Ghosts of the rural railroad

Sun_Jolly House

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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One response to “Ghosts of the rural railroad”

  1. Heidi Coleman Glasgow says :

    I love your pictures and stories my fathers people were from Alabama and Florida


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