Sunday, November 2, 2008

Historical File

10/31/08 Notes From Past File

Hebard Cypress Company Notes File

Southern Forest World Museum
Waycross, GA 31501
Telephone: (912)285-4056
Classification: Museum
Location: Across from the Okefenokee Heritage Center.
Comments: Museum depicting the history of forestry in the south. A 2-6-0 narrow guage locomotive is on display.

Waycross Historic Rail Depot
315 Plant Avenue
Waycross, GA 31501
Telephone: (912)283-3744
Alternate telephone: (912)283-8666
Fax number: (912)283-0121
Classification: Depot museum
Location: Highway 84/Plant Avenue in Downtown Waycross
Comments: Recently restored Depot, Built in early 1900's

Okefenokee Heritage Center
1460 North Augusta Avenue
Waycross, GA 31503
Telephone: (912)285-4260
Classification: Museum with railroad display
Location: 2 miles NW via US 1/23, then 4 blocks west on Augusta Ave.
Comments: Display includes ACL 0443 caboose, 2-8-2 steam locomotive and railroad depot.

Brunswick and Western Railroad crossed paths with the S&G R/R, a new town was developing. The year was 1874, the town is now known as Waycross
Waycross & Florida Railroad

The History of the Swamp
Steven is majoring in Political Science at Valdosta State Univeristy
The history of the Okefenokee is as long as the history of mankind its self. The frist known inhabentents were living in the swamp as early as 2500 B. C. These early inhalants left burial mounds on every major islands. These mounds were filled with pottery, implements of war, and other items stand as a testimony to these peoples existence. There was also the remains of the Indians them self. The tribe was the probable originator of the Deford Culture, the Swift culture and the Weeden Island Culture. We still do not know much about this tribe since explores did not penetrate the swamp until the 1700's. The tribe also left no written record behind so there was no way to tell about the culture of this lost tribe . The only thing that remains are the remains of these ancient people.
This is the remnants of one of the original inhabitants. This is all that remain of the inhabitants culture.
The last known tribe to inhabit the swamp was the Seminoles Indians, a branch of the creek nation . These Indians used to make raids in the towns surrounding the swamp. Then they would return to the safety of the "land of shaken ground". The Seminoles Indians called the swamp this because of the vast plains of the swamp would shake when you stepped on them, because of the fact that the ground was really floating decomposing plant matter. The Seminoles reason for staying in the swamp was, " a last refuge from the ever approaching white faces". The Seminoles stayed in the swamp for mainy years before they were destribed by the Spainish. First they with stood the Spanish Conquistadors and there evil tortures. Then, even after the English had won control of the swamp they were still persecuted. They stayed in the swamps, it was there safety from the white men it stayed that way for a long time. However, all that would change when the United States of America was formed.
The United States of America made an agreement with the Creek nation, that succeed the swamp to the United States of America. The Seminoles, believing that they had no part with the treaty(since they left the Creek nation), went to war with America for seven years. Leading the Seminoles through this war was a chief named Osceola. Osceola was a very brave leader and a rather brilliant general, but ultimately it was Gen. Jackson and the industrial complex of America that won. Osceola was killed in one of the many small skirmishes. After the war a majority of the Seminols moved to the West, but a few remained in the swamp. They were lead by a half English and Half Seminol chief named Billy Bolegs, after Osceola died. They lived in the swamp with relative peace for a few years, until the General John Floyed arrived.
The island on the left is called Billy's island it was the home of the Seminoles Indians until they were forced from the swamp.
Gen. Floyd landed in the hart of the swamp. He named the Island he landed on Floyd's island. Shortly after his arrival he force the remnants of the Seminoles out of the swamp, they headed to the Everglades (in modern day Florida) were they would later be forced out of. This was around the time period of the 1890's. In 1891 The Suwannee Canal Company Purchased the swamp from the state of Georgia, with the intentions of making a canal to connect the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. These was a rather ambitious plan that would benefit the United states much like the Panama canal did. The logistics of this plan were too much for the company to obtain so they abandoned the plan.
This is some of the mainy miles of canals dug throughout the swamp.
The next company to have an interest for the swamp was the Hebard Cypress Company. They wanted to cut down the Cypress' and drain the swamp to sell it for farm land. They built a mill site near the modern city of Waycross, named Hebardville. The town was a thriving town at the time. It had over 1,000 people, modern schools, churches and lighting plants. A railroad was built from the Herbardville to Hopkins, this was a small logging town which was on the edge of the swamp. The railroad was 20 miles long, but more was needed to get more Cypress trees out of the swamp. The company built an additional 35 miles of railing in to the hart of the swamp. They also constructed small locomotives for the uses on these railroads. They called this railroad system the Waycross and Western railroad. Other companies soon came to the Swamp as well. One of the more successful companies was the Twin-Tree Lumber Company. The swamp employed over 1800 men at one time. They made the interior camp at Billy's Island were they started to clear cut it. Dew to a recession in 1899 Herbard Cypress went bankrupt. All logging operations ended in 1927. For over twenty years the swamp was a prime source of timber and turpentine. After, 1927 no people would be employed by the rich timber.
The Okenfenokee Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 to preserve the 438,000 acre Swamp. In 1974 to ensure further protection of the swamp, The interior of the swamp was designated as a National Wilderness Area. This encompassed over 353,981 acres of swamp land. To this day the swamp is 396,000 acres and is one of the one of the largest pristine fresh water sources in North America. Today you can go canoeing in the swamp and enjoy all of the wonderful nature in the swamp.
The resources used to write this paper were source/us_nwr/ga_okefe.htm, The World Book Great Geographical Atlas by World Book, Inc. and Rand McNally 1982, and The History of the Okefeinokee , Reprinted by the Charlton County Hostorical Socioty Folkston, Georgia 1992

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Initial Entry

The construction of the Okefenokee Railroad has been a dream of mine for many years. Now we get to do it! I’m working on finishing the 11.5’ x 23.5’ room now, with adjacent hallway. Neil Johnson has been working on the sheetrock. I’ve set up a masterfile and a Journal file (this one).

There is a lot of data that has to be set up.

Opening Entry

The construction of the Okefenokee Railroad has been a dream of mine for many years. Now we get to do it! I’m working on finishing the 11.5’ x 23.5’ room now, with adjacent hallway. Neil Johnson has been working on the sheetrock. I’ve set up a masterfile and a Journal file (this one).

There is a lot of data that has to be set up.