Town of Centralia
This site was once the location of one of Florida's largest lumber mills. As demand for insect and rot resistant cypress increased, the J.C. Turner Lumber Company began the logging of over 15,000 acres of Red Tidewater Cypress, cedar and pine in coastal Hernando County. The Turner Company financed the construction of the mill in 1910. It was known locally as the Tidewater Cypress Mill. Eighteen miles of narrow-gauge tram lines were laid through the swamp to connect the mill and logging areas to the Tampa Northern Railroad. Laborers used steam-powered skidders to transport cut logs onto railroad cars. The logs were then dumped in a pond near the sawmills. The large double-banded saws, powered by electricity generated from four steam boilers, could cut 100,000 board feet each day. The finished wood was stacked in a 160-acre drying yard for up to four years. The dried wood was sent to the planing mill to become roof shingles, lath, and construction lumber. The finished lumber was sold locally, or transported sixteen miles by rail to Brooksville, where it continued to the port of Tampa and was loaded onto ships headed to the
(Continued from other side)
Located a few miles north of Weeki Wachee, the "boom town' of Centralia sprang up to support the 1,200 mill workers and their families The wealth of timber seemed inexhaustible, luring men and industry from all corners of the earth. A post office opened in 1910 followed by other businesses, including a general store, drugstore, Mrs. Varn's Centralia Hotel, the Hungry None Restaurant, and a Greek bakery. The general store, run by George Gamble, boasted more stock than any store in larger towns like Jacksonville or Tampa. Centralia offered other amenities such as a resident doctor and dentist, schoolhouse, and community church offering Catholic and Protestant services. There were no saloons, however, as the mill's general manager, Edgar A. Roberts, forbade drinking, Soda pop was the drink of choice. The trees were exhausted by 1917, and the mill shut down soon after. The town struggled along for a few more years, but was mostly abandoned by the 1920s. Only the foundations of this once mighty mill remain. The Turner company reseeded the land with slash pines in the 1960s. Purchased in 1985 by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the land became part of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & Forestry • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1910.
Location. 28° 36.688′ N, 82° 33.124′ W. Marker is in Weeki Wachee, Florida, in Hernando County. Marker is on Commercial Way (U.S. 19) 0.1 miles north of Centralia Road (County Road 476), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spring Hill FL 34607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Saint Stanislaus Chapel (approx. 6.4 miles away); Bayport in the Civil War/The Battle of Bayport (approx. 8 miles away); Bayport's Early Historic Period/Post Civil War Era (approx. 8 miles away); The Bayport Area Before Human Occupation/Bayport's First People (approx. 8 miles away); Bayport (approx. 8 miles away); Hernando County War Memorial (approx. 10.7 miles away); Hernando County (approx. 10.7 miles away); Hernando County Confederate Monument (approx. 10.7 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2017. It was originally submitted on November 22, 2017, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 556 times since then and 174 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 22, 2017, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.