R I D G E P O R T
Long after Europe (Spain, then England) colonized the coast, one
story goes, there was a sawmill here. Perhaps in the mid 1800s.
It may have supported the Union Army or Navy when they occupied
Palatka. Regardless, the mill was gone by the early 1880s. A handful of Connecticut Yankees settled here, and named it “Bridgeport” after their hometown. Or so the story goes. Imagined as a small community, downriver from
Palatka. Bridgeport Road
and Magnolia Avenue
are the only vestiges. Growth and “progress” did not touch this
remote corner of rural Putnam
County. Never a post
office, not even a storefront. The streets envisioned on the
original blueprints were never built.
So today, Bridgeport is a beloved and serene
corner of North Central Florida. Home to magnolia groves, woodpeckers,
hoot owls, a handful of people, and maybe a gator or two.
A L A T K A
“By 1781, the Indian settlement mentioned by
[naturalist William] Bartram
was included in a 1,500-acre tract, owned by Dr.
known as Gray’s Place or Pilatka
Tract. In 1818, Bernardo
Segui of St.
Augustine was given Gray’s
Place and on Jan. 18,
1819, he sold it to George
Fleming for $1,200. The name
Palatka came from the Seminole Indian word Pilo-Taikita meaning
boat crossing, and was spelled Pilatka until 1875… During the
Seminole Indian Wars (1836-1841), Palatka was the site of Fort
Shannon… During the
Civil War (1861-1865), Palatka came very close to being burned
down by Union Troops.
Palatka, named the ‘Gem
City of the St.
Johns River,’ was sparkling like a diamond. There
were 3,000 citizens and the city hosted crowds of winter tourists
and had numerous large well-stocked stores, packing houses, warehouses,
churches, schools and hotels. One steamboat passenger described
Palatka as it appeared at night. ‘The town was a brave sight,
all a twinkle from the big hotels and streets with kerosene lamps’…
After the [Great Fire of 1884] someone was quoted
as saying of Palatka, ‘The little town is full of pluck and backbone
and no sort of misfortune will keep her down.’ … By 1886, Palatka
was a brick city
with new buildings that would last until the 1970s when in the
name of ‘progress’ the majority of them were demolished to make
room for parking lots and modern buildings (most of which were
While there are vacant buildings, longtime businesses
continue to survive, joined each year by other new businesses.
A push is on to improve the city’s tourist trade. Old Palatka
has two historic districts with many beautiful renovated Victorian
and early 1900s homes to see. The North Historic District is home
to the Putnam Historic
Museum and Palatka’s
oldest house, the Bronson-Mulholland House. The South Historic
District has the Tilghman
and riverfront park. Palatka has come a long way from that little
town of Pilatka with
50 buildings. Today she has a population of close to 10,000 and
her city limits extend west almost to Francis.
She has entered the modern world with chain stores, a modem airport,
barge port and business and industrial parks.”
-- <From “150 and counting,” by Allegra Kitchens.
Published in Welcome Magazine (Winter/Spring 2003).
-- Photos from the Putnam County Archives
O B B Y
Bobby was born
in Louisiana. He
enjoys carpentry, computing, and spending time with his family.
He and his wife Renn Stancil Hinton (of Ocala)
bought their current home over 30 years ago. They've lived with
their five children in Pensacola,
Eastern Ohio, and Kentucky.
But Bridgeport Road
always remained their true home.
Bobby and Renn
returned to their century-old house on the St.
in 2002. To Putnam County, Bobby proudly offers Blueprints With
a Southern Accent. View his resumè and
O N T A C T
O P Y R I G H T
and all home plans herein are the property of Bridgeport
Drafting & Home Design. Copyright 2004-2006, all rights reserved.
Website built by Kip Austin Hinton.
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