James S <fla077ipn@...>
I have spent many hours looking at Google Earth maps noticing how many of the state and county roads appear as though they may have been, in a former time, railroad track beds which have long since been converted to the aforementioned roads. For instance a quick glance at Keystone Heights, FL in Clay County will reveal a few roads which contain those lazy railroad-friendly curves. It isn't hard to imagine a time around the end of the 1800's before cars came on the scene where everything and everybody basically traveled by rail. These roads could have been where trains once roamed. But since the advent of cars many of these right of ways may have been given back to the state for the purpose of vehicular travel. My problem has been trying to prove this.
I am aware of the Rails-to-Trails efforts in more "recent" times such as the Palatka Lake Butler State Trail which runs through Keystone Heights but this isn't exactly what I am referring to. There was a railroad in the late 1800's which ran from Green Cove Springs, FL to Melrose, FL which I discovered a time-table for online. I can't seem to locate it at the moment but the stops basically demonstrate the route ran South out of GCS in a Southwesterly direction towards an area now known as McRae passing near Goldhead State Park then roughly State Road 21 into Keystone and onward. It may have been known as Green Cove Springs & Melrose RR. Additionally, there may have been many roads used for logging and such which have disappeared but may have also become roads.
As I've stated I am having difficulty proving my theory. Any help in this area will be greatly appreciated. As an aside I feel this method of right of ways becoming state and county roads seems to be something which occurred nationwide. But naturally my home state is more the focus yet I won't reject any proof for other states