Friday, June 28, 2013

Tidbits About Palatka, FL.

I live about 23 miles from Palatka, FL. in a small country town. I would drive to and from this town on many occasions, primarily because of the shopping available there that isn’t available in my town. Oddly enough I never gave Palatka much thought with regard to its history until I decided to set a story there. Here are some unique tidbits about the rich history of Palatka:
     •At one time Palatka was larger than Jacksonville, FL.
     •Founded in 1821 with a Spanish Treaty to James Marver and two companions, Hine & Woodruff. (I’m assuming these are last names but you can’t be too sure.)
     •A cypress lumberyard was the second largest sawmill producer
     •Major hub for supplies going in and out of Florida.
     •Known as an area for healing for northerners to come in winter months.
     •Had a major fire burn through a lot of the downtown area in 1884.

What made Palatka unique was the St. John’s River which runs from Jacksonville all the way down to the St. John’s Marsh west of Melbourne & Palm Bay, FL. The entire length of the river is 310 miles. At Palatka the deep water ends, and south of Palatka the steamboats could travel, although the large shipping schooners could not. This set Palatka apart as the perfect port for all commerce on the River. In 1880 people could travel from South Carolina or Savannah, GA to Palatka with a round trip ticket for $20. Others traveled from as far away as Boston and New York for their winter vacations. The northern schooners would bring Ice down to Palatka where it would be stored in one of the icehouses for use by the residents. In earlier days, similar to the early railroad days out west, travelers on the steamboats would shoot at the wildlife on shore. This soon became a problem when some passengers on other boats were accidentally shot. The practice was banned.
The railroad came through during the later part of the 19th century, forever changing the shipping industry. Other industries in Palatka were cattle, lumber, ship building, turpentine making, orange groves and tourism.


<--The Putnam House and other hotels provided the travelers with beds. However, in several of the publications I’ve read about the area you find complaints that there were not enough rooms. The streets were wide, and orange and lemon trees lined the major roadways.





Below are some pictures from various historical books of Palatka during the 19th Century.




The Arlinton Hotel 1880's






The Sarasota Inn 1911









Schooners at Palatka both of these are ships from New England


As a comparison of further down the St. John's you see the steamboat and how much narrower the river is.


Colonel Hart's Garden's Entrance: Showing the length of the dock as well as the palm trees and spanish moss hanging from the trees.






My give away for this month will be a copy of Key West as well as entering your name for a drawing in the fall for my next book, Courting Holly. Enter by leaving a comment and your email address for notification.

If you like historical tidbits you might like to visit my blog 19th Century Historical Tidbits. You can also follow me on twitter @LynnColeman or you can friend me on Facebook. "Courting Holly" is scheduled to be released in Oct. 2013.

In His grip,
Lynn

31 comments:

  1. Lyn - I did not realize you lived here in Florida. I live in St. Cloud and had heard the name of Palatka but did not know of it's history. Thank you for sharing I thought it was interesting. Thank you also for the chance to win.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

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    1. You're welcome Angela. I've heard of St. Cloud but that is one of the many towns I've have yet to visit. I've been next door in Kississimee. I think I spelled that right.

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  2. Never heard of this town before, but interesting history, and great photos! I love being able to see actual photographs of the way things used to be. :)
    jimmynmatthewsmom [at] netzero [dot] com

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    1. It's an unsung hero in the history of the state of Florida. I have a dream to cruise on the St. John's one day. But that goes with my dream of a houseboat...

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  3. So interesting. Looks like Palatka was a booming tourist town. I wonder what the barrels on the dock were for. Anybody know? Hmmm, maybe they're planters. Can't tell from this picture.

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    1. Pam the barrels could have been for anything including keeping slag lines from boats tied up to the dock, to barrels for bait fish or shrimp. I've been on a dock not too far from that shot many a times and folks were shrimping.

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  4. I love to hear "tidbits" about different places!! tammyredd@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks Tammy and thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  5. Your books sound very good. We toured FL last year and enjoyed seeing the Spanish Moss in the trees. Loved the historical towns along the way.You are a new author to me and I would love to win.sharon, CA

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    1. Hey Sharon, Florida has a lot to see that isn't Disney and Sea World. but definitely visit in the fall, winter or spring, summers are muggy and who want to get all sweaty.

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  6. I love history and I enjoyed your post. I liked your Facebook page, so I can go back and read more. This is the first time I have ever heard of Palatka and loved hearing about it's history. Thank you for sharing. Please enter me in your giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. You're welcome Barbara, glad you enjoyed learning a little about this town, like me.

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  7. Very interesting, Lynn. Love the post. I didn't know you had a book coming out later this year. You need to email me, and I'll feature you on my blog.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Lena. I'll email you later to connect with regard to Courting Holly.

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  8. That was fun, Lynn, thank you. I spent the weekend with a friend in Palatka long ago. I love to hear about Florida, having lived there, as you know. I've been to St. Cloud and Kissimmee, too. And Key West. Your _Key West_ is on top of my hutch in a stack next to a stack with one of Lena's. So, if it ever collapses, two good books will land on my head!

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  9. LOL, Margo. If you win I'll send you a different book but you'll be entered in the drawing in September for Courting Holly which is set in Savannah another one of my favorite places.

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  10. Lynn, I love history tidbits like this! Thank you for sharing your VAST knowledge. my email is lynn underscore Donovan at live dot com. Thank you again. I love your stories.

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  11. Thanks, Lynn and thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  12. Great info. :) What got me was the "passengers were accidentally shot" while people went for wildlife on shore. It makes me think of the rednecks up here who go for deer from their trucks. People are still the same!! :)
    Susan P
    farmygirl at hotmail dot com

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  13. LOL all too true, Susan. Thanks for posting and entering the give away.

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  14. OK, thank you, Lynn, that would be nice. Yes, I love Savannah and Charleston, too.

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  15. By the way, we took a Sunday dinner cruise and an evening dinner cruise on the St. Johns out of Sanford. Those were fun.

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    1. Cool. I did a murder mystery cruise on the Savannah while researching.

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  16. I've often thought that we don't always learn and appreciate the history close to home. We like to travel, but often some of the most interesting places are nearby. Thanks for the informative post on Palatka, FL.
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Isn't that the truth, Kay. My husband and I lived in New York just a few miles north of the city and we never managed to go to the Statue of Liberty and many other sights. Our kids went on a school trip from MA to NYC the following after we moved and visited the Statue of Liberty. Believe it or not it is still on my to do list.

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    2. It will be a good trip someday!

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    3. It will be a good trip someday!

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  17. Thanks for the post...I love learning about new places! enter me to win...
    truckredford(at)Gmail(dot)Com

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Eliza. You're entered.

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  18. How Lynn! The pictures were great-I love seeing pictures from long ago-it's always amazing to see how much places have changed over the years. I think the next time I visit my father in Ocala I'll have to drag to Palutka and then to the Ponce de Leon Inlet in Daytona that Jillian Kent wrote about in todays (Saturday) post. It's always so much more fun to to check out new and interesting places than just a new beach to hit! Thanks for a great post!
    kam110476(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. You're welcome, glad you are as fascinated by historical photos as I am.

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