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
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: August 29, 2019
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.
Friday, Sep 6, 6p-7:30p In Character ice Cream Social
Saturday, Sep 7, 9a-1p Bakers and Makers Farmers Market at the Depot
Thursday, Sep 26, 6:30 p Sep pot luck, general meeting, open to public
Saturday, Oct 5, 9a-1p Bakers and Makers Farmers Market at the Depot
Fri thru Sat Oct 11-19 Trains and Turpentine Display at the NE Florida Fair
Thursday, Oct 24, 6:30 pm Oct pot luck, general meeting, open to public
Saturday, Nov 2, 9a-1p Bakers and Makers Farmers Market at the Depot Saturday, Nov 16, 9a-4p Hobos, Hot Rods, and Heroes Festival and Car Show
Thursday, Nov 21, 6:00 pm Thanksgiving general meeting
Friday, December 6, 6p-7:30p Depot Christmas Tree Lighting
Saturday, January 25, 10a-2:30p 8th Nassau Art at the Callahan Depot art show
Saturday, April 18, 9a - 4p 15th Railroad Day Festival
POT LUCK 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
at the historic Callahan
Classic Car Show 10a-2p
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..
Ice Cream Social and Evening of Discovery
FRIDAY, Sept 6
6PM - 7:30PM
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
Bryceville Area History Walking Tour, Saturday, Sept. 21, 9a-10:30a. Meet at Corner of US 301 and Church Ave, Bryceville.
The West Nassau Historical Society has selected Saturday, November 16, 2019, for their fundraising Hobos, Hot Rods, and Heroes Festival and Car Show. The nonprofit's third autumn celebration is an all-day event held in and around the historic 1881 Callahan Train Depot and adjoining 1856 Florida Railroad bed. The arts/crafts and food vendors will be open from 9 AM to 4 PM. The car show portion is a judged contest in several categories and is presented by Cochrane's Collision Center, Callahan Cruisers, and AB&B Auto Parts. It is scheduled from 10 AM to 2 PM and will be followed by an awards ceremony on the depot's main stage. The kids’ play area starts at 9 AM with a bouncy house and youth-oriented games such as a Hobo Scavenger Hunt. Joel Pace Music students will hold a hands-on instruments session on the front platform of the 138-year old station. The Historical Society will honor all of our veterans at 11 AM plus have a guest veteran speaker. Local live entertainment will perform on the main depot stage from 9 AM to 4 PM with the final act following the car show awards ceremony. Tours of the history museum, 1881 depot, turpentine artifact exhibit and 1940s-era caboose will also be conducted. Inside the train depot museum the Historical Society will showcase the newly designed FAA exhibit which contains a vintage air traffic control radar, vintage photos and other equipment donated by the Hilliard Center. The display will be augmented with local exhibitors showing their various works on the historic depot grounds. This is an primarily an outdoor event so please bring your blankets and lawn chairs. The West Nassau Historical Society is a non-profit, tax exempt organization and monies raised during this event will go toward the promotion of Nassau County’s rich and diverse history and 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 fundraising event a success. For additional information on becoming a vendor, car show participant, volunteer, or sponsor to the 2019 Hobos, Hot Rods, and Heroes Festival and Car Show visit www.wnhsfl.org or call festival co-chairs John Hendricks or Emily Baumgartner at 904-879-3406.