the marion county confederate civil war memorial is located in veterans memorial park on the site of fort king. fort king was a fort built during the second seminole war. this memorial was originally on the grounds of the marion county courthouse. recently the modern courthouse was expanded and the memorial was moved to veterans park. this memorial is a standing soldier motif which is common in the south.
Palatka, the seat of Putnam County, has just 10,000 residents, lies on the western bank of the St. Johns River in Central Florida. The city was incorporated in 1853 and became a haven for northerners seeking relief from the col winters. Palatka burned to the ground in 1884 and was rebuilt with mostly stone buildings.
The second biggest national forest in Florida and the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River is the Ocala National Forest, established in 1908. The forest lies between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers, and it has 600 natural lakes and ponds. With 383,000 acres, it is also the southernmost forest in the continental United States.
The park offers trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, off road vehicle trails, boating, fishing, and even a few historic sites.
Ocala National Forest includes the 3000 acre Marshall Swamp, site of an old sugar plantation owned by J. Foster Marshall. The plantation itself has been abandoned for years and is now a forest, but the house has been rebuilt about 5 miles from the main road. It is privately owned and not open to the public.
The site of the historic marker is on County Road 314.
The historic marker reads:
Marshall Plantation Site
A short distance north of here stood the sugar plantation of Jehu Foster Marshall, established in 1855. At the start of the Civil War in 1861, Marshall was named a colonel in the Confederate Army and soon commanded one of General Wade Hamptons infantry units, the 1stSouth Carolina Rifles. Colonel Marshall was killed during the Second Battle of Manassas in August 1862. The plantation continued in operation under the supervision of his widow, Elizabeth Anne DeBrull Marshall, until March 10, 1865, when Union troops staged a surprise raid. The Marshall Plantation and the sugar mill were burned to the ground. The raid was conducted by elements of the 3rdUnited States Colored Infantry ,led by the black Sergeant Major Henry James. The Ocala Home Guard pursued the Union force and during the running battle, two of the home guard members were killed. After crossing the Ocklawaha River, the raiders set fire to the bridge. Company H, 2nd Florida Cavalry, lead by Captain J.J. Dickison, encamped at nearby Silver Springs, soon gave chase and succeeded in driving the Union troops into St. Augustine, and reclaiming all property seized during the raid.
FLORIDA HERITAGE SITE
MARION COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
the florida trail is a 1400 mile walking trail from pensacola to the big cypress swamp in southwest florida. the trail was founded by jim kern in the 1960's and is fashioned after the appalachian trail. the most popular section of the trail is through the ocala national forest. located just east of ocala there are a number of trail heads in the national forrest. on the ocala section of the trail you hike through saw palmetto scrub, pine islands, live oak hammocks, and past a number of small lakes and ponds. an excellent place to see florida wildlife and to fish lakes that are unknown to most people in florida. visit the florida trail website for more information.
the appleton museum houses the collection of arthur appleton. built in 1987 the museum has an excellent display of african, american, asian, european, and islamic art. the museum also hosts traveling collections from galleries from around the world.
silver glen springs is located 5 miles north of SR40 on US19 in the ocala national forest. silver glen springs has a nice swimming area and a half mile run to lake george. on weekends the run is filled with boats from lake george. if you are interested in wildlife watching or want a more peaceful spring experience it is better to visit the spring on week days.
alexander springs is located near juniper springs in the ocala national forest. alexander springs offers swimming, snorkeling, camping, hiking, and canoe rental. alexander springs is less crowded than juniper springs and maybe a good camping option if juniper is booked.
the develpment of juniper springs began in the 1930's as a CCC project under president franklin roosevelt's new deal program. to provide electricity for the develoment CCC workers built a mill in 1932 to produce electricity for the camp ground. today the mill is a museum.
juniper springs national recreation area is located about 35 miles east of ocala on SR40. juniper springs is one of the most beautiful springs in florida. you can rent a canoe for a trip down juniper creek which is one of the most scenic trips in the state of florida. on the canoe trip it is possible to see alligators, wild turkey, deer, and other florida wildlife. juniper springs offers camping, hiking, picnicking, swimming, and canoeing. call 352-625-2808 for canoe reservations. to reserve a camp site call 1-877-444-6777.
the silver river state park is located a quarter mile south of silver springs. the park offers cabins, camping, canoeing, and 18 miles of hiking and bike trails. in addition to the natural attractions of the park it has a good museum about the area around silver springs. the admission charge is $3, considerably less than silver springs.
silver springs is also a zoological park featuring florida wildlife. the animals are displayed in their natural settings. also there is a alligator and snake show at the park. years ago the ross allen reptile institute was based at silver springs. allen would stand in a pit full of rattle snakes and would "milk" them for their venom. a number of years ago a snake handler was killed by a rattlesanke bite during one of the shows and the rattlesnake shows were discontinued.
one of the oldest and most popular things to do at silver springs is to view the spring in a glass bottom boat. glass bottom boats were first used at silver springs in the 1870's. a interesting way to view beautiful silver springs.
silver springs is one of the oldest and most visited natural attractions in florida. silver springs is one of the largest springs in the world. carl ray and w.m. davidson developed the land around the spring as a tourist attraction in the 1920's. the park's main focus is on florida wildlife and river culture. one admission price covers all the rides and shows at the park. the park offers glass bottom boat rides, a jungle cruise, and florida wildlife displays. there are also restaurants and bars on premises. the admission price is expensive, a ticket and parking fee costs $40. the admission fee to the silver river state park just down the road is only $3. i recommend this park to the tourist that plans to visit one spring while in florida and wants to see florida wildlife without having to visit the swamps and woods of back country florida.
This is an unusal attraction. Built around 7 antural springs and about the stunningly clear and abosultely beautiful Silver River, this is (apparently) where glass-bottomed boats were invented, back in 1878.
The Tarzan moveies and The Abyss were filmed here!
There are no rides to thrill - it's just to show the beauty of the place... and the glass-bottomed boat ride is like no other - you cruise very slowly over the eel grass and pass over 6 small (underwater) spring formations...and then you get to the Mammouth Spring which is just spectacular. Mammouth Spring is the world's largest artesaian limestone spring.
The "Lost River Voyage" is a boat ride through dense jungle which is rather nice. Then there is a Jeep Safari - a very bumpy ride through 35acres of African and Asian animals.
Gators and hunderds of red-eared sliders (terrapins)... clearly, this is their territory!
Whilst the scenery was the Mammouth Spring was gorgeous my thoughts on Silver Springs are :
1) It was a long detour to get to it and was it worth it? Not really.
2) Some of the animals this park held had been removed because there was an issue over their wefare - Could I believe that? Yes, actually and sadly I could. The two tall, elegent giraffes looked as sad as their enclosure which absolutely stank - it did not look like much time or energy was spent looking after these wonderful gentle giants.
3) Possibly it was just the day we visited but all the red-necks from around and about were also here and the local trailor park was obviously on it's annual outing too - but, as I say, possibly just bad timing on our part.