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: April 6, 2020
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, May 28, 6:30 p May pot luck, general meeting, elections, open to public
Saturday in June, TBA Callahan video walking tour
Friday in July TBA Red, White and You Ice Cream Social
Saturday in Sept TBA Bryceville video walking tour
Saturday, Nov 7, 9a-4p 15th Railroad Day/4th Hobos, Hot Rods, and Heroes 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
15th Railroad Day now on
Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020
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..
Red, White and You
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
5th RAILROAD DAY FESTIVAL AND CLASSIC CAR SHOW IN CALLAHAN RESCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2020.
(A West Nassau Historical Society Press Release – March 17, 2020)
With the uncertainty of the current Coronavirus pandemic along with the CDC’s newly released guidelines regarding crowd limitations, the Board of Directors of the West Nassau Historical Society has decided to reschedule our 2020 Railroad Day Festival and Classic Car Show from this April 18 to Saturday, November 7, 2020. This new date had already been set aside for our fall Hobo Day so now we will use the autumn Saturday to celebrate both our rich railroad history along with the fabled rail riders of yore.
This decision was not an easy one to make considering the ever-changing aspects of this very fluid national health crisis. The West Nassau Historical Society is an all-volunteer nonprofit and we rely heavily on the proceeds that we receive from this one day event. Many of our members have already put in countless hours preparing the historic 1881 Callahan Train Depot, stage and grounds for our 15th Railroad Day and Car Show. We were very excited about opening in a few weeks the doors of our beloved depot to visitors both young and the young at heart. However, the health and well-being of the people of our community, especially our senior citizens, are paramount to anything else.
In the coming days we will be reaching out to our sponsors, supporters, entertainers, exhibitors and vendors and explain our situation. Those arts/craft and food vendors who have paid for their spots will be given full credit to use on our new November 7th date or at our 16th Railroad Day Festival and Car Show to be held on April 17, 2021. Any questions will be addressed via CallahanRRdays@aol.com.