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Saint Marks in Wakulla County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad

1831

 
 
Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2014
1. Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Marker
Inscription.  
(side 1)
This recreational trail follows the alignment of the historic Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad, the first Florida railroad chartered by the territorial government in 1831.
See back for more information
(side 2)
In 1831, the Leon Railway Company was the first railroad chartered by the Florida territorial government. In 1835, the Tallahassee Railroad Company received the first Congressional Land Grant ever given to a railroad. The grant included the privilege of using timber from public lands on either side for 100 feet plus ten acres for a terminal where the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers join. The original right of way was a minimum of 60 feet wide and 23 miles long. Both slaves and free laborers cleared land and constructed the track composed of two, side-by-side longitudinal timbers, 8 feet in length and 5 feet apart, with 2-1/4 inch wide by 1/2 inch thick iron straps nailed across the top.

By 1837, the railroad was open for business. Mules pulled a tram-like car from Tallahassee to St. Marks over these primitive rails. Tickets were $1.50 for adults, half fare
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for children and 75 cents for a bale of cotton. Two years later a new bridge over the St. Marks River carried the trains to Port Leon. In 1843, a hurricane destroyed the town and the bridge, leaving the terminus in St. Marks.

Passengers wrote about the delays, the bumpy rides and the terrors of going through the wilderness, but the train was essential to business in the area. As much as 50,000 bales of cotton were shipped per year. Salt, firebrick, and other commodities from ports on the east coast were imported. After the Civil War, naval stores, timber and turpentine were exported. By 1856, solid T-iron track replaced the primitive rails and new steam locomotives were added. The railroad operated for 147 years, the longest operating railroad in Florida's history.

New life came to the old railroad bed in 1988 when the southernmost 16 miles became the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, the first State rail-trail in Florida. The corridor is now busier than ever with a paved surface for bikers, skaters, and walkers and a side trail for equestrians.

This Historic Marker Funded by
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Greenways and Trails

 
Erected by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Greenways and Trails.
 
Topics.
Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Marker (<i>side 2</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2014
2. Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Marker (side 2)
This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansIndustry & CommerceParks & Recreational AreasRailroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1831.
 
Location. 30° 9.647′ N, 84° 12.418′ W. Marker is in Saint Marks, Florida, in Wakulla County. Marker is at the intersection of Shell Island Road and Ladd Drive, on the left when traveling east on Shell Island Road. Marker is located beside the St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, at the southeast corner of the intersection. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Marks FL 32355, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The City of St. Marks (approx. ¼ mile away); St. Marks Bike Trail Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Bo Lynn's Grocery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Port Leon (approx. half a mile away); Telltale Bones (approx. half a mile away); San Marcos de Apalache (approx. 0.6 miles away); Fort St. Marks Military Cemetery (approx. 0.6 miles away); Fort San Marcos de Apalache (approx. 0.6 miles away).
 
More about this marker. This is a tall, white composite
Marker detail: 1870's engraving of St. Marks depot image. Click for full size.
Florida Photographic Collection
3. Marker detail: 1870's engraving of St. Marks depot
"kiosk-style" marker.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad
 
Also see . . .  Tallahassee Railroad. The railroad was conceived and financed by leading cotton planters who needed a way to get their crop to textile mills in England and New England. It was also used by naval stores merchants and timber interests of the area to transport their goods to East Coast ports. The Tallahassee Railroad Company was approved in 1835 by the Florida Territorial Legislative Council. Also that year, the Tallahassee Railroad Company received the first federal land grant to a railroad. In 1835 construction began on the Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad. In 1983, the Seaboard Railroad filed to abandon the line between Capital Circle in Tallahassee and St. Marks. (Submitted on October 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Marker (<i>side 1; wide view; looking south along rail trail</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2014
4. Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Marker (side 1; wide view; looking south along rail trail)
Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Marker (<i>side 2; wide view; looking north along Ladd Drive</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2014
5. Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Marker (side 2; wide view; looking north along Ladd Drive)
Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Historic Trail Sign (<i>on trail; south of marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2014
6. Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad Historic Trail Sign (on trail; south of marker)
This 16 mile recreation trail had been developed as part of Florida’s rails to trails program. Acquired in cooperation with the Florida Department of Transportation. The trail terminates in Tallahassee and is restricted for use by pedestrians, bicycles and horses.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2018. It was originally submitted on October 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 498 times since then and 101 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 23, 2024