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Posts Tagged ‘Perry’

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After the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll face one of the two really long and lonely sections of US 98: the 40 mile stretches on either side of Perry. Kind of nice in the daytime, but at night they’re downright spooky. No street lights, hardly any houses or commercial buildings, and very little traffic. You feel like you’re the last person on Earth. Another part of the state I tell people about when they complain about how over-urbanized Florida is.

Halfway between St. Marks and Perry (6 miles down CR 14) is a very popular place for boaters, Econfina River State Park. It has some picnic areas, as most of the state parks do, but no beaches. (see Google map)

Just before you get to Perry, take a right at CR 356 to see a forgotten fragment of Florida history, Hampton Springs. The Hampton Inn was a very popular resort here way back when, but time and traffic patterns shifted and it faded into obscurity. Taylor County recently converted the old Inn grounds into a park. You can see the remains of the foundation and imagine what was. (see Google map)

Only a few miles on is the crossroads city of Perry, the Taylor County seat.

So, what is there to do in Perry? Don’t really know, as I mostly just pass through. As a lot of folks do, I’d wager. Four major US highways go through it: US 19, US 27, US 98, and US 221. But perhaps most importantly, what doesn’t come anywhere near here is any interstate. Which could have made Perry dry up and blow away like so many other towns after the Interstate Highway System was finished. But there was enough industrial (mostly lumber) and government “business” (it being the county seat) to keep it going. Perry does rather sprawl, and seems to have most of the amenities you’d expect in a city much larger. You’ll see them all on the way to the historic downtown. Get to US 221 and head north. Once you cross a canal and some railroad tracks, it’s like you’ve stepped back into the 20th century. The early part, that is.

The city put together a walking tour so you can see the historic sites (see here). The map’s a bit fuzzy though, so I put together the same route on Google maps. The addresses are approximate, but if you look at the pictures, you’ll know what’s what. The only two NRHPs in the county are here, the old post office and the old jail. (see Google map)

  • Perry Historic Station (Old Train Depot) (310 South Jefferson Street)
  • Big Bend Hospice (aka The Blair Building) (Jefferson Street and Green Street)
  • Bloodworth Sundries (Jefferson Street and Green Street)
  • Old Perry Shoe Store (Jefferson Street and Green Street)
  • Rosehead Junction (aka The Schwartz Building) (Jefferson Street and Green Street)
  • Old Perry Post Office (201 East Green Street) (NRHP)
  • Big Bend Fitness (50 South Washington Street)
  • The Emporium/Peacock Building (50 South Washington Street)
  • Taylor County Historical Society (Main and Washington Streets) (AGFHA)
  • First United Methodist Church (300 North Jefferson Street)
  • Greystone (300 N Jefferson Street)
  • O’Quinn’s Pharmacy (200 North Jefferson Street)
  • Photos, Frames & Trophies (200 North Jefferson Street)
  • Wells Jewelers (200 North Jefferson Street)
  • Dansby Building (151 North Jefferson Street)
  • Beggs Funeral Home (formerly Old First Presbyterian Church) (201 West Main Street)
  • Capital City Bank (aka The Dixie Taylor Hotel) (115 West Green Street)
  • Perry Office Supply (115 West Green Street)
  • Old Taylor County Jail (400 North Washington Street) (NRHP)
  • Taylor County Courthouse (108 North Jefferson St)

Go south once you’ve done the tour and catch US 98 south. Before you leave town, you can visit Forest Capital Museum State Park, which recounts the history of the lumber industry in the region. Contrary to Google maps, it’s on the west side of US 98 near the airport. (see Google map)

Remember that it’s 40 miles to the next town, Cross City. There is a convenience store on the corner of SR 51 and US 98, but I’d fill up before you leave Perry, just in case.

Before you get that far, though, you can take a detour on CR 361 and travel through a very marshy-scrubby part of the state. It’s 35 miles until you get to the next outpost of civilization, the remote and drowsy town of Steinhatchee. I think it’s properly pronounce Steen-hatchee, though I usually say Stine-hatchee. It’s on the Steinhatchee River, and the main industries are fishing and scalloping and get-away-from-it-all tourism. The town dates back at least to the early 1900s, so It’s old enough to have historical stuff. I’ve not found any, so maybe they couldn’t preserve it like Cedar Key did. (see Google map)

From here, the easiest way to get back to US 98 is up SR 51. If you kept going north, you’d eventually wind up in Mayo. Or go southeast on US 98 to Cross City.

That’s all for now, folks. See you on the road!

Route length: 95 miles

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The old Taylor County Jail is in Perry, at the eastern fringe of the Panhandle. It was built in 1912, and is now the home of law offices. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See more photos here‎.

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At last, I got out on a roadtrip the weekend before last. I went on Sunday (the 6th). I prefer going out on Saturdays normally, as that gives me Sunday to start sorting through photos. However, that Saturday the weather was crappy, so there you go. I left about 6 in the AM, to get a good headstart. It was 36 degrees when I left around dawn. Cold for Florida, but I like it that way. It just invigorates me.

The first hour or so of the trip was in the car anyway, so I stayed quite toasty. I got to the first stop in my jaunt, High Springs, around 8 AM. Took some odds and ends photos around town, then headed north. I wasn’t intending on stopping at the bridge over the Santa Fe River, but I like taking river photos. As it was, I got some nice shots, including the first one above, which turned out way better than I thought.

Then it was off north, crossing old Bellamy Road, to O’Leno State Park, the site of my first SCA event back in ’78. What little I remember, the park hasn’t changed much. I walked along the Santa Fe River to where it goes underground. I planned to walk to where it comes up again, in River Rise Preserve State Park, but that’s 3 miles. Would have taken way too much time and might’ve worn me out some. So that’ll have to be another trip. Whilst there, the sky started getting dingy. It was on and off like that the rest of the day.

Went to Fort White to get some better pictures of a couple of places I’d visited previously, the Sikes House and Fort White Public School, both on the National Register of Historic Places.

After that, I started “springs hopping” and hit Ichetucknee Springs State Park, the north entrance. It was weird, there being no one there. But the tubing down the river stops in the winter. Part of my plan, actually, so I could get shots of the springs unobstructed. And the stepping stones therein, as the second picture shows. I then went to the south entrance. I was most peeved, since there was no ranger at either entrance, so I couldn’t get my park passport stamped, grrr.

Now I was on US 27, near which I’d be staying the next few hours. I stopped in Branford and got shots of the Suwannee River, which I wound up crossing in a few spots along the way. Then I went of US 27 a bit to hit Troy Springs State Park. Nice park, and there were people diving! It was still chilly, so better them than me.

Next was Mayo, and I got 3 buildings. Those being the current Lafayette County Courthouse (the third picture), the Old Lafayette County Courthouse, and the House of the Seven Gables (the Florida version).

Went up SR 51 and crossed the Hal W. Adams Bridge, then got to Peacock Springs State Park. More divers! Also, the narrowest, ruttiest, twistiest road in any state park I’ve ever seen. Potholes were huge. The springs were neat, though.

Back down to US 27. Almost forgot Lafayette Blue Springs State Park. Maybe I shoulda, since they were doing a bunch of construction, and there was no ranger, so there’s another stamp to re-try getting.

After that was the long stretch. It’s nearly an hour’s drive to the next town, Perry, with not much of anything between. Got shots of the two NRHP sites in the town (and the county, for that matter), the Old Perry Post Office and the Old Taylor County Jail. Also took photos of the Taylor County Courthouse, the last one above being an example. It’s not “historic”, per se, since it was built around the 1970s. I like it a lot though, it’s nicer looking than most modern courthouses.

Perry was the turnaround point, where I started heading southward towards home. First I stopped at the Forest Capital Museum State Park. Nice little place, and nice ranger. By now it was 4:30-ish, and I knew I wouldn’t get home until well after sundown. Another stretch of even more nothing is what US 19/98 is like going away from Perry, and it’s nearly another hour until you reach the next town, Cross City. Stopped at a Hardee’s there. I miss Hardee’s, there aren’t any in Gainesville or Ocala. I usually try hitting a Hardee’s for breakfast on my roadtrips, as they usually tide me over for quite a while. I was starving, though, as I hadn’t eaten all day. Crazy, huh? Still, worth the wait. The Portobello Mushroom burger, yum!

I found the county courthouse and got some shots of that. It looks like a big warehouse. One of the least courthouse-ey looking courthouses I ever did see. It was just about sunset, so that was the last thing of which I could get pictures. But I was in pretty familiar territory by that point. Chiefland, Williston, and then home around 8 PM.

Mileage: 306
Photos: over 340

Yes, I can take that many pictures in a day. Why I love my digital camera, ’cause I don’t have to worry about wasting film. And I’d say about half the pictures I take turn out decent enough to save, so I’m doing good.

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