Just prior to the Great Depression, 91 miles of road had been laid, the most important being State Highway 3, which runs along present day US17, except that it curved west of Doctors lake to avoid building a bridge. At that time, Peoria was an important little settlement.
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Parade of Memories discusses the first modern roads on pg 184.
Alachua - St. Mary's Road
Leading from St. Mary's to Alachua following Trail Ridge, a still-older Indian trail. Mrs. Monroe's was at the intersection of this road and the trail to Black Creek.
FHQ Vol 66, No 1. "The Alachua - St. Mary's Road"
Also called the Federal Road from Pensacola to St. Augusine, completed by John Bellamy in 1825. The area has changed so little, the photo can't be narrowed down to within one hundred years. If you plan to travel the entire length, you'll need 1) all day, 2) a four-wheel drive truck, and 3) the advice from someone at the Archives about where it is exactly. Neil Coker indicates in a WPA Oral Interview that it was built with slave labor.
Bellamy Road is historically significant not only because of its military use, but also because it defines the southern border of much of the county.
Road from Jacksonville to Green Cove Springs
On March 13, 1898, [Goold] T. Butler completed a 12 mile survey for a shell road from Jacksonville to Green Cove Springs. (Florida Times Union) It was built in 1899. A. M. Reads diary from Mulberry Grove often mentions privately filling the potholes. The Clay County portion of this mostly followed present day US 17, except that it veered west of Doctors Lake to avoid building a bridge there. When paved it was called State Highway 3.
By 1917 this road was paved to within two miles of the Putnam County line.
Black Creek (Mouth) Bridge
Dedicated June 16, 1917 and modeled after the Branning bridge on the North Fork.
The bridge is near the mouth of the river, where Highway 17 is today. Built by Bryan Jennings. Louise Saunders remembers it was out one time, so she couldn't take the school bus from Orange Park to high school in Green Cove Springs (the only one in the county). The bridge was too wobbly to allow firetrucks from Jacksonville to fight the Magnolia Springs Hotel fire.
See also the Register Ferry.
Black Creek (North Fork) Bridge
On the South Fork of Black Creek as early as 1842 (Parade of Memories, pg 58). This may be the first important bridge in the County.
Shown on map CCA101810 going west from Green Cove Springs.
An important early road (see Parade of Memories, pg 10)
West Tocoi looking north 1953
Parade of Memories discusses a small number of these ferries on pg 179.
Black Creek (probably one of the ones below)
Began operation in the 1850s until 1885, when the County took over.
An 1832 description of Black Creek (from House Documents of the 13th Congress, related to building a trans-Florida canal):
Black Creek, at its entrance into the St. John, presents a wide cove, across which stretches a bar, having a depth of 8 feet at high tide, and 6 ½ feet at low tide. After crossing this bar, the depth increases, and 12 feet may be carried as far up as the fork, 12 ½ miles from the St. John. At Branum’s ferry, 5 miles below the fork, the depth is 35 feet, and the width about 120 yards
The first private ferry chartered after the war. Located on the South Prong of Black Creek, where Branning's bridge had been.
Later became Garey's Ferry, and still later owned by Charles Willey.
George Frisbee operated a ferry in Middleburg beginning in 1878.
Gad Frisbee's Place Ferry
George's brother Gadsden operated a ferry two miles east of the fork (3 1/2 miles by water) in 1885.
Previously Clark's Ferry, and later owned by Charles Willey. Named after Samuel Garey. At the Middleburg boat ramp.
A county ferry from 1877. It was not in use from 1881 until 1883 when repairs were required. In 1885 it was moved to Moss's mMill.
Moss' Mill Ferry
After the Civil War, BCC minutes show citizens of Middleburg and vicinty requsted a change of location of the ferries on Black Creek, by moving the ferry at M. A. Knights to Moss' sawmill and to consolidate Chalkers and Brannings ferries into one at the forks of Black Creek. Signed M. A. Knight, A. C. Chalker, Ivy Williamson, T. J. Dillaberry, Henry Ayers, Charlie Bardin, J. R. Shore, Gad Frisbee, Elias Tedder, M. F Geiger, J. J. Dillaberry, A. H. Moss, W. W. Hull, Jr., M. H. Teratus.
Mentioned in the canal report of 1832. Where it landed in the Clay County areas is unknown.
James Register began operation in January, 1879. Replced by Register Bridge May 3, 1883 -- the only covered bridge in the county. On October 5, 1894 the bridge was washed out by a storm, so the ferry began operations again. Finally the Bryan Jennings bridge was completed.
Swimming Pen Creek Ferry
The County operated a ferry from 1879 through 1893. A bridge was built in 1893, burned in 1894, and replaced.
At the mouth of Black Creek. Operated by Alfred Taylor from 1853, then by James Feurcee. The County took possession in 1874. A drawbridge replaced the ferry on January 1, 1901.