Prairie Ridge, Florida and the South Florida & Gulf Railroad
Prairie Ridge is a ghost town in south Florida, located in what is now Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, first developed around 1910. (Location) Developers from the Midwest, known as the Southern Colonization Company, purchased a large tract of land in the area, believing the land would make excellent farmland. 10 acre lots were sold, in what was considered small farms at the time.
|A dilapidated shack inside the settlement, possibly the original railroad depot. Image: Jim Pike|
To further enhance the prospects of the town, the SCC commissioned the building of the South Florida and Gulf Railroad in 1915, which ran from Prairie Ridge to Kenansville on the Florida East Coast Railway, 29 miles north. (Right of way)
Connections south to Basinger and Okeechobee were planned, but never built.
Trains ran along the route once a week to transport passengers, but it soon became apparent that the development of farmland was not going to be successful, as the land was more suited towards grazing than farming.
Just three years into its existence in 1918, the rail line was abandoned, sold at a loss, and became a sand road. Today, it is known as the Peavine Trail. Prairie Ridge became a ghost town not much later.
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