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  1. #1
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    Default The Old Brick Road Espanola

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    Subscribe to the Record E-mail A Link Printer Friendly Version Post Your Opinion .yahooBuzzBadge-form a { font-weight:bold!important; padding-left:2px!important; text-indent:25px!important; } Yahoo! Buzz Road leads into the past
    Local 66-mile stretch was a segment of the route from Sault Ste. Marie to Miami Beach
    By MARCIA LANE | More by this reporter | marcia.lane@staugustine.com | Posted: Monday, November 2, 2009 ; Updated: 12:56 AM on Monday, November 2, 2009
    STORY PHOTOS


    Click thumbnails to enlarge
    The Old Brick Road runs for 11 miles from State Road 204 in St. Johns Count to Espanola in Flagler County. The brick road is part of the Dixie Highway that ran from Sault Sainte Marie in Michigan to Miami Beach. The section of road in St. Johns County was completed in 1916. By Peter Willott
    The names of the manufactures of the bricks that make up the Old Brick Road can still be read. By Peter Willott
    A postcard from the 1900s show people meeting on the Dixie Highway.




    Take a turn off County Road 204 onto Old Brick Road in southwest St. Johns County and you can get a taste -- and a joggle -- of what travel was like back in the early part of the 20th century.
    It may make you appreciate asphalt.
    When it was built, however, automobile owners found it a vast improvement over the dirt and crushed oyster shell roads they had been driving. Brick, after all, never turns muddy when it rains and cars don't sink to their axles.

    The approximately 11-mile stretch of brick road leads to the rural community of Espanola. Two miles of the road are in St. Johns County and the rest is in Flagler County.
    Flagler County historian William Ryan laughs at the "old" part of the name.
    "It isn't old at all," Ryan said. "It was built in 1914."
    The road is part of the Dixie Highway, constructed to stretch from Miami Beach to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
    "They built it to bring tourists," Ryan said.
    Needing the road
    A bit of "keeping up with the Joneses" is credited with getting the 66-mile road through St. Johns County. In this case the Joneses was Jacksonville. Commissioners there had announced plans to build a brick road through Duval County from the St. Johns County line to Nassau County line.
    St. Johns County businessmen and politicians backed the idea of the hard-surfaced road in their own territory. It was something Florida promoter Henry M. Flagler had been telling them they needed since 1906.
    The project was St. Johns County-initiated because it wasn't until 1917 that Flagler County was created out of parts of St. Johns and Volusia counties.
    Promoting the road
    In 1914, officials advertised for bids to pave the "John Anderson Highway" from the Duval County line to the north city limit of St. Augustine and the country road from Hastings to the Volusia County line, roughly 66 miles.
    The winning bid by J.Y. Wilson Construction Company of Jacksonville came in at a little over $550,000. An additional $27,000 was put aside for engineering fees.
    Then, the only problem was how to pay for the project, because in those days there was no such thing as state or federal highways.
    The need led to a massive public relations campaign and "Good Roads, Progress, and Prosperity" rallies in Hastings and St. Augustine as officials pushed for the necessary bond money.
    It worked, and by late 1914 work on the road was under way. Trains delivered the bricks to roadsides, although for the stretch of road between Hastings and Neoga (west of Espanola), mule teams had to be used because the railroad wasn't available in the area. The vitrified bricks came from the Graves Brick Company in Alabama.
    Part of the Dixie Highway
    After a bit of conflict, local authorities won a designation to be part of the Dixie Highway Association.
    By October 1915, St. Augustine, Bunnell and Hastings businessmen and citizens were greeting the Dixie Highway Motorcade, a procession of 75 automobiles that traveled from Chicago to Miami Beach. The motorcade drew 40 St. Augustine automobiles decorated with bunting and flags to join in a trip along the brick-paved Dixie Highway into Daytona Beach. Elkton and Hastings citizens turned out to greet the motorcade.
    Engineering complaints and shortage of materials delayed completion of the road through St. Johns County until March 1916.
    The St. Augustine Record predicted the road would be a "boon to the farmer and automobile tourist."
    Work on the road continued until 1917, when the county used a convict work crew to correct what the county believed was a deficiency in the original construction.
    For years the road did provide a much-improved passage for tourists and farmers.
    These days, however, the Old Brick Road is a short cut for locals and a step back in time for Sunday drivers.
    *
    ABOUT THE ROAD
    * Part of a 66-mile project
    * Completed by 1916 in St. Johns County
    * Packed shell foundation
    * Topped with a 9-foot-wide brick roadbed and 4-inch-wide concrete curbs
    * Flanked by 3-foot-wide shell shoulders
    * 15 feet wide in all
    * AKA the Hastings, Espanola and Bunnell Road
    * AKA County Road 13
    * Listed in 2005 on the National Register of Historic Places
    Source: Flagler County Historical Society
    THE DIXIE HIGHWAY
    The Dixie Highway was the brainchild of Indiana millionaire and Miami Beach developer Carl G. Fisher.
    He never spent a dime to construct the highway between Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Miami Beach, but, boy, did he know how to get others to do it. First, he promoted the idea of the regional, hard surface road that would be usable in all kinds of weather. Then, he convinced automobile builders and associations of the potential profits. After that, he had a base to go after local governments and tourists who wanted to be part of the Dixie Highway.
    The Dixie Highway Association was formed to spread the word about construction along the route. Rectangular signs in a black, red and white color scheme identified the route.
    Fisher's faith paid off. By 1926 the Dixie Highway was basically complete.
    THE BRICKS
    * From the Graves Brick Company, Birmingham, Ala.
    * Organized by William H. Graves for his own developments, later expanded
    * Produced common type of brick for buildings
    * Produced vitrified type for street and road construction
    * Sold millions of bricks before closing in 1920
    Source: Flagler County Historical Society
    Last edited by Itchey; November 2nd, 2009 at 08:20 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    I love the Vitrified brick, I have several hundred in a patio laid in the same fashion on crushed coquina. It really gives that old florida look. Im constantly looking for more even when I pick up one or two from the bank of the river or some rubbish pile.

    Most of mine are from Graves, but I have many others including southern clay and Augusta.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    That road is a very nice drive. I don't think many people know of it. I sure haven't seen many people or even a person when driving that road. Haven't seen many bricks either
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Charlie View Post
    That road is a very nice drive. I don't think many people know of it. I sure haven't seen many people or even a person when driving that road. Haven't seen many bricks either
    Bricks have been stolen from the road UC many times. Some places they were covered with dirt, and in others they pulled them out to save them. But there are a lot of places with them still there you probably diddn't drive far enough.
    I know the St. Johns county side from 204 south through Ausley farms has a stretch probably 5 miles long of brick you can still see.
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    I remember when it was all brick. Drove my first car down that road. It still had cattle gaps then.
    Last edited by Mamabear; November 2nd, 2009 at 08:11 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    My brick came from the old trolley lines near the Ortega River , and various other handfuls from other Jobs were I removed them from Driveways and patios.
    Jax up till recently had a lot of streets with paving over the brick, they are a real pain to clean and really difficult to lay smooth and even but worth it. when you finish.

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  7. #7

    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    I have witnessed the bricks. Just not as many as I had hoped for. Not near enough for the distance.

    As a kid there was Clarinda St. It was all brick with raised letters. Not nice for skate boarding, but we did it anyway. When they finally tore up the street, some people used the bricks for fire places in the house.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    When I was looking for property several years ago I recall a small section up north of flagler estates somewhere. it was at an angle to the main road and formed a driveway for three or four houses. parallel to the new road
    I don't think its this section I

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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    That is so cool. I am going to have to check it out and take a drive. Thanks.

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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    Alot of people don't know but ther used to be two cities out there that both failed because of the construction of U.S.1. Also behind Neoga lake was one of the largest sawmills of the time period. If you know where to look there should still be some ruins out there. The cities where Flagler City and Omega if memory serves me correctly.
    Last edited by Canon; November 2nd, 2009 at 11:04 PM.
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    Espanola use to have a depot and hotel. The bank in Bunnell has great pictures of all the old buildings and areas.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    Sisco has a great article on the Library website about all the cities. Here is the excerpt about Espanola:

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.flaglerlibrary.org/history/flaglercounty/flaglercountyhistory.htm
    Espanola

    In 1880 this little community boasted three families. No waterway, no paved roads, or railroad to attract anyone. These families were the Hunter’s, Helm’s and Raulerson’s. Descendants from these families still live in Espanola today.
    I have been told that this community was originally called Raulerson. I have also been told that it was originally called Windermere. I could find no proof of either. On old maps, Lake Neoga, just north of Espanola, is called Lake Windermere, so perhaps it was Neoga that was the settlement of Windermere.
    Anyway, in the early 1890's, news spread that a railroad was coming through to Espanola from East Palatka. New families came to settle near the railroad possibly to seek work. The George Durrance family came over from San Mateo. George Burnsed came from Matanzas. George W. Deen of Baxley, Georgia, bought several large tracks of land in this area and established turpentine stills which he leased to operators. His brother, James Monroe Deen and family, moved onto one of the turpentine still sites near Espanola. Later he moved to a camp known as the Sappling’s in the Haw Creek area.
    Daniel Martin Deen, another brother, came from Georgia in 1903 to lease a still just west of Hunter Branch and established his son-in-law, Zachary G. Holland and family there to operate the still. The Holland’s cleared land and began an early farming operation being one of the first potato and cabbage farmers.
    William Henry Deen and son Carter came from Bax1ey, Ga. in 1905 to lease the turpentine still near Espanola and one located at Dinner Island. He was joined the next year by his brother Robert William Deen and family.
    After spending some time in the turpentine business, the Deen brothers later, became early potato farmers. Their sister and husband, the Worth Richardson’s operated a still near St. Joseph. Jeptha Dennis Barber came in 1903 to assist George Deen in saw mill operation at the site of the old Holland home. He brought his family here in 1905.
    It was during this time that Espanola’s large saw mill was erected with many branch tram roads scattered through the surrounding woods to haul in the virgin timber to be sawed into lumber for the northern markets.
    Lawrence Sidney Cody and Joseph Barrett Boaz operated a stave mill at Espanola for some time. When the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Boaz went to Hastings. A few years later, Mr. Cody and George Allen, Sr. operated a similar mill in the Bimini area..
    The narrow gauge (three-foot gauge) railroad originally built by Utley James White from Rollerstown near Palatka to Daytona was purchased by Henry Morrison Flagler who changed it to a standard gauge railroad and called it the Florida East Coast Railway. By this time Espanola was a thriving community of about 100 people.
    Later, as the railroad was completed and the mills began to close for lack of timber, the community’s economy became depressed and many of the people moved away, Then, in 1915, Espanola began to boom again as the new Dixie Highway was built through Espanola. This was a narrow brick road, which still exists north of Espanola. Florida Farms Development Company began selling farm tracks to new settlers coming m from the north.
    Espanola then had a hotel, post office, garage, cafe, rooming house, barber shop, dry goods store, grocery store, school, and mail route. Elzie Hunter, using a horse drawn cart, was mail carrier. Farming became an important part of the economy with Irish potatoes, corn and narcissus bulbs being shipped from Espanola, with Bimini (west of Espanola) becoming a major potato farming area.
    Tourism became another important segment of the economy with camp grounds being established for over night tourists or, as they often called, “Tin can tourists.” One camp was “Live and Let Live.” Another was “Hoosier's Inn.” During this time new families who settled in Espanola were the Knox Jones, Kudrna’s, Teeters, Pellicer’s, Pringle’s, Cauley’s, Gatlin’s, Whitton’s, Thompson’s, Burnside’s (aka Burnsed’s), Blount’s, Miller’s and Cobb’s.
    The Harry Murray family settled in Neoga (north of Espanola). The Karl Lord family bought the Aldrich Hunter place and ran a dairy farm. Also moving into Espanola were the Emery’s (still there) and the Hart’s.
    Espanola was depressed again as the “boom” came to an end and the Dixie Highway was moved to bypass Espanola (now U.S. 1). Today, Espanola remains a quiet and peaceful little community where they speak of fond remembrances of the days gone by.
    You can get to Espanola today by driving south from Palm Coast on U.S. 1 to State Road 13 (about ¼ mile north of the overpass), take S.R. 13 north until you hit the middle of Espanola. You must then, either go west or east. If you go west, you will pass the Espanola Cemetery and eventually run into S.R. 100 in Bimini. If you go east, you will be on the Old Brick Road (Dixie Highway).
    The Old Brick Road turns north and extends for a distance of eleven miles between S.R. 204 and Espanola. The northern two miles of the road are located in St. Johns County while the remaining portion is located in Flagler County.
    The road was part of the Dixie Highway which stretched from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan south to Miami Beach, Florida. The road is composed of a packed shell foundation topped with a nine-foot wide brick roadbed and four-inch wide concrete curbs, flanked by three-foot wide shell shoulders for a total width of fifteen feet. The road construction was part of a sixty-six mile project completed in 1916 by St. Johns County.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    Does anyone remember when the Dunn Lumber was torn down not long ago, a friend worked there when they tore the red brick building down and allowed a few of his friends to come and get some of the bricks, my friends got about 10 truckloads of red brick, its a shame, almost 2 years later, the bricks are still sitting in their back yard. Sure wish I could get some of them, would love to build a bbq with them.
    My life will be measured by the moments that took my breath away.......

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola


  16. #16

    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    This would be Emma Murray, of the Murray family who settled in Espanola:


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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    Awesome thread!
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    Moving people and products safely and efficiently is a vital mission for the
    Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). What many people might not know is FDOT also promotes transportation projects that enrich the quality of life for Floridians such as the Scenic Byway Program.
    On Saturday, November 7th, 2009, the newly designated "Heritage Crossroads: Miles of History" Scenic Byway had its official corridor celebration. The event took place at the Florida Agricultural Museum located at the intersection of U.S. One and Old Kings Road in northeastern Flagler County. The celebration was sponsored by the Heritage Crossroads Corridor Management Entity and began at 10:00 a.m.
    The "Heritage Crossroads: Miles of History" Scenic Byway is a 92 mile network of roadways in Flagler, St. Johns, and Volusia Counties that include sections of U.S. One, Old Kings Road, John Anderson Highway, and CR 13 (the old brick road).
    Byways are roadways that offer travelers and residents views of cultural, historical, archaeological, and recreational resources. The showcase and protect natural and scenic assets.
    Byways also provide tourism and economic development. They tell Florida's story and provide education and history appreciation. Byways also protect the character and charm of communities and give communities pride and recognition.
    There are 24 State Scenic Byways and 6 National Scenic Byways in Florida. To learn more about Byways across Florida and the U.S., log onto: www.byways.org
    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

  19. #19

    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    It's funny, I was just out today looking to explore. The weather was beautiful and perfect was meandering down trails. Where I used to live (in the Panhandle), you could go walking out through the woods and if you walked long enough and were patient, you could always find an old abandoned farm house to plunder through and soak up the history. I haven't seen that since moving here. Where's all da old cracker houses????????

  20. #20
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    Default Re: The Old Brick Road Espanola

    Clark House - Florida Agricultural Museum
    7900 Old Kings Road
    Palm Coast

    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

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