Gold Head State Park listed on National Register of Historic Places

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – The Florida Park Service’s Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park recently was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The designation was made because of the 33 historic buildings, four sites, and 17 other structures within the 1,823-acre historic boundary of the park. The nine stone cabins, pavilion, overlook and bathhouse were constructed on State Road 21 by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1935 and 1942, and situated around five lakes and Gold Head Branch Creek. The paved curving road system connecting the historical features with the more modern amenities was originally laid out by the CCC.

Road improvements and the establishment of a campground were also performed by the CCC during this period. Additionally, the park is home to one of the few remaining stands of old growth longleaf pines in Florida.

The Florida Division of Historic Resources describes the CCC built buildings and structures in the park as featuring a “heavy usage of rustic style with locally-sourced wood and rough-hewn stone chimneys.”

Gold Head Branch State Park is unique compared to other 1930s-era state parks in that the CCC work area support structures including a pole barn and maintenance shop remain standing.

Other remaining historic features from the CCC days include an old in-house communications telephone pole with the original glass insulators, a blacksmith forge, latrine pits and boundary markers. The stone entry gate and New Deal-era Rustic Style architecture entry station were also built by the CCC.

Inside the park, picnic pavilions, stone water fountains, foot trails, and stone access steps are additional remnants of the 1930s-era. Park guests can still picnic at the original 28 CCC built rough-hewn stone picnic tables around the parking lot at Little Lake Johnson, and at several heart pine wooden picnic tables that remain under the original CCC built pavilion at Pebble Lake.

A second period of development began after WWII including the addition of more picnic tables, picnic shelter pavilions, a recreation/concession building, a sign shop, five cabins, and two residences, all built between 1950-1960. Distinctive 1950’s-era structures including the Ravine Trail stairways and the terraced walkway extending to the concession building are still in use.

Gold Head Branch State Park is a Clay County treasure that has been meticulously preserved for 85 years.

“This is the greatest honor for a historic site, and we are pleased that Gold Head Branch State Park has preserved their historical assets so that many people can enjoy them for years to come, “said Chairman Gayward Hendry.

“Gold Head Branch State Park is a favorite destination for both locals and visitors because of its significant history and natural beauty,” said Commissioner and Tourist Development Council Chairman, Mike Cella. “Attractions and accommodations showcasing our area’s natural beauty and small-town charm are vital during this time when locals and visitors want to get outside and explore.”

Lean more about Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park at https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/mike-roess-gold-head-branch-state-park.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment