, school, turpentine mill, two dozen larger homes and a batch of smaller ones.  The community was pretty much self-sufficient.  Then 1923 happened …

 

In the 1920s South, racial tension between whites and blacks was high, and small incidents could quickly get blown out of proportion.  Rosewood’s demise began when a white Sumner woman claimed she was assaulted by a black man in her house in the early morning hours of January 1, 1923.  It was rumored that she was also raped, which was all that was needed to incite mob activity.  By January 7, the incident had escalated to the point where the community was ransacked and burned, and seven people (some folks claim as many as 27) died, while many others were injured.  The violence begat headlines, which were quickly buried and within a month the incident no longer was in the public eye.  The victims no longer spoke of it, and the survivors scattered to other areas.  After the ashes had cooled, Rosewood was a mere memory and footnote in history – a skeleton in Florida’s closet. 

 

Sixty years later, in 1982, a journalist heard rumors of the massacre, and began digging.  A decade later the story was out, lawsuits were filed, and reparations to the victims were made.  In 2004, a historic marker was placed along SH 24, and dark secret past of Rosewood is no more. Even though time has covered over the wounds left by this and similar incidents across the country, the truth of what happened cannot and should not be forgotten.

 

There are a few scattered homes in the area now.  (GBS)

 

NOTE: For those interested in reading additional information, please see the following websites:

     The Real Rosewood Foundation

     Wikipedia’s entry for the Rosewood_massacre 

     Remembering Rosewood

 

·        NW¼ Sec 29, T14S, R14E, TM

·        Latitude:  29.2391314 / 29° 14’ 21” N

·       Longitude: -82.9320641 / 82° 55’ 55” W

SAM JONES OLD TOWN

Hendry Co.

The former site of this old trading post is often shown on older maps above the Big Cypress Indian Reservation.   That would PROBABLY place it in the southern part of T47S, R33E, TM  Actual location not determined.

ST. JOSEPH

Gulf Co.

This class A seaport was about 15 miles west of Apalachiola, on St. Joseph Bay, just two miles south of Port St. Joe, and southeast of Panama City.  In 1837 St. Joseph was the largest town in Florida, and had a population estimated around 6000. It was a bustling seaport and in 1838 was the site of the state's first Constitutional Convention.  The town died in 1841 when a ship carrying victims of Yellow Fever docked. The disease spread rapidly, killing upwards of 75% of the town's population. Survivors fled the town leaving it to the whims of nature, which rapidly took care of it by burying it with sand kicked up by high surf generated from a hurricane. The site is marked by a historical marker.

 

·        SW¼ Sec 12, T8S, R11W, TM APPROX - (Constitutional Convention Museum State Park)

·        Latitude:  29.7933007 APPROX - (Constitutional Convention Museum State Park)

·        Longitude: -85.2985704 APPROX – (Constitutional Convention Museum State Park)

WILD’S FERRY

Nassau Co.

At the north end of Owens Road, a couple hundred yards west of where Ocean Highway (US 17) crosses the St. Mary's River at the Florida/Georgia state line, about 30 miles north of Jacksonville.  This is an 1800s era ferry crossing located about where the boat dock is just west of the power lines crossing the river.  It appears to be on PRIVATE PROPERTY, so there probably is NO PUBLIC ACCESS. 

 

·        NE¼ Sec 41*, T4N, R26E, TM (*Along the river, there are added non-square sections.  This would normally be a NE¼ Sec 27 location)

·        Latitude:  30.7421792 / 30° 44’ 32” N

·        Longitude: -81.6903812 / 81° 41’ 25” W

  

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

There are over 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is trying to capture as many of these historical locations as possible and is currently in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of *** ™.  These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.

 

For more information on the ghost towns of FLORIDA, contact us at Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:  Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to any e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line.   

 

 

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

IMPORTANT NOTE

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in FLORIDA as shown above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.   ALWAYS respect the rights of the landowners. 

 

When you are exploring the ghost towns of FLORIDA, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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FIRST POSTED:  January 12, 2001

LAST UPDATED: April 08, 2014

 

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