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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Dade City in Pasco County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Lanier Bridge

 
 
Lanier Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dean Moss McCracken, June 18, 2013
1. Lanier Bridge Marker
Inscription.
Front
The first bridge crossing the Withlacoochee River at this site was built in the 1850's by slaves belonging to James Lanier. Replaced several times during the following century, the bridge served lumber, turpentine and cattle operations along with several short-lived small towns including Ashley and Titanic. Some timbers from one of the early bridges remain in the river about 100 yards downstream. During the Second Seminole War, Old Tiger Tail, a prominent War Chief, had his camp in swamps near the east bank of the river.. About 1900 the Campbell family operated a cypress shingle factory on the west side of the river north of the bridge. During prohibition, many illicit whiskey stills operated in the area. Two revenue agents were murdered nearby after failing to heed the local sheriff's warning: "Don't go beyond the Lanier Bridge." Men suspected of murder were killed in a gunfight shortly afterward and their bodies displayed to the public in Dade City.

Reverse
In the early 1920's Cummer Cypress Company acquired over 50 square miles in eastern Pasco County, including most of the river south and east of Lacoochee. A company town, Cumpressco, was located in the northeast corner of Pasco County and reached by road from the Lanier Bridge. The Cummer sawmill closed in 1959 but remains of its private rail
Lanier Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dean Moss McCracken, June 18, 2013
2. Lanier Bridge Marker
lines and tram roads can still seen. In the 1930's a Works Progress Administration (WPA) labor placed a rock dam about 100 yards south of the bridge in an attempt to retain water in the upper reaches of the river during dry spells. A WPA crew also rebuilt the bridge. The Cummer property was acquired by Agri-Timber, Inc. in the 1970's and subsequently sold to the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 1992 for water resource protection and conservation.
 
Erected 2001 by The Pasco County Board of County Commissioners, The Pasco County Historical Preservation Commission and The Southwest Florida Water Management District.
 
Location. 28° 20.962′ N, 82° 7.682′ W. Marker is in Dade City, Florida, in Pasco County. Marker is on Withlacoochee Boulevard 0.1 miles south of River Road (U.S. 98\301), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. From Dade City, Florida, take US98/US301 to River Road and head east 4.7 miles. Turn right on Auton Road (before the current Lanier Bridge). One tenth of a mile on left, enter the Withlacoochee River Park. The marker is just inside the park gate on the right side of the entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12449 Withlacoochee Boulevard, Dade City FL 33525, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within
Lanier Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dean Moss McCracken, June 17, 2013
3. Lanier Bridge Marker
Lanier Bridge spanning the Withlacoochee River
4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Atlantic Coast Line Depot (approx. 3.6 miles away); Dade City Atlantic Coast Line Depot (approx. 3.6 miles away); Former St. Rita's Catholic Church (approx. 3.6 miles away); Site of World War II Prisoner of War Camp (approx. 3.7 miles away); Dade City Cemetery (approx. 3.7 miles away); Jones' Nursing Home (approx. 3.9 miles away); Pasco County (approx. 3.9 miles away); Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church (approx. 3.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dade City.
 
More about this marker. The original placement of the marker was on the northwest corner of the present day Lanier Bridge. It was later moved inside the Withlacoochee River Park to curb vandalism.
 
Regarding Lanier Bridge. James Lanier: Lanier was born in 1799 in Georgia. By the late 1840's he and his family lived in, what was then, Benton County in the Buddy's Lake Settlement. While Lanier was a slaveholder, he most likely contracted additional laborers from family or neighbors to help construct the bridge. Before 1860, Lanier and his family relocated a few miles south to Socrum in what is now northwest Polk County. During the US Civil War, Lanier sold cattle to the Confederate Government. On April 7, 1864, Lanier was the only man killed in a skirmish
Lanier Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dean Moss McCracken, June 17, 2013
4. Lanier Bridge Marker
This marker dedicates a 10 mile section of US Hwy 98 North, between Lakeland and Dade City, Florida to Agent John Van Waters.
referred to as the "Battle of Bowlegs Creek" southeast of Ft. Meade, Florida. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Pleasant Grove Cemetery east of Ft. Meade. Sources: Lanier, Lois Kleinhenn: The Lanier Family in the United States: Vol 1: John and Elizabeth Bird Lanier, 2000. The National Archives: Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms 1861-1865. Pub# M346, Cat ID# 2133274, Record# 109, Roll#0569. US Census and Slave Schedules 1850 & 1860.



Prohibition: On October 4, 1922, Pasco County Deputy Sheriff Arthur Fleece Crenshaw and United States Prohibition Agent John Van Waters were ambushed and killed while returning from an investigation into a robbery and search for bootleg liquor. Seven men were arrested and two stood trial for the murder of the officers. Preston Overstreet and his cousin Paul Overstreet, were both acquitted of the crime by December 16, 1922.
Just over two years later, on February 25, 1925, Pasco County Deputy Sheriff C.C. Walker and a young man named Hancock were investigating three moonshine stills three miles south of the Lanier Bridge. Upon hearing an approaching vehicle, Walker told Hancock to "get set." As Hancock moved into position, his double barreled shotgun discharged. The two suspected moonshiners jumped out of their car. The first suspect, Preston Overstreet, was armed with an automatic
Lanier Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dean Moss McCracken, May 30, 2013
5. Lanier Bridge Marker
Entrance to Withlacoochee River Park, managed by the East Pasco Parks and Recreation Dept.
shotgun. The second suspect, Neil Wilson, was armed with a 30-30 rifle. Deputy Walker shouted "gentleman, drop your guns, you are under arrest." Wilson fired a shot at Walker barely missing his head. Walker returned fire and killed both suspects before they could fire another shot. Sources: The Dade City Banner , The Lakeland Star Telegram and The Lakeland Evening Ledger.
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsWars, US Indian
 
Lanier Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dean Moss McCracken, May 30, 2013
6. Lanier Bridge Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 27, 2013, by Dean Moss McCracken of Lakeland, Florida. This page has been viewed 965 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 27, 2013, by Dean Moss McCracken of Lakeland, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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