Archive | May 2013

The Moore Hotel

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As early as 1840, a small community had begun to form around a grist mill. Settlers came from the North, railroad tracks were laid and by 1881, a new town was incorporated.

original moore_1[Guests gather outside the hotel c. early 1900’s- Photo Courtesy and Property of the State Archive of Florida]

The following year, W.S. Moore purchased this building and opened a hotel which catered to wealthy Northern hunters and fishermen who were attracted to the plentiful game found in the area. Moore provided dogs, wagons, supplies and guided groups through hunts himself. His wife Virginia ‘Jenny’ ran the day to day operations of the hotel and prepared food for guests.¬†Moore’s Hotel offered the first bathtubs with running water pumped by a windmill, then heated.

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[Jenny and W.S. Moore c. 1890- Photo Courtesy and Property of the State Archive of Florida]

An ad for the hotel calls it ‘The Sportsman’s Home’ and rooms were just $2/day.
The property is still owned by the Moore family.

[Alachua County, FL]

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Abandoned in an Orchard

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On January 3 1850, John and Ophelia married in Edgefield, SC; he was 29 and she was 19. Before the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, they would have had 5 children.John left to fight in the war and although he made it home to his family, his brother in law Nathan lost his life at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. John and Ophelia would have one more child in Edgefield in 1866 just after the end of the war.By the 1870’s, this family has found itself in Putnam County Florida. In 1879, their daughter Laura has married Franklin, who built the home you see below in the same year. Franklin’s father also fought in the Civil War but died in battle at Mufreesboro, TN.

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The home, which sits on an expansive Pecan grove, still belongs to relatives of these Edgefield, SC descendants.

[Putnam County, FL c. 1879]

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Ghosts of the rural railroad

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Sitting along a quiet dirt path in a Florida ghost town rests this old homestead. James and Esther built this home and four girls were born and raised here. They attended the school just across the dirt road which still stands today.

jollygirls[Pictured left and center are Zola and Cora, two of the daughters born in this home and their good friend, Edna c. 1899]

Photo Courtesy and Property of the State Archive of Florida

In 1884, James was listed as the roadmaster for the Florida Southern Railway which tracks once sat just a few yards from this home. By 1888, this town had become a major hub of this railroad line with 24 trains passing through a day, transporting mainly citrus and other agricultural goods.

But 1894 and 1895 would serve up devastating freezes that decimated citrus crops and sent the areas farmers further south. The trains through town became less frequent, the depot closed, then the tracks were torn up.

In 1935, the last class was held at the school across the road and in 1945, the town lost its Post Office.

[Alachua County, FL c. 1880’s]

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