Sparkman

Charlotte County is completed!!! Yayee!!!

Sparkman is located in Charlotte County. I went there today (3/20/2016.)

According to the ghost town site,

Sparkman was a turpentine and sawmill town just a short ways north of Bermont. Sources claim it was named either for Senator John Sparkman or a real estate investor named Thomas Sparkman. The area was first settled around 1905 and continued to grow until the mid 1910s. In addition to the sawmill and turpentine stills, it had a school that doubled as a church on weekends, a general store, and like Bermont it had it’s own local baseball team. Sparkman also received it’s own post office in 1914. The Florida Land Boom lead to investors purchasing large areas of land in Sparkman. Very ambitious subdivisions were platted out and even had streets and sidewalks put in. However, few were sold before the boom collapsed in 1925. By 1926, only seven families still lived in Sparkman. The investor-owned properties eventually went to the government for back taxes, and by the time the post office closed in 1942, Sparkman was already abandoned. Today most of the former townsite is part of the Hall Ranch. Little still exists from the old town. By Jim Pike

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Bermont

Today i completed Charlotte County! Yahoo!

Bermont is located in Charlotte County. I went here today (3/20/2016.)

According to the ghost town website,

Bermont was a sawmill town settled in the early 1900s. In addition to lumber, the town was known for it’s sugarcane; which was used to make juice and syrup. Bermont grew to have a general store, a post office in 1908, and a school that doubled as a church on weekends. There was also a weekly newspaper, a debating society, and a horticulture and literary club. Most important of all to it’s residents was the Bermont Baseball Team that frequently played the nearby rival town of Sparkman. By Jim Pike

Perky

Perky is located on Sugarloaf Key, Florida (Monroe County). I went here on 9/25/2015.

Perky Florida was located on Sugarloaf Key, Fl at the end of Sugarloaf Boulevard and US 1. The town of Perky was originally known as the plantation town of Chase when it was formed in the early 20th century. By the 1920s an investor known as Richter Perky bought up the land rights in hopes of turning the town of 500 into a resort town with the coming of highway SR 4a the original Overseas Highway. Perky pushed to have Sugarloaf Boulevard built to connect vehicle traffic to his resort from SR 4a when it was first construction. The town of Perky is known mostly today for its Bat Tower that was constructed in 1929 that remains standing. The Perky Bat Town was supposed to house 1,000 bats that were brought in from New Jersey that would eat the local population of mosquitos. When the bats were first released, they took off and never came back. The Perky Lodge and Resort closed in 1940, two years after the modern Overseas Highway on US 1 and was routed within less than a mile from it. Today what is left of Perky is largely part of a community known today as Sugarloaf Shores. By Tom Fearer

Peters

Peters is located in Miami, Florida (Miami-Dade County). I went here on 9/25/2015.

According to the Ghosttown website,

In 1896, settler Tom Peters came to the area south of Miami hoping to capitalize on its rich soil and fertile land. By the following year, he had started what would become a phenomenally successful tomato industry. He was very innovative in developing fertilizers for the soil and devising a packing and shipping method that would keep his product fresh during shipment. By 1902, he had built a wooden track railroad, which pre-dated Henry Flagler’s future Florida East Coast Railway. Peters track spanned 4 miles, leading from the town of Peters to the town of Cutler. The rail cars were pulled by mule and could move two cars trips per day, with a combined load of approximately 1,000 crates of tomatoes. Tom Peters became known as “The Tomato King” and is crediting with starting south Dade County’s first multi-million dollar business. The Flagler railroad was built running right thru Peters, which helped business immensely. However, the citrus canker epidemic of 1913 caused many nearby orange groves to be sprayed with pesticides, burned, and destroyed, all of which had a negative impact on the tomato fields and the south Florida agricultural industry itself. The Hurricane of 1926 destroyed much of the South Dade area, followed by the Great Depression. Tom Peters went on to own Miami’s prestigious Halcyon Hotel, but the town of Peters did not recover. In 1948 it was annexed into neighboring Perrine and ceased to exist. By Jim Pike

Naranja

Naranja is located in Miami, Florida (Miami-Dade County). I went here on 9/25/2015.

According to the Ghosttown website,

The town of Naranja began in 1904 as an area filled with orange groves. It became one of the railroad towns along Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railroad. William Moody, of the Brown and Moody General Store, named the town Naranja after the Spanish word for orange, because he liked the way it sounded. In 1913, a major citrus canker epidemic destroyed most of the crops, severely damaging the local economy. In 1926, a powerful hurricane ended what was becoming a major land boom in this tiny South Florida community, further crippling the area financially. In 1935, a devastating Category 5 Hurricane claimed the lives of hundreds in the Florida Keys, and left the railroad line south of Miami in shambles. It was not rebuilt, bringing the original vision of Naranja as a railroad town to an end. By Jim Pike

Gulf City

Gulf City is a small town located in Florida (Hillsborough County). I went here on 7/27/2015.

According to the Ghosttown website,

Gulf City was founded in the mid 17th century. It was founded by a British Pirate by the name of Ben Margoza. In the 19th century, it went into decline. In 1865, it was listed as having a population of over 76 residents. The town included a post office. However, by the 1920s, the town was abandoned for lack of income for many of its residents. The townsite of Gulf City is now owned by Hillsborough County and sits completely abandoned. By Gerry Berrios

Sun City

Sun City is a small city in Florida (Hillsborough County). I went here on 7/27/2015.

According to the Ghosttown website,

Back in 1925, old Sun City came into being about 3 miles south of Ruskin. Sun City was promoted as Florida’s Moving Picture City and enticed buyers with the prospect of living among stars of the silver screen. As part of this promotion, streets were named after prominent film stars, directors and studios of the period. Many of the streets still exist and here-and-there you can still see the curbing from 1925. One of the streets is named Blythe Avenue. Betty Blythe was known in the silent screen era for her very revealing costumes. But most modern day folks would know her as the elegant Queen of Transylvania in the embassy ball scene in My Fair Lady, where she stops and addresses Audrey Hepburn.
Back in 1925, the Sun City developer also spent $300,000 to build a 70 by 190 foot movie studio, described as: This building, of Spanish-Moorish architecture, is of steel construction and fireproof throughout, with walls of brick and tile overlaid with stucco and having an attractive mother of pearl finish. No expense was spared to make this studio both beautiful and practical. In addition to the four business offices, there are vaults, cutting room, developing facilities, projection room, spacious carpenter ship and property room, and a score of dressing rooms, baths and waiting rooms. A departure from the conventional studio is the visitor’s gallery, from which guests may witness filming of the silver screen celebrities and any studio work. The lofty tower affords a splendid view of the entire town, the glistening waters of Tampa Bay and the Little Manatee, and of the surrounding woodlands in all directions.
After the Florida land-bubble burst in 1932, the development went under and the movie studio was razed. The road back to the current Hide-A-Way RV camp is built on the right-of-way for the boulevard that led back to the studio.
There was also a $100,000 power plant to supply electricity to the community and the movie studio. After Sun City went bust, the power plant equipment was sold to Boca Grande. The power plant building still exists as an antique business on the west side of Route 41. It’s the building with the tall windows that have arches at the top. Mike and Aaron Woodfin

Balm

Balm is a small city in Florida (Hillsborough County). I went here on 7/27/2015.

According to the Ghosttown website,

This town was originally named Doris, when it was established on May 14, 1902 but was later changed to Balm on June 7, 1902. Originated by the Hicks family in 1905, Balm was a farming community of the Hicks, Sweat, and Fox families. The first Post Office was the train station where the mail was hung outside and the train grabbed it while they went through town. The tracks are gone and the town is nothing more than a store and Post Office. Mr. and Mrs Sweat (85 years old) still live there. His father was the second postmaster and his wife was the third. By Mike and Aaron Woodfin

Koreshan State Historic Park

Koreshan State Historic Park is located in Estero, Florida (Lee County). I went here on 12/28/2014.

According to the Ghosttown website,

The remains of an unusual pioneer settlement can be found on the banks of the Estero River in Lee County. In 1884, Cyrus Teed came from Chicago to start a new religion and a new way of life called “Koreshanity”. He called it a “New Jerusalem”. Teed felt that God was both Male and Female and that the Earth was enclosed with all the stars and planets and we lived inside. By 1893, the colony began and flourished until the death of Teed in 1908. The group declined until the four remaining inhabitants gave the property to the state in 1961. By Mike Woodfin