Bryant

I went to Bryant, located in Palm Beach County, on 3/26/2017.

According to the ghost town website,

Bryant is a modern ghost town. It was set up by the United States Sugar Corporation to house workers and their families of the Bryant sugar mill, which began production in 1962. The mill closed April 11, 2007 as part of a larger-scale drawback of operations in the area, with approximately 200 jobs lost at the Bryant site. The factory and a few USSC buildings are still there, but the houses and all the people are gone. By Jim Pike

y Jim Pike

Sand Cut

I went to Sand Cut, located in Palm Beach County, on 3/26/2017.

According to the ghost town website,

In the 1920s and 1930s, Sand Cut was an isolated community whose residents made their living hunting and net-fishing on Lake Okeechobee. Migrant worker camps sprung up in the nearby farmlands and the Atlantic Coastline Railway had a spur track at Sand Cut to ship out produce and goods from the area. The town had its own school and prospered and grew until the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission banned commercial net-fishing on the lake, killing the main source of income for the small community. In the 1950s, many residents were forced out due to canal dredging on their properties. Today Sand Cut has only 7 or 8 residents, with the Florida Water Management District in the process of acquiring much of the remaining land to reinforce the dike around Lake Okeechobee. 

 by Jim Pike

Apix

I went to Apix, located in Palm Beach County, on 3/26/2017.

According to the ghost town website,

Apix is a ghost town that never was. In the late 1950s a plan was set in motion to develop, build, and test rocket engines powered by liquid hydrogen. It was thought that Russia’s Sputnik used liquid hydrogen fuel, and as such our government needed to develop its own technology to keep up. The test center would need to be in a remote location, for security as well as to minimize the damage any major test accidents may produce. Western Palm Beach County, barely inhabited at the time, seemed a perfect fit. United Aircraft acquired a large tract of land, ending up with 27 square kilometers of sand, scrub pine, and swamp –well suited for remote experimental engine testing. This land became Palm Beach County’s Pratt & Whitney location. During initial operations, wandering alligators were a common sight. The development and testing of liquid hydrogen fuel was highly classified, and called for a supreme level of secrecy. The project was given the code name “Suntan”, the location was referred to as “Mama Bear” (Papa and Baby Bear were two other aborted locations) and the site was known outwardy as the Apix Fertilizer Plant. Apix was an acronym for Air Products Incorportated, Experimental. The fertilizer association was encouraged by the Air Force and Air Products to hide the real identity of the product. Land near the test site was platted for houses, though strictly done to further conceal the true nature of the site. Thus, the “town” of Apix was born. Apix was even given a bogus population to add to its cover as a small fertilizer producing community. By late June 1959, the use of liquid hydrogen was determined to be too costly, the results were not deemed a significant enough improvement improvement over the current propulsion systems in place, and the project was abandoned. The Apix site was dismantled and the cover of being a small town was dropped. Despite the fact that it was never really a town, the Apix name still appears on road maps, and the railroad box signal box in front of Pratt & Whitney bears the Apix name as well. By Jim Pike

Modello

I completed Broward County today!!! I went to Modello, located in Broward County, on 3/24/2017.

According to the ghost town website, 

The town of Modello dates back to the 188s when much of Henry Flagler’s FEC railroad line was laid through the area. Modello is a contraction of Model Land Company, the business name of Flagler’s land sales division. Pioneer and developer W. C. Valentine planned out the settlement and Danish families from Chicago moved there in 1898-1899. The town grew to have a general store, schools, and a post office in 1902, with A. C. Frost as Modello’s first postmaster. When the Town was incorporated in November 1904, the residents, most of whom were Danes, changed the name to Dania. Early immigrants prospered in tomato farming and by 1910 the Florida East Coast Railway was shipping to northern U.S. cities from “The Tomato Capital of the World”. A tomato paste factory was set up in town, contributing to the local economy. By 1912, Dania was a thriving community of almost 1200 people and continued to grow through the 1920s when the City suffered tremendous setbacks. In 1925, the Dania Hotel caught fire, and the Bank of Dania failed due to embezzlers in the Bank’s home office. The 1926 hurricane with its 200 mile-per-hour winds devastated the Town, destroying most of the original buildings. The overwhelming damage prompted residents to vote for annexation to the neighboring City of Hollywood. Thus, Modello was no more. Later on the town reformed as Dania in its present form. By Jim Pike

Pine Level

I went to Pine Level, located in DeSoto County, on 3/4/2017. I completed DeSoto County!!!

According to the ghost town website,

Pine Level was one of the largest and only towns in Desoto County, which was founded in the 1850s. There was a courthouse, jail, two churches, saloons, stores, warehouses, many homes. There were so many gunfights on the streets of Pine Level that it rivaled any Wild, West Town. The wild gambling, drinking and gunplay atmosphere of the town was such that criminal gangs were drawn there. The infamous “Sarasota Gang” made Pine Level their headquarters. Most of the gang was captured and brought to trial in 1855. According to research done by Historian, James Warnke, the old jail “leaked prisoners like a sieve”. By the time of the trial only 9 were left. The trial drew National attention at the time. They were all acquitted and the money never found. In 1866, the town was made the county seat of then Manatee County. Pine Level only held the County seat for about 18 months and it was moved to nearby Arcadia on the Pease (Peace) River. Pine Level could not compete with Arcadia and the access to the river. The town slowly declined to a cattle and farming community until it disappeared completely. Research taken from an article by Gary Uebelhoer: The specifications for the Court House of 1866 was “a log house, 20 feet square in the cleaved 10-foot story with a room added to the end, 20 feet by 10 feet, with a partition through the room making two 10 foot Jury Rooms to be cased with 2-foot hart pine or cypress board and floored with planked or hyghed puncheon boards. One door in each side and two windows to be cased and faced with shutters. The house to be furnished with one table, 2 feet by 8 feet long, 22 10-foot benches, 1 box bench for the Judge.” There was a few inches of sawdust on the floor and all had to endure flea infestation. It was said to be “the worst courthouse in Florida.” The only standing structure on the town site today is the Pine Level Methodist Church, a single story white frame building. This structure is the bottom floor of the original school house that was used to replace the original Mehtodist Church (destroyed in the Hurricane of 1923) previously located immediately south across Pine Level Road. The top floor of this “new” church was destroyed by a hurricane in 1930 leaving only the first floor, which was re-roofed and is the present church. By Mike Woodfin

Liverpool

I went to Liverpool, located in DeSoto County, on 3/4/2017.

According to the ghost town website,

Liverpool was the southern point along the Peace River Phosphate Mining Company Railroad and a line that ran from Arcadia to docks along the Peace River. Phospate trains would reach Liverpool, which had a drying plant and barge loading facilities to ship the cargo off down river. The town was settled and platted in 1880, shorty after the discovery of phosphate in the area. The founder, John Cross of Liverpool England, envisioned it to be a large center of business and commerce. He operated the town general store, and J.E. Riley, who oversaw the mining operations, acted as mayor and local sheriff. With the phosphate industry fueling the economy, the town grew to include it’s own post office, hotel, newspaper, and stage stop. John Cross used his success and wealth from Liverpool to buy land and build in several areas of neighboring Charlotte county. By 1905, the Peace River pebble phosphate supply was tailing off, and the rail line was extended to the deeper waters of Punta Gorda and Boca Grande. The Liverpool terminus became a spur off the main route, operating for another few years until the local supply died out. And as the phosphate disappeared, so did the town. By the 1920s it was just another old mining town that faded away. By Jim Pike