Florida Historical Markers Levy in Levy County, Florida
ATLANTIC TO GULF RAILROAD
Location: S.R. 24 in Cedar Key at a wayside park.
City: Cedar Key
Description: Florida was provided with its first cross-state railroad in 1861 when the Florida Railroad Company line reached Cedar Key. Overcoming early financial troubles, the line had begun construction from Fernandina, on the Atlantic, in 1856, but building was intermittent. It had been incorporated in 1853 with David L. Yulee as president. The railroad received land grants from Federal and State governments.
JOHN MUIR AT CEDAR KEY Location: 12231 S.W. 166th Court, State Museum at Cedar Key
City: Cedar Key
Description: John Muir, noted naturalist and conservation leader, spent several months in Florida in 1867. He arrived at Cedar Key in October, seven weeks after setting out from Indiana on a “thousand-mile walk to the Gulf.” Muir’s journal account of his adventure, which was published in 1916, two years after his death, includes interesting glimpses of the quality of life in the post-Civil War south. “The traces of war,” he wrote, “are not only apparent on the broken fields, mills, and woods ruthlessly slaughtered, but also on the countenances of the people.” Florida deeply impressed the twenty-nine year old Muir. He remembered the “watery and vine-tied” land where “the streams are still young,” which he had seen and sampled on his way from Fernandina. It was while recovering from a bout with malaria in Cedar Key that Muir first expressed his belief that nature was valuable for its own sake, not only because it was useful for man. This principle guided John Muir throughout his life. In early 1868, he left Cedar Key and eventually settled in California, where he helped establish the Yosemite National Park and, in 1892, the Sierra Club, which became one of our nation’s best known environmental organizations.
Sponsors: sponsored by florida chapter of the sierra clubin cooperation with department of state
ROSEWOOD, FLORIDA Location: State Road 24, Rosewood
Description: Side 1: Racial violence erupted in the small and quiet Rosewood community January 1-7, 1923. Rosewood, a predominantly colored community, was home to the Bradley, Carrier, Carter, Goins, and Hall families, among others. Residents supported a school taught by Mahulda “Gussie” Brown Carrier, three churches, and a Masonic lodge. Many of them owned their homes, some were business owners, and others worked in nearby Sumner and at the Cummer Lumber Mill. This quiet life came to an end on January 1, 1923, when a white Sumner woman accused a black man of assaulting her. In the search for her alleged attacker, whites terrorized and killed Rosewood residents. In the days of fear and violence that followed, many Rosewood citizens sought refuge in the nearby woods. White merchant John M. Wright and other courageous whites sheltered some of the fleeing men, women and children. Whites burned Rosewood and looted livestock and property; two were killed while attacking a home. Five blacks also lost their lives: Sam Carter, who was tortured for information and shot to death on January 1; Sarah Carrier; Lexie Gordon; James Carrier; and Mingo Williams. Those who survived were forever scarred. Side 2: Haunted by what had happened, Rosewood residents took a vow of silence, lived in fear and never returned to claim their property. That silence was broken seventy-one years later. In 1994 survivors, including Minnie Lee Langley, Arnett Turner Goins, and Wilson Hall, filed a claims bill in the Florida Legislature. A Special Master, an expert appointed by the Speaker of the House, ruled that the state had a “moral obligation” to compensate survivors for the loss of property, violation of constitutional rights, and mental anguish. On May 4, 1994, Governor Lawton Chiles signed a $2.1 million compensation bill. Nine survivors received $150,000 each for mental anguish, and a state university scholarship fund was established for the families of Rosewood and their descendants. A fund was also established to compensate those Rosewood families who could demonstrate property loss. This Historic Marker was dedicated by Governor Jeb Bush in May, 2004.
Sponsors: THE REAL ROSEWOOD FOUNDATION, INC. AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE CEDAR KEYS: PENCILS, LUMBER, PALM FIBER AND BRUSHES Location:847 3rd. St., corner 3rd & G Streets.
City: Cedar Key
Description: Side 1: Harvesting redcedars (a form of juniper) for pencil manufacturing, along with pines and baldcypress for lumber, was of great importance to the Cedar Keys and the early development of North Florida in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1849, German entrepreneur J. Eberhard Faber (1830-1884) arrived in New York hunting splinter-free wood for pencils. He found abundant redcedar in Florida’s Gulf Hammock/Waccasassa Bay area between the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers. He bought land and timber, floated logs to the Keys, and shipped logs to the family factory in Germany. In 1858, Faber built a slat mill on Atsena Otie (Depot Key), directly south of this location, and shipped slats instead of logs. In 1862, he built the Faber pencil factory on New York’s East River (near the current site of the United Nations) and supplied it with slats from his Cedar Keys mill, a practice facilitated by the 1861 completion of David Levy Yulee’s (1810-1886) Florida Railroad connecting the Keys and Fernandina Beach. Side 2: The Eagle Pencil Company followed Faber’s lead, building its New York factory in 1868 and supplying it with redcedar slats from its own mill built on this site in 1876. This industry flourished on the Cedar Keys until the local resources were depleted and the slat mills were destroyed by a hurricane in 1896. Augmenting Cedar Key’s redcedar-for- pencils industry of the era were other forest-based products. Yellow pine and baldcypress lumber was milled on the Keys by Suwannee Lumber and Fenimore Steam and Planing mills on Atsena Otie and Way Key, respectively . Cabbage (sabal) palms were harvested and used for dock pilings locally and as far away as Key West. Later (1910-1952), the Standard Manufacturing Company developed a process, established a mill, and produced brush fibers and Donax® whisk brushes from young cabbage palms. Palm fibers were shipped nationwide and as far as Canada, Germany, and Australia. The rich and diverse forest resources of the Cedar Keys and surrounding area, and the entrepreneurial energy of many were central to the settlement and development of the “Cedar Keys.” They provided homes and livelihood for thousands, products needed and enjoyed around the world, and a proud legacy for Florida.
Sponsors: FLORIDA SOCIETY OF AMERICAN FORRESTERS AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE