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  • Marcetta Linton

Town covered in green

When you come to Florida, you think of white sand beaches, tourism, even theme parks. Did you know about the lost city of Ellaville? Sitting in North Florida in the town of Lee is remanents of a lost era. George Drew founded the small town of Ellaville in about 1861, is estimated. If you don't know that name, maybe you should. George Drew was Florida's first governor after the reconstruction. This time frame was after the Civil War when a lot of the United States was under reconstruction. Ellaville was named after his long-time slave, Ella. In Ellaville, there was a store, sawmill, and even a bridge. Drew even built his governor's mansion on the banks of the Suwannee River, which seeing it now is hard to believe. The mansion was one of the first in Florida with modern amenities. The mill was the largest mill of the time employing over 500 people. By 1870, with the railroad building stops in the town, there were over 1,000 people in the city. The city thrived on the crop of pine.

So what happened to this booming town?

After his term as governor, Drew sold his shares of the mill to a corporation called Bucki. He left for the city of Jacksonville, it was unclear why he left. The sawmill burned to the ground in 1898, however, it was rebuilt; the pine was not there in abundance. During the early 1900's Ellaville was hit with severe flooding killing crops. Then the Great Depression hit the now small town. Finally, the city vanished in 1942 when the post office closed down.

In 1970, the Drew mansion burned to the ground leaving only the foundation. The sawmill is gone, some of the remnants are in the Suwannee State Park. The bridge is still standing all though it is graffitied all over now. The bridge is a popular spot for photographs. The town that was along the banks of the river is overtaken with lime rock. You can still see it though, you can even pay your respects at the graveyard in Suwannee State Park. Nature has quietly taken most of the city of Ellaville back, but you can still visit the remains of this gem.

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