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Bagdad in Santa Rosa County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Bagdad Lumber Mill / Shipbuilding at Bagdad

 
 
Bagdad Lumber Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
1. Bagdad Lumber Mill Marker
Inscription.
Bagdad Lumber Mill

In 1829, Joseph Forsyth saw economic potential in the vast pine forest of North Florida. Old growth yellow pine was one of the world's most prized building materials and the deepwater juncture of Pond Creek and the Blackwater River was an open door to the world market. By the early 1830s, Forsyth and his partner Ezekiel Simpson produced 250,000 feet of lumber yearly at Arcadia Mill on Pond Creek. The lumber was moved by flatboat down to the Blackwater River, loaded on larger vessels and shipped to buyers. In 1835 the Florida territorial legislature granted a charter to the Arcadia partners for Florida's third railroad, The Pond Creek and Blackwater River Canal Company. The railway used mule-drawn carts on iron-covered wood rails to transport lumber from Arcadia to the Bagdad Mill here. A steam-powered sawmill installed at Bagdad in the early 1840s expanded production. Eventually Bagdad's shipping market reached beyond the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to North and South Atlantic
Shipbuilding at Bagdad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
2. Shipbuilding at Bagdad Marker
ports and to Western European, Mediterranean, and Scandinavian countries. When the mill closed in 1939, trade journals recalled the Bagdad Mill as home to one of the most successful lumber organizations in the Western Hemisphere.
A Florida Heritage Site

Shipbuilding at Bagdad

The deepwater channel and abundant forests along the Blackwater River made this area ideal for building wooden ships. During the Revolutionary War, Welsh brothers Jonas and Evan Jones repaired British warships in the vicinity. A shipyard was established near Bagdad by Captain John Gardner in 1833. William Ollinger and Martin Bruce built a repair facility and marine railway at Bagdad's Shipyard Point in 1858, which operated for 60 years. In 1861 Confederate President Jefferson Davis awarded a contract to Ollinger & Bruce for construction of a 110-foot gunboat for the coast and river defense of Florida. On March 11, 1862 facing Union invasion and racing to demolish anything of use to the federal troops, Confederate forces
Bagdad Lumber Mill Site in background. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
3. Bagdad Lumber Mill Site in background.
Another marker, located in same park, about the Mill.
set fire to industrial facilities in Santa Rosa County, destroying the shipyard, the completed gunboat and lumber mills at Bagdad. The shipwrights saved their pine-built 500-ton floating dry dock by sinking it in the river. After the war, the dry dock was lifted, used for decades, and then resubmerged. Later it was raised again and found to be in remarkably good condition whereupon it was towed to Pensacola and used continuously and successfully for many years.
A Florida Heritage Site

 
Erected 2015 by Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership, Blackwater Pyrates, Florida Public Archeology Network and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-882.)
 
Location. 30° 36.319′ N, 87° 1.882′ 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.
Blackwater River area of former shipbuilding. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
4. Blackwater River area of former shipbuilding.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Ecology of the Blackwater River (within shouting distance of this marker); The Skirmish on the Blackwater (within shouting distance of this marker); Working for the Company (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (about 300 feet away); Bagdad Mill Site Park (about 400 feet away); The Early History of Bagdad (about 500 feet away); Civil War and Reconstruction in Northwest Florida (about 500 feet away); Animals Along the Blackwater River (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bagdad.
 
Regarding Bagdad Lumber Mill / Shipbuilding at Bagdad. 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
A different nearby "Shipbuilding in Bagdad" Marker located in same park. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
5. A different nearby "Shipbuilding in Bagdad" Marker located in same park.
and Simpson Company. Regardless of who first proposed the idea, there is no dispute that the village was named after the famous city in the Mesopotamian Valley that is now part of Iraq. The founders of the village of Bagdad hoped that this new town, at the confluence of the Blackwater River and Pond Creek, would enjoy the same advantages of its ancient sister city.
 
Categories. Horticulture & ForestryIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Stone at foot of marker from sponsor Blackwater Pyrates. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
6. Stone at foot of marker from sponsor Blackwater Pyrates.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 8, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 17, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 193 times since then and 58 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 17, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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