Bagdad in Santa Rosa County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Early History of Bagdad
The village of Bagdad developed as a lumber mill community in the early nineteenth century, and lumber remained the principal industry of the village until 1939. Strategically placed at the confluence of Pond Creek and the Blackwater River, the village became a major port. By 1900, the village shipped more yellow pine lumber than any other port in the world. An estimated 15 billion board feet of lumber was cut in West Florida during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, leaving a mere three billion by 1909. The longleaf yellow pine forests were a source of great wealth for Santa Rosa County, and most of the county's leading citizens made their fortunes directly from the lumber industry. This exhibit examines the history of Bagdad village, its native ecology, and efforts to protect and preserve the Bagdad Mill Site to help us better understand the place we call home.
Where Did Bagdad Get Its Name?
Bagdad conjures images of the ancient Persian city between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, but today the spelling is different (Bagdad vs. Baghdad). Legend holds that two different men named the village. The first story credits Joseph Forsyth. The second, makes a nod to Benjamin Overman, a millwright from North Carolina who joined the Forsyth and Simpson Company. Regardless of who first proposed the idea,
Left: Bagdad Sawmill from Lippincott's Magazine, 1882
Left, bottom: Blackwater Basin, 1830s
Right, top: Simpson and Company, 1890
Right, middle: Bagdad Land and Lumber advertisement
Right, bottom: Blackwater River
Erected 2016 by Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership, Inc.
Location. 30° 36.254′ N, 87° 1.924′ W. Marker is in Bagdad, Florida, in Santa Rosa County. Marker can be reached from Main Street 0.1 miles east of Forsyth Street. Touch for map. Located within the Bagdad Mill Site Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6953 Main Street, Bagdad FL 32530, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Native Trees (within shouting distance of this marker); Bagdad Mill Site Park (within shouting distance of this marker); A New Century (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Longleaf Pine The Skirmish on the Blackwater (about 400 feet away); The Architecture of Bagdad (about 400 feet away); The Bagdad Mill Site (about 400 feet away); The Ecology of the Blackwater River (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bagdad.
Categories. • Horticulture & Forestry • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 20, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 8, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 157 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 8, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.