Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Civil War Ghost Town on the Suwannee River


One of North Florida's most significant antebellum communities was the town of Columbus on the Suwannee River. Home at one time to more than 500 people (a fairly large community for Florida in that era), the town was an important commercial center and riverboat port on the upper Suwannee.

From a community of 500 with sawmills and other industries, however, the community slowly faded away and is now a true Florida Ghost Town. Not a single building remains.

The old Columbus Cemetery, along with most of the main town site, is now preserved at Suwannee River State Park near Live Oak. The cemetery includes graves from the Civil War era and is located deep in the pine forest down one of the park's picturesque hiking trails.

Confederate troops were based at Columbus for much of the war and it was here that they constructed earthwork forts to guard the Suwannee River railroad bridge. Their presence also protected the community from raids by Union naval forces in the Gulf and organized units of Southern Unionists and Confederate deserters that operated along the Suwannee River during the second half of the war.

To learn more about Suwannee River State Park, please visit my new park pages at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/suwannee1.

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