Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This is the Thursby House located inside Blue Springs State Park in Florida. It was built at the junction of Blue Springs Run and the St. Johns River. At one time, it was a major stop along the river for huge riverboats carrying cargo and passengers en route north to Jacksonville FL or points south toward the headwaters of the St. Johns. At one time, hundreds of passengers per day disembarked here.

And then, suddenly, the railroads arrived in Florida. In short order, the riverboats found themselves competing with rail cars. The rails won. In a matter of months, the Thursby House went from a thriving business to a lost backwater where only sportsmen came to hunt and fish. And then, the house was abandoned.

It sits now, restored as a museum where a new generation of visitors can walk through the lower floor and sit on the wide porch and look out on the lawn and the river and the spring run. Gone are the riverboats. Closing in on what was once a wilderness acting as a buffer to this place is the urban sprawl that is rapidly creeping all across the state of Florida, wiping out everything that was once wild, destroying all that was once rural.


Steve Malley said...

Wow. I had no idea.

Next time a holiday takes me through Florida, I want to look this one up...

HemlockMan said...

The first magnitude springs of Florida are pure beauty and unsurpassed fun. I highly recommend them as vacation destinations.

Ichetucknee. Wekiwa. Juniper. Alexander. Silver. The list of springs gushing out millions of gallons of crystal clear water is extensive. There are dozens of them there--rivers of untouched water that suddenly erupt from the limestone earth. They're fantastic.