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Cedar Key in Levy County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes

 
 
The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes Marker (side 1) image. Click for full size.
By Jay Kravetz, September 10, 2020
1. The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes Marker (side 1)
Inscription.  (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.
(Continued on other side)
(Side 2)
(Continued from other side)
The Eagle Pencil
The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes Marker (side 2) image. Click for full size.
By Jay Kravetz, September 10, 2020
2. The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes Marker (side 2)
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.
 
Erected 2006 by the Florida Society of American Foresters and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-584.)
 
Topics.
The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jay Kravetz, September 10, 2020
3. The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes Marker
This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & ForestryIndustry & Commerce.
 
Location. 29° 8.14′ N, 83° 2.184′ W. Marker is in Cedar Key, Florida, in Levy County. Marker is at the intersection of G Street and Third Street, on the right when traveling north on G Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cedar Key FL 32625, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Atlantic to Gulf Railroad (approx. 0.4 miles away); John Muir at Cedar Key (approx. 1.3 miles away); Rosewood, Florida (approx. 9½ miles away).
 
The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jay Kravetz, September 10, 2020
4. The Cedar Keys: Pencils, Lumber, Palm Fiber and Brushes Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 10, 2020, by Jay Kravetz of West Palm Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 44 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 10, 2020, by Jay Kravetz of West Palm Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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Jan. 27, 2021