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)
This page was last updated: April 3, 2015
Musslewhite Commissary is the last of it's kind in Nassau County and a rarity across the nation.
The WNHS is the recipient of 80 commissary artifacts donated by Nan Musslewhite and her siblings Dale and Charlene in the last month. It was 87 years ago that their grandfather, Cecil M. Musslewhite, Sr., came to Nassau County from Georgia and purchased hundreds of acres, a turpentine still and a commissary. With the 1951 death of Cecil Sr. His sons, Cecil Jr. and Eugene assumed ownership. With Eugene pursuing other interests, Cecil Jr. operated the commissary until its closing about 1960. What remains today is now a shell of the 100 year old commissary and memories of an industry which, at one time, was the largest industry in the nation.
In recent months it was the Musslewhite's intension to donate the commissary intact along with the artifacts that remained in its interior to our historical society. The building structure was evaluated for a move five miles south to the society's Callahan location but it was determined that it's structural condition would not stand the move and would be exceedingly cost prohibitive.
Not wanting to diminish or discard the memory of what was a major part of Nassau County and the nation's economy a hundred to two hundred years ago, the society now plans to reproduce the commissary at about 50 percent of its original size. It will be constructed on the depot grounds in Callahan, 10x16 feet in size. The interior will somewhat duplicate the interior of the original with counters and shelves displaying some of the goods sold in its earlier days and tools used in the gathering and processing of the gum of the Long Leaf Yellow Pine. The artifacts will be displayed along with others tools and information donated to the society over the past 5 years.
Cecil Musslewhite, Jr. in front of the commissary, circa 1940. Note that the front façade above the porch roof is the old west or Hollywood style. The reproduction of the commissary will have this same style of architecture.
Nan standing proud at her father and grandfather's legacy.
The walls, floor and ceiling where all constructed of cedar.
The day that the artifacts were collected and moved to the depot and safe keeping.
Nan Musslewhite and John Hendricks holding up an article written about Cecil Jr. and the commissary about 30 years ago.
Three year old preschoolers from First Impressions visited the depot and caboose and, like all youngsters loved playing in the caboose. Operation Lifesaver coloring books were distributed and seemed to be the hit of the day.
WEST NASSAU HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO DEDICATE STATE HISTORIC MARKER AT KINGS FERRY
ON SATURDAY, MARCH 14
West Nassau Historical Society Press Release (February 7, 2015)
The West Nassau Historical Society will dedicate the official state Kings Ferry historical marker on Saturday, March 14, at 10 AM at the Kings Ferry Boat Ramp. The brief ceremony caps a nearly two-year long project by the all volunteer nonprofit to place a marker at the quiet, yet historic hamlet. The first draft of the marker text was written after holding meetings with area residents and researching the Revolutionary War-era river crossing of the Kings Road upon the St. Marys River. The second phase included several text-editing and review meetings with the State of Florida and months of fundraising projects and events to pay for the state-sanctioned marker. A wooden directional signpost pointing toward the various locales along the river and road will be erected beside the marker. Historical Society President Emily Baumgartner will preside over the ceremony where guests will be welcomed, donors acknowledged, and the marker unveiled. The Nassau Board of County Commissioners will also be thanked for approving the marker location on the County-maintained boat ramp located at the end of Bill Johnson Road. Other group members will serve light refreshments. Afterwards, visitors are encouraged to visit nearby area sites mentioned in the marker text. The public is invited to attend but are encouraged to bring their lawn chair as seating and parking are limited. The West Nassau Historical Society is a 501c3 nonprofit in its 40th year of highlighting and promoting the rich and diverse history that is western Nassau County, FLA. Anyone wishing to help with this or future projects or help us in celebrating our county's history please contact us at 904-879-3406 or visit our website at www.wnhsfl.org. Our next general monthly meeting is Thursday, February 26, inside the annex of the historic Callahan Train Depot, 45383 Dixie Ave., starting with a pot luck dinner at 6:30 pm followed by the meeting at 7 pm.