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  • Writer's pictureNatalija Ugrina

Exploring Ellaville: A Ghost Town in Florida

On a leisurely road trip through the hidden gems of northern Florida, I stumbled upon a captivating detour: the ghost town of Ellaville. Situated at the scenic confluence of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers, and marked by an old, haunting bridge, this once-thriving community offered a rich narrative set against the backdrop of Florida's lush landscapes.


Exploring Ellaville: A Ghost Town in Florida

The Foundations of Ellaville

Ellaville's story began in the 1860s, when George Franklin Drew, an entrepreneur who would later become Florida's 12th governor, recognized the potential in the area's abundant timber resources. In 1865, he established a large sawmill, leveraging the town's strategic location at a railroad junction to facilitate the export of lumber. This mill was not just any mill but one of the largest of its kind in the South at the time. The town that sprang up around this economic hub was named after Drew's wife, Ella, marking the birth of Ellaville.


Exploring Ellaville: A Ghost Town in Florida

The Bridge That Connected Lives

A key feature of Ellaville was its bridge, which spanned the Suwannee River. This bridge was vital not only for the transport of goods but also as a symbol of connection—linking the people of Ellaville with the broader world. It witnessed countless crossings by those who lived and worked in the town, playing a critical role in the daily life and bustling economy of the area.

Exploring Ellaville: A Ghost Town in Florida the bridge


The Boom Years

The establishment of Drew's sawmill brought prosperity and growth. By the 1880s, Ellaville was a vibrant community, complete with homes, a post office, a school, and various stores. Its growth was fueled further by the railroad, which brought in new residents and enabled the shipment of goods far beyond the local area. Ellaville became a focal point in the region, a testament to the flourishing lumber industry of the time.



Decline and Abandonment

Despite its early success, Ellaville's dependence on the timber industry proved to be its undoing. As the local forests began to deplete, the sawmill's output dwindled, and by the early 20th century, newer technologies and changing economic landscapes led to its closure. The impact of the Great Depression exacerbated the town's struggles, leading to a gradual exodus. By the mid-20th century, Ellaville had been largely abandoned, leaving behind only the echoes of its once vibrant existence.


My Exploration

Visiting the remains of Ellaville today, one can still feel the pulse of the past. The ruins of Drew Mansion, overgrown and weathered, stand as a poignant relic of lost prosperity. The old railroad tracks and the skeletal remains of the mill offer silent testimony to the town's bustling past. The bridge, although weathered, still arches gracefully over the Suwannee, a symbol of resilience and connection.


Suwannee river ellaville

Ellaville, with its rich history and silent beauty, was an unexpected highlight of my Florida road trip. For those interested in the echoes of the past and the stories of human endeavor, a visit to this ghost town is a must. Ellaville offers not just a break from the bustling beach scenes and theme parks but a profound reflection on the cycles of boom and bust that have shaped much of America's small-town landscape. For a true explorer at heart, Ellaville provides a rare opportunity to walk through history and imagine the lives that once animated this now quiet place.

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Guest
May 06

I love the way you describe everything. You are a True Romantic Nostalgia Poet.

You are also BREATHTAKINGLY EXQUISITE! And have an enchanting pixieish smile.

You make the gods envious of both your Inner & Outer Beauty & Spirit. The stars at night twinkle because they are overcome by your beauty and are crying from the depths of their souls with the Love they see and feel with you.

Have a Wonderful Happy, Funny and Safe Day.

Eddy

Bristol Connecticut

ravenscroftvincent@gmail.com

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4 days ago
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Guest
May 04

That's my Hometown.You were in.I was born and raised there my name is Lord Tillotson

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Guest
May 04

you are my petty baby sexyie

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Guest
May 03

Do you ever feel spirit's or shadow people in your adventures 😬 and was wondering if you were a medium or have any spiritual gifts??

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Guest
Apr 28

I recently purchased property at Hallandale Beach. Have you ever been there? And where should I go in the area to meet available women?

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