The “Valdosta Special” opened Georgia & Florida Railroad, October 1, 1908

Georgia & Florida Railroad

The Section Foreman in Ray City was Cauley May.

EXCURSION TO OPEN RAILROAD - The "Valdosta Special" came through Ray City October 1, 1908 to open the main line of the Georgia & Florida Railroad. The picture was made in Nashville, GA, showing passengers to first ride the new line.

EXCURSION TO OPEN RAILROAD – The “Valdosta Special” came through Ray City October 1, 1908 to open the main line of the Georgia & Florida Railroad. The picture was made in Nashville, GA, showing passengers to first ride the new line.

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Georgia & Florida Railroad No. 100 passenger car

Georgia & Florida Railroad No. 100 passenger car

Georgia and Florida Railroad, January, 1955. Wendell and Necie Rogers with Engine 507 at the Nashville, GA depot. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Georgia and Florida Railroad, January, 1955. Wendell and Necie Rogers with Engine 507 at the Nashville, GA depot. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

 

T.J. Sutton and Ed Benton with Georgia and Florida Railroad Engine No. 507 at the depot in Nashville, GA, March 24, 1955. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

T.J. Sutton and Ed Benton with Georgia and Florida Railroad Engine No. 507 at the depot in Nashville, GA, March 24, 1955. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Nashville Herald
Thursday, February 16, 1956

Main Line of Ga. & Fla. Railroad Opened in 1908.

          The Georgia & Florida Railroad (now Railway) is a part of the rich history of this section of Georgia, and in a large measure has contributed to the growth and expansion of Berrien County, and the counties adjacent.
      This railroad furnished a more stable means of transportation than was available in the early days, despite the multiplicity of small log lines.

Organized in 1906
         The Georgia & Florida was organized by Mr. John Skelton Williams in 1906 and at that time consisted of the following roads:
         The Augusta and Florida Railroad, 49 miles in length from Keysville to Swainsboro.
         The Millen & Southwestern Railroad of 42 miles between Millen and Vidalia.
         The Douglas, Augusta & Gulf Railroad, 76 miles between Hazlehurst and Nashville, via Broxton.
         The Nashville & Sparks Railroad twelve miles from Nashville to Sparks, GA.
         The Sparks Western twenty miles of log road between Sparks and Kingwood.

No Shops

         None of the roads had any shops except the Millen & Southwestern, other than a pair of heavy jacks and such hand tools as were needed in doing the general repair work in the operation of trains.
         The rolling stock was an odd assortment of all sorts of engines, a few log cars, a few box cars and two to four passengers cars.
         Out of this hodge podge assortment of rail lines and equipment the work of creating a going railroad business was started.
         Financial conditions of the railway became critical in 1913 and on March 27, 1915, receivers were appointed, which receivership continued until January 1, 1927 when the Georgia & Florida Railway was sold and deeded to The Georgia & Florida Railroad. Due to disastrous floods and heavy costs the Railroad again was ordered into receivership by the District Court of the United States.
         Despite it’s financial troubles the receivers have done a good job of increasing the rolling stock, installing Diesel engines, etc. and the road now ships the largest percentage of tobacco, turpentine and watermelons than any other road of it’s size.

Nashville Proud of G. & F.

         The Georgia & Florida Railroad continues to be well thought of in Berrien county and Nashville. For Nashville it is the only surviving rail link to the outside world, though passenger and mail service have long since been discontinued.
        The road serves as the principal freight hauler of merchandise and manufactured goods. Since the coming of the Tobacco Market it has to be especially valuable, and goes all out to give service to it’s patrons.
        It’s contributions to the growth of the section through which it traverses have been great, and though at times the railroad itself was in financial jam, there has been no movement that would develop this part of Georgia but the Georgia & Florida railroad could be depended upon to do it’s part.
         The first tobacco market in Georgia was on the Georgia & Florida railroad in 1917, when the farmers as well as railroads were asking for a market. A meeting of business men was held at Douglas and in just one hour the capital was subscribed. When the season opened in the late summer, the Red Warehouse with a floor space of 90×140 was doing business on the Georgia & Florida. The first tobacco was sold for 20 cents per pound, but today tobacco is gold in Georgia.

Georgia and Florida Railroad

Georgia and Florida Railroad

Dr. A. L. Johnston and the 1913 Possum Supper

The February, 1914 issue of the Pharmaceutical Era reports on the “Possum Supper” thrown by the Mashburn Drug Company of Valdosta in December of 1913. Aside from the interesting menu, the affair  was also noteworthy for the presentation of “moving picture films” and “stereopticon views”, and “automobile rides” around the city. One of the attendees was Dr. A. L. Johnston of Valdosta. Dr. Johnston had a Ray City, GA connection and provided services, sometimes unusual, for Ray City residents. More on that in the next post DAN CUPID WINS OUT AFTER FOURTY YEARS.

For Christmas, A Possum Dinner

The Mashburn Drug Company, of Valdosta, Ga, gave their second annual ‘Possum Supper to their customers in December. Quite a number of their guests who reached Valdosta in the early afternoon were given an automobile ride around the city. At 8: 30 p.m. the guests were escorted to the New Valdes Hotel, where a sumptuous repast was spread, consisting of ” ‘possum and taters,” birds, salads, etc.  A. E. Dimmock, a Valdosta druggist, was toastmaster. Among those responding with toasts were Mayor Jno. T. Roberts, of Valdosta; Jno. Dickerson, of Jacksonville, who represents Eli Lilly & Co. in the State of Florida; C. L. Parks, representing H. K. Mulford & Co., Philadelphia, Pa.; Dr. E. P. Quillian, Clyattsville, Ga.; Dr. J. M. Hall, Douglass, Ga.; W. A. Bradley, representing the Cleveland Fruit Juice Co., Cleveland, Ohio; Senator W. L. Converse; Fred Bergstrom, of Bergstrom & Newberry; Dr. A. L. Johnston, and Russell Peeples, of Valdosta, Ga. Woods A. Caperton, sales manager for Eli Lilly & Co., Indianapolis, Ind., was a specially invited guest and he made the trip to Valdosta to attend this supper. He brought with him about 80 stereopticon views and two reels of moving picture films and immediately after the supper he gave those in attendance a “moving-picture trip” through the plant of Eli Lilly & Co. About 150 or the Mashburn Drug Co.’s customers were present and all expressed themselves as having had a most enjoyable time.

In The Pharmaceutical era, Vol 47. (1914). New York [etc.: D.O. Haynes & Co.

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