The year was 1850 and Nassau had been a county since 1824 and Florida had gone from a territory to a full fledge state. King's Road is shown here crossing the St. Mary's River at the Georgia outpost of Colerain. Fernandina, in what is now Old Town, had dwindling in size and population and lost its title of county seat to Sand Hill (Evergreen) on the mainland.
Nassau County, Florida - 1850
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. Though we are located at the Callahan railroad depot in the heart of old Callahan, we are about ALL of West Nassau County. Our boundary runs from southwest of Bryceville, north along the St. Marys River to Boulogne. It then runs east along the St. Marys River to an imaginary north/south line through Italia to the Nassau River, then west along Thomas Creek to near Ratliff, then southwest to the beginning point. Our colleagues at Yulee and Amelia Island Museum of History share with us our interest in preserving and teaching the history of Nassau County. Our legacy goes back beyond 500 years to the days of the first French, Spanish and English explorers when Amelia Island and the mainland where first inhabited by Europeans. Before those that came by square-rigged vessels were the Native Americans that came to the area more than four thousand years ago yet had all but disappeared by the mid-19th century. 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 1907. 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/Museum and the Greater Nassau County Chamber of Commerce.
A Florida Nonprofit 501(c)3 Tax Exempt Organization
West Nassau Historical Society - West Nassau Museum of History
Located Inside the Historic Train Depot at 45383 Dixie Avenue, Callahan
Mail to P.O. Box 1758, Callahan, FL 32011 (904-879-3406)
Looking northeast with Brandies Avenue to the left and Dixie Avenue to the right. Circa 1880-1890s.
This page was last updated: March 31, 2014
Map courtesy of the University of South Florida Library Internet site.
Members of the society gathering before the April 24, 2012 membership meeting.
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Mar.28-29th Railroad Days 2014.
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.
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