Live Oak — The photograph shows the Branford Railroad Depot, now the Branford Shrine Club, circa 1900 behind the steamboat City of Hawkinsville. It is almost certainly the oldest remaining building in the town of Branford. The depot was originally built circa 1880 along the riverbank for the numerous steamboats that were piloted on the Suwannee River between the end of the Civil War and about 1910. In 1882, the Live Oak and Rowland’s Bluff Railroad was completed through the area as a branch of the larger Savannah, Florida, and Western Railroad, giving the community of Branford (then called Rowland’s Bluff) railroad access to the rest of the nation. Within a few years, the increasing railroad traffic led to the depot being moved eastward 100 feet to link with the railroad. A dock area on the river led directly to the depot so that supplies could be easily transferred from steamboats to railroad cars. By the early years of the Twentieth Century, railroads and eventually automobiles spelled the doom of steamboating along the Suwannee River. The last steamboat on the Suwannee was the city of Hawkinsville, which ran until sometime shortly after 1910, at which point the depot was used solely for railroad traffic. After many years of service, the railroad depot was eventually closed. In 1982, the Seaboard Coastline Railroad, the successor company to the original Live Oak and Rowland’s Bluff Railroad, sold the old depot to the Branford Shrine Club. A stipulation of the sale was that the Shrine Club would move the building off railroad property in order to save it from destruction. The depot was moved 500 feet northward and again sits on the banks of the Suwannee River. The depot appears to be the only remaining depot along the Suwannee River that served steamboats during their heyday in the post-Civil War era. Today the depot serves as a meeting place for the Branford Shrine Club as well as a community center.
- Suwannee Democrat
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Christmas on the Square festivities begin tonight
The exciting weekend will kickoff Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with the Jingle Bell Fun Run/Walk. Pre-registration at 6:15 p.m. at the Train Depot. Individuals can pre-register early by visiting Dairy Queen, Poole Realty, Chamber of Commerce and Suwannee Parks and Recreation and filling out a registration form. A Street Block Party will be held at 7 p.m. at the Train Depot featuring one of North Florida’s most popular bands, “Justin Case Band.” During a music break around 8 p.m., guests will enjoy a fireworks show in the parking lot between Stoudemire’s Restaurant and Huffman-Gilmore. Concessions will be available at the events.
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Lighting of Live Oak Christmas tree, tonight
The city of Live Oak will kick off the Christmas season with the lighting of the city Christmas tree on Thursday, Dec. 5 beginning at 6 p.m. at Millennium Park in downtown Live Oak. The tree lighting will take place at 6:15 p.m. with a visit from Santa at 6:30 p.m. Santa will arrive in grand style on a Live Oak Fire Department fire truck. Music, cookies and hot chocolate will be provided.
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park announces 2014 Suwannee River Jam country artists
Special ticket price per person for all 4 days of the Jam is only $75, but hurry, offer ends at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.
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Live Oak Lights the Christmas Tree tomorrow
What: Music, Christmas Tree Lighting…and Santa Comes to Live Oak!
When: Thursday, Dec. 5 starting at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Millennium Park
Who: Open to the public, everyone should come!
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