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 26, 2015
A major addition to the grounds and museum is the scaled down version of the Musslewhite Turpentine Commissary, the last vintage of the turpentine industry that at one time was county and nationwide. Cecil Musslewhite, Sr. and his two sons, Cecil Jr. and Eugene, harvested from several thousands of acres, operated a distillery and shipped their turpentine to ports around the world. The commissary that is situated four miles up what is now Musslewhite Road, north of Callahan, is the remnant of their empire. The distillery itself is long gone, its memory remaining somewhere in the forest north of the old Musslewhite homestead.
In the summer of 2013, the Musslewhite family donated the old commissary and much of its contents to the West Nassau Historical Society to perpetuate Cecil's legacy and that of the turpentine industry. The old commissary, however, was not structurally sound to have moved it to the historical society grounds. The decision was made to reproduce the old building in a smaller scale to display Musslewhite contributions and other related artifacts. Sadly, the actual building was demolished in the summer of 2014, leaving behind memories and the artifacts that have been entrusted to the West Nassau Historical Society.
2013-2014: Constructing the building's exterior.
Grant and Harold have hammer their way to completing the exterior before Friday's first day of the festival. The interior will be completed sometime in the next few months. The artifacts, temporarily are displayed in the depot annex building with members of the Musslewhite family there to answer questions and talk about the two Cecils and Eugene.
Nan. This one is for you. Pictured is head craftsman Grant Barrows snoozing on the porch rail of the the commissary just as you did many years ago.
Musslewhite Commissary Turpentine Artifacts Project
2014-2015: Constructing the building's interior and ramp access.
2014: The Artifact display during the 2014 RRDays
2015: The Artifact display during the 2015 RRDays
2013: Receiving the artifacts and obtaining the building.
Grant and Harold began the first phase of transforming the unfinished building into a display area by installing insulation and paneling and adding an air conditioning unit. John Hendricks and Jan Johannes adding the interior shelves and moulding and built the access ramp. Special thanks to Rayonier and Brandies Ace Hardware for their assistance in obtaining the materials.
Ted Howard prepared a splendid turpentine artifact display for the 2014 Railroad Days.
Aided by his brother, Richard, co-founder Johannes worked his magic by producing a permanent top-notch turpentine display for the building that was opened to the public during our 2015 Railroad Day Festival.
After we discovered that the real commissary could not be feasibly moved, the Historical Society purchased a building that was 1/3 the size of the actual building and placed it on the historic Callahan Train Depot campus. Special thanks to Rayonier for their financial help with purchasing the building.
The grand opening of the Musslewhite Turpentine Display Building on Saturday, April 18, 2015.
Nan, Ricky, and Charlene Musslewhite with their mother standing in front of the turpentine artifact display that they donated to the West Nassau Historical Society.
@All photos copyright West Nassau Historical Society unless otherwise noted.