Bagdad in Santa Rosa County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Shipbuilding in Bagdad
Although evidence exists as early as 1763 of the Jones Brothers' yard careening and repairing British men-of-war, Bagdad’s first major shipyard was built in 1833 by Captain John Gardner and changed ownership several times. In 1853, the shipyard was purchased by John Forsyth for $750. He operated it for two years, when it reverted to the newly organized E.E. Simpson & Company upon Forsyth’s death. In 1858, William Ollinger and Martin Bruce began operating a small repair plant and marine railway that lasted for 60 years. In 1861, during the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis authorized the construction of three gunboats for which Ollinger and Bruce received the contract . In March of 1862, the gunboat and shipyard were destroyed by Confederate forces to keep them from falling into Union hands. To save the 500-ton drydock, workers quickly sunk the only dock of its kind in Northwest Florida beneath the surface of the Blackwater River. A 110-foot, twin-screw gunboat was boarded and set afire by Confederate soldiers. Though most of Bagdad’s population fled to Greenville, Alabama, James Creary remained behind to oversee the remaining property. He was taken prisoner by a Union scouting party and was briefly imprisoned at Fort Pickens in Pensacola.. In 1867, during Reconstruction, the Ollinger and Bruce Shipyard reopened. George Bruce inherited his father’s share of the shipyard in 1894, and it remained in operation until 1917,
Center: Drydock behind riverboats
Right top: Advertisement about dry docks
Right middle: Floating dry dock (1860-1917)
Right bottom: Martin F. Bruce (1833-1894) Bagdad Sectional Dry Docks Company
Erected 2016 by Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership, Inc.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1862.
Location. 30° 36.217′ N, 87° 1.84′ W. Marker is in Bagdad, Florida, in Santa Rosa County. Marker can be reached from Main Street, 0.1 miles east of Forsyth Street. Located within the Bagdad Mill Site Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6953 Main Street, Bagdad FL 32530, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Bagdad Mill Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War and Reconstruction in Northwest Florida (within shouting distance of this marker); Native Trees (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Skirmish on the Blackwater (about 400 feet away); The Early History of Bagdad (about 500 feet away); The Ecology of the Blackwater River (about 500 feet away); Bagdad Lumber Mill / Shipbuilding at BagdadBagdad Mill Site Park (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bagdad.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 20, 2018. It was originally submitted on November 20, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 321 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 20, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.