Friday, December 18, 2015

Railroad Depots – North Through Florida and Georgia

Back in September as we headed north toward our home in East Tennessee, I made an effort to find and photograph a few old railroad depots along the way…

We left Cedar Key Florida and headed on up US Hwy 19/US Hwy 98 and Alternate US Hwy 27.  It’s a little confusing but all of those roads run together for quite a while in the northwestern portion of the Florida peninsula.   One of my goals was to stay off the Interstate Highway System for a more interesting drive…

Our first stop was in Perry Florida at the Live Oak, Perry and Gulf train depot which was built about 1918.   Over the years, the depot had deteriorated but ‘Main Street Perry, Inc.’ purchased the structure in 2001 and with a grant restored the roof.  As it had been a goal of the City to create a "gateway" into the center of town with hopes of attracting people to the historic downtown, Perry purchased the building and began restoration.  The inside was divided into 4 retail spaces to serve as "incubator" business rentals.  The rehabilitated train depot was dedicated as "Perry Historic Station" in 2009. 

Perry is the County Seat of Taylor County Florida and it has a population of a little over 7,000 residents. 
Note: The Perry Race Riot occurred in Perry in December of 1922, during which whites burned escaped convict Charles Wright at the stake and attacked the black community of Perry after the murder of a white schoolteacher.  The day after Wright's death 2 other black men were shot and hanged.  Whites then burned the town's black school, Masonic lodge, church, amusement hall, as well as several families' homes.

What the heck!  Since we passed this imposing County Courthouse while looking for a railroad depot in Monticello Florida, I thought that I’d take a photo.  Why pass up the opportunity?  This had to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places…and it is!

Monticello is the County Seat for Jefferson County Florida.  The Courthouse is an historic Classical Revival style structure that was constructed in in 1909.  This courthouse is one of the contributing or anchor buildings in Monticello’s U.S. Historic District.  The district contains a total of 41 historic buildings.

After some searching we located what appears to be an old freight depot.  I suspect that at one time it belonged to the Atlantic Coast Line/Southern Air Line Railway.  The good news is that it’s been well maintained and is apparently in use.   It sits along a paved walkway in a park like setting that appears to be a former railroad track right of way…

Our next stop (in my depot search) was in Pelham Georgia.  This is the former Atlantic Coast Line Depot on Depot Street.   It was built in 1914.  From what I could glean from the Internet, it used to serve as Pelham’s City Hall but it’s now the home of the town’s Welcome Center, Museum and the Chamber of Commerce.   The other end of this depot consists of an open air freight platform. 

Since I hadn’t originally planned to take this route, all I knew was that there was supposed to be an old railroad depot somewhere in town.  As it turns out, I missed another depot, a two-story structure built by the Flint River and Northeast Railroad was just a couple of blocks away... Bummer!

Pelham still has rail freight service through the Florida and Georgia Railroad.  It’s a short line railroad with 297 miles of track that is owned by OmniTRAX, a company that owns 18 regional and short line railroads in 12 states and 3 Canadian provinces.  Among its holdings is the Hudson Bay Railroad that serves the port of Churchill on Hudson Bay in Canada.

This is a rail side view of the 1911 Atlantic Coast Line combination passenger and freight railroad depot in Camilla Georgia.  From what I’ve noted, it appears that this depot was built by the Gulf and Florida Railway.  As with Pelham, freight service continues for Camilla via OmniTRAX/Georgia and Florida Railroad.

Note: The ‘Camilla Massacre’ took place in this town in 1868 following the Civil War.  This early civil rights march took place before the term had been invented and it resulted in a number of deaths among the marchers… To learn more, go to

Both sides of this handsome brick depot are quite attractive and it’s very well maintained.  The Camilla Depot is the home of the local Chamber of Commerce and the town’s Welcome Center.
Camilla, a city of about 5,000, is the County Seat for Mitchell County.  In 2000 and 2003, disastrous tornados tore through this town… The first storm killed 11 people in town and the second storm injured about 200 people throughout the County.

Note: The city was incorporated in 1858.  The name Camilla was chosen in honor of the granddaughter of Henry Mitchell for whom the county was named.  He served in the American Revolutionary War and later as the General of the Georgia Militia.  He was also an important politician in the state.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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