St. Mary's, Lake City & Gulf Railroad: A Georgia Geographical Oddity
The St. Mary's, Lake City & Gulf Railroad was a short lived railroad that ran approx. 30 miles between Boulogne, FL and Charlton, GA. (Right of way)
Sadly, very little is known about this railroad, and much of it that is known was only available thanks to the Internet Archive, which is an incredible project to preserve digital information!
From 1895 Rand McNally Map of Georgia. The railroad immediately north of the SMLC&G is the Suwanee Canal Company's Brunswick & Pensacola Railroad. (RailGA)
The now defunct RailGA website described it as follows, "In 1893-96, the Brooks Brothers lumber and turpentine company built a rail line along Trail Ridge, on the eastern edge of the Okefenokee Swamp, naming it the St. Marys, Lake City & Gulf Railroad. The northern terminus of the SMLC&G was at Boulogne, Florida, on the Jacksonville branch of the Savannah, Florida, & Western. From there the railroad ran west across the St. Marys to Traders Hill and then south to Toledo and Charlton."
Constructed over three years between 1893-1896, it was put out of service just a few years later, near the turn of the century. At Fort Moniac, a SMLC&G log train wrecked, taking the life of James A Austin, and breaking the leg of a fireman. (Florida Times Union Index)
In a geographical oddity, its north end was in Florida, while its southern end was in Georgia's Charlton County, just about three miles north from the Florida border.
A 2015 Georgia Statewide survey provided little more in the way of details of the road. "The SMLC once connected the community of Charlton, south of the Okeefenokee Swamp in Charlton County, with Boulogne, Florida; at least one branch connected Boulogne to Traders Hill in Camden County. From Charlton, the alignment continued in a northeasterly direction, connecting with the now defunct community of Toledo, where the SMLC was headquartered. At Toledo, evidence of the railbed was located at the intersection of Toledo Lane, King Lane, and Reed Road.
From Toledo, the alignment connected with the Traders Hill community. From Toledo to Traders Hill, field survey identified no physical evidence of the former rail alignment. Neither aerial imagery nor historic USGS topographic maps provided definitive evidence of the former railroad’s path. More than a century removed from the SMLC’s abandonment, neglect, reforestation, and silviculture along the former alignment appear to have eliminated most of the railroad’s remnant aboveground evidence." The property was thus not found to be eligible for preservation, as little to nothing remains today that could be preserved.
Thanks as always for reading!
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