We welcome you to our Internet site and hope to introduce you to what we have to offer at our historic Callahan depot headquarters and museum within the depot. We are in our 43rd year of caring about the future of our past. We are an all-volunteer organization looking for like-minded individuals and businesses who share our interests. Download a membership application below and join us in celebrating and preserving our rich and diverse history.
Though we are located at the historic Callahan Train Depot in the heart of western Nassau County, we like our colleagues from the Yulee Historic Council and Amelia Island Museum of History, are interested in ALL of our county's history. However, our primary focus is on the western half of the county: from the banks of the tea-colored St. Marys River to Thomas Creek, from the towns of Bryceville, Boulougne, Callahan, and Hilliard to the ghost towns of Italia, Dyal, Crawford, and Gross and the vast timberlands that lay in between.
The historical society's theme is aimed at the history of the railroad which opened up the interior of Nassau County and much of the rest of the wilderness of the south and west. David Yulee's Florida Railroad began at new Fernandina, was finished through central Nassau County by mid-1856 and completed to Cedar Key by 1861.
It is fortunate that one of the old railroad depots remains as the showpiece of an era gone by to help us collect, archive and display the historic gems of the past. Below are pictured the two Callahan depots that stood side by side from the early 1880s until the original passenger Florida Railroad depot on the left burned about 1917. The two railroads collaborated by doubling the size of the elevated freight depot on the right, adding a clerk's office and ticket sales windows and passenger waiting rooms for white and colored on the far end. It is this building that remains as the headquarters of the West Nassau Historical Society and West Nassau Museum of History.
A Florida Nonprofit 501(c)3 Tax Exempt Organization
Located Inside the Historic Train Depot at 45383 Dixie Avenue, Callahan
Mail to P.O. Box 1758, Callahan, FL 32011 (904-879-3406)
Proud members of Nassau County Chamber of Commerce
and Arts and Culture Nassau
Looking northeast with Brandies Avenue to the left and Dixie Avenue to the right. Circa 1880-1890s.
This page was last updated: January 8, 2022
The historic Callahan Train Depot
Members of the society and guests gathering before the April 24, 2014 membership meeting.
Click weather box to see extensive Callahan
area weather information.
Thursday, August 26, 6:30 pm August dinner and meeting at the Depot.
Thursday, Sep 23, 6:30 pm Sept dinner and meeting at the Depot.
Friday, Oct 8, 6;30p-8p Ice Cream Social and evening of discovery
Fri Oct 15-Sat Oct 23 Trains and Turpentine display at NE Fla Fair Thursday, Oct 28, 6:30 pm Oct dinner and meeting at the Depot.
Saturday, Nov 6, 9a-4p 5th Hobos, Hot Rods, and Heroes
Thursday, Nov 18, 6:30 p Thanksgiving dinner meeting
Friday, Nov 19, 6p - 8p Callahan Depot Christmas Tree lighting
Saturday, Dec 4, 9a-3p Callahan Christmas Festival and Parade
Saturday, January 22, 10a-2:30p 10th Nassau Art at the Callahan Depot art show
Saturday, April 2, 9a-4p 17th Railroad Day Festival and Car Show
DINNER AND GENERAL MEETINGS ARE HELD INSIDE THE CALLAHAN TRAIN DEPOT ANNEX
Copyright 2014 by the WNHS.
The depot sat in this, its second location, for generations. This is the southeast corner of the intersection of CSX's north-south double track and the old Florida Railroad line that went in front of Brandies Hardware. In the 1980s, it was acquired by the historical society and underwent a $100K renovation. This end of the depot was built in 1881 of Victorian architecture. The lower opposite end was built circa 1910 and became the passenger waiting rooms and agent's office.
Board of Directors of the West Nassau Historical Society 2018-2019.
L-R: Emily Baumgartner, President, Kim Hoffecker, interim Secretary;
Marge Powell; Jerry Peterson, Liz Mobley;
John Hendricks, Treasurer; Elton Steptoe, Vice President; Jan Johannes, co-founder; Frank Geoghagan, archives chair (seated); not shown, Paul McMullan
2018-2019 Board of Directors
SPECIAL THANKS TO THESE SUPPORTERS
Golden Spike level
Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
Town of Callahan
Rayonier Advanced Materials
Silver Spike level
Bob Eubanks - Rusty Acres
AA Bottle Gas and Fuel
Brandies Ace Hardware
West Fraser. Inc.
Arts and Culture Nassau
Railroad Day Festival & Classic Car Show
Saturday, April 2
The West Nassau Historical Society is an active member of Arts and Culture Nassau, an advocacy of the arts throughout Nassau County. For more info, visit..
Wearing of the Green
Ice Cream Social and Evening of Discovery
6:30 PM - 8 PM
AT THE HISTORIC
Musical Performances by Joel Pace Piano Music Students
4th Thursdays of each month
at the historic Callahan Train Depot
6:30 pm pot luck
7:00 pm meeting
Admission is free and open
to public but donations
are gladly accepted
Ice Cream Social and Evening of Discovery
Friday Oct 1
6:30 PM - 8 PM
AT THE HISTORIC
Musical Performances by Joel Pace Piano Music Students.
WEST NASSAU HISTORICAL SOCIETY SELECTS SATURDAY, APRIL 2, FOR THEIR 17th ANNUAL FUNDRAISING RAILROAD DAY FESTIVAL
The West Nassau Historical Society has selected Saturday, April 2, for their signature fundraising Railroad Day Festival. The all-volunteer nonprofit’s 17th annual celebration is an all-day event held in and around the historic 1881 Callahan Train Depot and adjoining 1856 Florida Railroad bed. This year’s event will celebrate the 140th anniversary of the construction of the Callahan Train Depot. Photos, artifacts and maps of interest will be on display inside the museum of local history section of the quaint wooden train station.
The arts/crafts vendors and food vendors are open from 9 AM to 4 PM and the kids area will include Joel Pace hands-on music zoo and a scavenger hunt. Local live entertainment will perform on the main depot stage from 9 AM to 4 PM. Callahan Cruisers will host a classic car show at Cochrane's Collision Center next door to the depot Various citizens and sponsors will be honored and car show and contest winners announced during the festivities. Antique machines, tractors, and scaled trains will be exhibited outside the depot while model train layouts will be on display inside the Depot Annex. This is an outdoor event so please bring your lawn chairs. Admission is free and open to the public but donations are always gladly accepted.
The West Nassau Historical Society is an all-volunteer non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to the preservation of Nassau County’s rich and diverse history and culture as well as being entrusted with the upkeep of the historic Callahan Train Depot. Donations to the 501c3 organization are tax deductible in accordance to current IRS rules. Sponsors and volunteers are needed to help make this year’s festival a success. For additional information on the 2022 Railroad Day Festival visit www.wnhsfl.org or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, vendor, sponsor, member, or donor call festival co-chairs John Hendricks or Emily Baumgartner at 904-879-3406.