Author Topic: Springfield's 1st Railroad: Life After Camp Cuba Libre  (Read 747 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Springfield's 1st Railroad: Life After Camp Cuba Libre
« on: May 05, 2016, 03:00:04 AM »
Springfield's 1st Railroad: Life After Camp Cuba Libre



Most know it as a wide linear green strip of overgrown vegetation serving as the border between Springfield and the Eastside. 125 years ago, this forgotten path was primed to quickly become a major gateway into Florida's largest city. Today, we take a look at the rise and fall former Springfield rail corridor, the buildings and businesses it once served.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2016-may-springfields-1st-railroad-life-after-camp-cuba-libre

BridgeTroll

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Re: Springfield's 1st Railroad: Life After Camp Cuba Libre
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2016, 07:10:04 AM »
A very thorough 1898 Duval county map at Library of Congress... with zoom capability...

https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3933d.la000075/

RattlerGator

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Re: Springfield's 1st Railroad: Life After Camp Cuba Libre
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2016, 09:49:19 AM »
Gotta love that ad at the bottom left, BridgeTroll, for Campbell Bros. & Co.: a three-digit telephone number -- nice. But . . . "northern meats," ummmm -- what the hell is that?

johnnyroadglide

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Re: Springfield's 1st Railroad: Life After Camp Cuba Libre
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2016, 10:06:12 AM »
Ennis Davis, Please contact me off list via my email.

BridgeTroll

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Re: Springfield's 1st Railroad: Life After Camp Cuba Libre
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2016, 10:09:34 AM »
There are some awesome ads on that map... the Times Union one at the top left is pretty interesting.  The calligraphy for "Duval County Fla" is very unusual and ornate.  The county statistics box in the lower right has some interesting facts...

Schools = 89... teachers = 169
Population 30,000
steamship lines = 8

and gotta love this one...

"Manufactories" = 185

Every time I look closely at this map I find some interesting new thing...

Ocklawaha

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Re: Springfield's 1st Railroad: Life After Camp Cuba Libre
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 08:27:53 PM »
Very nice review Lake, I enjoyed our days of stomping around in the weeds in that area.

The linear green parkway that 'COULD BE' is also an excellent location for a rapid streetcar (think streetcar prices / modern or traditional without the street thus operating in a light-rail like environment with speeds at or near 35-45 mph) linking the stadium area with the Gateway area. Coupled with the 'S Line,' it would be an amazing addition to our city. I visualize it as a landscaped parkway, with street lighting, furnishings, a multi-purpose trail and off to one side, track constructed with the top of the rails even with the grade and sodded over. This leaves nothing more than two silver streaks through the lawn and a single overhead wire. This line is roughly in the shape of the 'number 7' and while it was NEVER a streetcar or electric road, I nicknamed it the 'Electric 7' in a previous article. SEE: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2012-aug-the-electric-7-a-streetcar-proposal-on-a-shoestring

As for the rail lines, I just last week found a piece in an 1880's edition of 'The Street Railway Review,' magazine, stating that "Various businessmen in the Jacksonville business community have secured a charter for 'The Jacksonville Belt Railway,' a new electric operation."  Interesting as unless something new turns up, it was NEVER an electric railroad. 

The old STJRT Roundhouse was actually quite large and the turntable sat nearly at the center of todays intersection of 11Th and Walnut Street. There is a part of a curved structure near the tracks NE of the corner which MIGHT be part of the old railroad structure.  Over in the center of the wye tracks (tracks forming the letter 'Y') in todays Springfield Yard is a clump of brushy/trees. Under the trees Stephendare and I located the foundation of the old Seaboard Air Line Railroad's 'Springfield Station,' which probably dated from the F&J/AV&W era and continued to operate into the 1950's likely more as a yard office than a depot by that late date. There was another station at the corner of Marsh and Adams Streets which was called 'The Catherine Street Station'. It was used by the Jacksonville Southwestern Railroad and continued to serve at least one daily passenger train between Jacksonville and High Springs well after the company was sold to the Atlantic Coast Line for the benefit of Cummer Lumber (though Cummer no longer owned the road when it was sold to the Atlantic Coast Line, they were still the 'big dog' and I suspect the station stayed open due to some previous negotiation. Eventually the passenger trains were shifted over to the new Jacksonville Terminal.

Here's a Wikipedia piece on that story:
Quote
The road operated a round trip daily, leaving Newberry around 6 a.m. and arriving in Jacksonville four and a half hours later; the return left around 5 p.m. for a late evening arrival in Newberry. A close connection was made with GS&F trains at Lake Butler and package cars ran through via Lake Butler to Lake City and Gainesville. The J&SW had many connections: In addition to the AV&W and the GS&F, it connected with the Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad at Jacksonville, Baldwin and Deep Creek Junction; the Plant System's Savannah, Florida & Western Railway at Grand Crossing; and the Atlantic, Suwannee River & Gulf Railway at LaCrosse.

The J&SW was built primarily to serve the Cummer mills, and though it crossed some valuable phosphate lands, the Cummers did little to develop that traffic. On July 1, 1903, C. W. Chase, President of the H. F. Dutton & Co., a Gainesville-based phosphate mining company, bought the J&SW and became its President. E. S. Spencer, the road's traffic manager, was named General Manager. Within a month Chase announced that construction was to begin on a large phosphate port at Milldale. The road was extended a few miles west of Newberry to reach the Dutton mine.

The Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) expressed interest in the J&SW, and bought the road outright as soon as the Florida Railroad Commission approved the purchase on July 28, 1904.[8] The daily train continued to use the Catherine Street station for several months before being switched over to the Jacksonville Terminal on West Bay Street. The ACL extended the new line south and west; eventually it became the West Coast Route for trains to St. Petersburg from Jacksonville. Passenger service ended on May 1, 1971, with the advent of Amtrak, and most of the line was abandoned in 1972. In 1993, CSX sold 14 miles between Imeson Road (about three miles west of Grand Crossing) and State Road 121 near Baldwin to the Florida Department of Natural Resources for the Rails-to-Trails program.

The other 'railway' in the area was the 'Jacksonville Traction Company' which operated streetcar lines on Bay, Adams, Duval, Union and 8Th  Street, as well as Main, 4Th, Walnut, Florida, Phoenix, Liberty, Market, 11Th and Evergreen Streets.