Polk Co., FLORIDA
Original by G. W. Miner, June 15, 2003.
Additional information contributed by Richard Fifer, March 11, 2006
(Thank you both for adding to our knowledge base of this
In around the early 50's - or maybe a little before - the sewers went bad and the phosphate mine owners decided it was better to abandon the town rather that fix the problem as they owned & operated other mining towns nearby. So Pierce closed down and most of the houses were either razed or moved away to these other towns owned by the mine. The company was American Agricultural Chemical Co. - which is now IMC Agrico Co. - the makers of brand name "Agrico" fertilizer.
I went there around 1960 and found our home site in the woods - trees were growing up between the brick piers that once supported or house. The fishpond that my daddy built from native lime rock was still there. All the paved streets were still there. You could walk and drive around. Just no houses. This was surely a ghost town!
My mother was born there in 1922 and went to Pierce last year (2002) with her cousin and came back home crying. Most of the town's site (at least where our place was) is now 40 feet under water where yet another phosphate pit now sits. She wishes she had just left it alone as this was very painful.
All that really remains there is bittersweet memories for my mom & me.
On March 11, 2006, I got this response to the posting of Pierce…(GBS)
Hello. Last night, I came
across your website, Ghost Town
Since retiring three
years ago, I have been researching the history of the phosphate industry in
Pierce was founded by Harry L. Pierce in early 1906, when he started the Pierce Phosphate Company. However, later in the same year, Harry sold his company to the American Agricultural Chemical Company (AAC), which began building the town in earnest. The town grew over the years, as AAC expanded their phosphate drying plant there and added a fertilizer plant and phosphorus plant. However, with employees now able to commute to work, AAC tore down the town in May 1954. Vestiges of the town existed until ca. 1994, when IMC-Agrico decided to mine the townsite. Nothing remains at Pierce except the company office of the Mosaic Company, which is the direct descendent of AAC and the Pierce Phosphate Company.
I have much more information on Pierce and other mining towns. I also have many photos of these towns, but I'm always looking to add more. I would like to see if G. W. Miner may have any Pierce photos or artifacts. Perhaps you could forward my e-mail to Mr. Miner, and he could then choose to respond or not. Thanks for you help.
· Latitude: 27.8350279 / 27° 50’ 06” N
· Longitude: -81.9714734 / 81° 58’ 17” W
· NW¼ Sec 36, T30S, R23E, TM
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FIRST POSTED: December 12, 2005
LAST UPDATED: December 24, 2011
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