Tag Archives: Columbia County

Alligator, Church, Peoples Bridge, Suwannee River –Ken Sulak 1880-07-13

Ken Sulak has more about Peoples Bridge on the Suwannee River, including the church the bridge was built for, and when an alligator ate a man in 1880.

Apparently this was a little-known peril of deer hunting. Of course, alligator attacks on humans are very rare: that’s why this one was news.

[Alligator story, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Peoples Bridge]
Alligator story, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Peoples Bridge

I have contacted the Oak Grove Baptist Church, still in existence continuously from the 1870s. The contact person knew nothing about the long gone People’s Bridge 1.2 mi due West from the church. She referred my inquiry to the pastor, unfortunately very new and from up north. So, he knows nothing about the old history. I was hoping the church maintained an archive, or a birth-death-burial log, or an annotated master bible. No luck on that so far.

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Peoples Bridge, Suwannee River 2022-11-27

Update 2022-12-13: Alligator, Church, Peoples Bridge, Suwannee River –Ken Sulak 1880-07-13.

Ken Sulak remarked, “I also want to visit the ‘Peoples Bridge’ site on the Suwannee a few miles downstream of the Cone Bridge. This was a wooden foot and wagon bridge possibly built by the congregation of the Oak Grove Church around 1870 so folks on the Hamilton side could attend church on the Columbia side.

“The double row of old cutoff timber pilings emerges at low water.”

The pilings are supposed to be visible when the White Springs Gauge is below 51.0 feet.

[Emerged tops of cutoff pilings of the People's Bridge. --Ken Sulak]
Emerged tops of cutoff pilings of the People’s Bridge. –Ken Sulak

Does anybody know the whereabouts or history of this Oak Grove Church?

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Pictures: State Line to Turner Bridge, Suwannee River 2022-03-06

Maybe the most remote section of the Suwannee River, from the GA-FL line to Roline and Turner Bridge: here are pictures of the second day of the WWALS March 5-6, 2022, riverbank camping outing.

[Decamping, GA-FL line, Roline, Turner Bridge]
Decamping, GA-FL line, Roline, Turner Bridge

As usual, expedition leader Shirley Kokidko was worried before we were even on the water. Many thanks for leading this one, Shirley. Continue reading

Good water quality, Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers 2022-08-12

Pam Thomas and the WWALS testers at TREPO got very good water quality results for Friday on the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers.

[Chart, Rivers, Map]
Chart, Rivers, Map

They tested two Ichetucknee River locations and one on the Santa Fe, all private parks owned by Three Rivers Estates Property Owners (TREPO). Continue reading

Video: Turner Bridge to FL 6, Suwannee River 2021-12-16

Here’s a video of the mid-December 2021 Ken Sulak Suwannee River paddle, the part from Turner Bridge to Cypress Creek South Launch at FL 6.

FL 6 bridge, Suwannee River 2021-12-16

The images are ten seconds apart. You can see Mike Byerly’s canoe parked over one of the Lally columns of Turner Bridge in the river. You can see Ken Sulak drop a magnet to confirm that it is metal. Continue reading

Turner Bridge mysteries –Ken Sulak 2021-12-16

Update 2022-01-15: Video: Turner Bridge to FL 6, Suwannee River 2021-12-16.

Here is a column about Lally columns, by Dr. Ken Sulak, USGS, Retired, now researching bridge and history in the Suwannee River Basin.

Some of you may have ideas, comments, speculations on the several enigmas presented by the gone—but not forgotten by me—old Turner Bridge that spanned the upper Suwannee River from ~1900-1951.

[Lally columns, 13:52:06, 30.5246480, -82.7277260]
Lally columns, left (east) bank, Suwannee River, Columbia County, Florida, 3:52:06, 30.5246480, -82.7277260. Photo: John S. Quarterman, 2021-12-16.

Important in its time, seemingly never photographed???, but long forgotten except by a few folks in their 90s-100s. If you know any such North Florida old timers that have stories to tell, memories of any of the old ferries and bridge, and maybe old bridge photos—let me know. Having been on the trail of all the historical fords, ferries, bridges and trestles over the Suwannee River & it major tributaries, 1820-1960, I am now up to 164 individually owned or operated crossings at 64 distinct sites. Many mysteries remain, lots to learn, much has already been lost as the old timers pass along. Got to get the overall story pieced together and written up and documented with photos before I go senile or end my stay on this excellent planet.

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Pictures: Roline to FL 6, Suwannee River 2021-12-16

Update 2022-01-05: Turner Bridge mysteries –Ken Sulak 2021-12-16.

Nine of us paddled the Suwannee River from Roline to Cypress Creek South Launch at FL 6, mostly to see the remains of Turner Bridge, at the invitation of Dr. Ken Sulak, USGS, Retired, now researching bridge and history in the Suwannee River Basin. We saw a small gator, some dead top cypress trees, many health ones, and tupelo, pines, and oaks, as well a birds and a few fish. Mike Byerly discovered a small creek below Turner Bridge. Karst outcrops became more frequent the farther downstream we went. There was a shoal with waves for half a mile or so. An enjoyable warm winter day paddle.

[Roline, Gator, Turner Bridge, Byerly Creek]
Roline, Gator, Turner Bridge, Byerly Creek

Ken has written up his findings so far about Turner Bridge. Continue reading

O’Brien man places in songwriting contest –Lake City Reporter 2021-08-24

Staff Report, Lake City Reporter, August 24, 2021, “O’Brien man places in songwriting contest: Wingate one of nine finalists from across the southeast.” [See also Valdosta Today.]

VALDOSTA — Chosen from a record number of finalists, an O’Brien man was one of three winners named Saturday night at the fourth annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Out of the nine finalists that competed at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts’ Art Park, O’Brien’s KJ Wingate won for the best song from inside the Suwannee River basin. Wingate won a $50 prize from the WWALS Watershed Coalition for his folk/country song, “The Hymn of Convict Spring.”

[Lake City Reporter, KJ Wingate, Rachel Grubb]
Lake City Reporter, KJ Wingate, Rachel Grubb
Finalists that competed in the fourth annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting contest included O’Brien’s KJ Wingate (from left), Katherine Ball, David Rodock, Sweet William Billy Ennis, Jimi Davies and his brother, Kathy Lou Gilman and Rachel Hillman. Not pictured are Brandon Fox and Lake City’s Rachel Grubb, who could not attend. Angela Duncan Courtesy of WWALS.

Other winners Saturday included Continue reading

Petition to EPA: protect from radioactive phosphogypsum stacks

Many groups in many states yesterday petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve federal oversight of radioactive waste and wastewater from phosphogypsum stacks.

“WWALS opposes expansion of the decades-old moonscape of a phosphate mine in Hamilton County, and another proposed in Union and Bradford Counties,” said John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper. “These mines not only suck up massive amounts of water that reduce spring and river flows, they feed ever-growing phosphogypsum stacks with radioactive waste.”

PCS Phosphate Mine, 2016-10-22, WWALS Southwings flight
PCS Phosphate Mine 2016-10-22, Southwings flight for WWALS, pictures by Jim Tatum, https://wwals.net/?p=32043


For Immediate Release, February 8, 2021 Continue reading

Tonight Columbia BOCC can stop Niagara from bottling water 2020-01-07

Tonight at 5:30 PM the Columbia BOCC will vote on a water bottling operation by Niagara Bottling that has already been rejected by the Columbia County, Florida, Economic Advisory Board. The Board of County Commissioners makes the actual decision.

Especially if you live in Columbia County, please attend or send them email or call them. We don’t need more plastic bottles to clean up and we don’t need more drawdown of the aquifer and rivers. See the letter below by Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson for much more on what and why.

Besides, the demands Niagara makes sound like private prison company demands to have a certain number of prisoners or else penalties. For example:

Phase 1 water obligations of 650,000 gallons per day by Lake City to provide water is only relieved after Columbia County receives a non-appealable water use permit authorization sufficient to meet company’s water requirements at build out of 2,860,00 gallons per day of potable water and Columbia County has all water infrastructure completed and can independently serve the company.

The purpose of a county government is not to serve a private company from somewhere else.

See also background news stories by Stew Lilker, Columbia County Observer:

The word “potential” is important: just because a company promises jobs doesn’t mean they would actually appear. And if water bottling companies and phosphate mines and agriculture keep draining the aquifer, what jobs will be left?

Letter by Merrilee Malwitz-Jipson to Columbia BOCC


November 6, 2021

Good Evening Gentlemen,

I am a resident of Columbia County. I identify with and volunteer for a citizen based organization named Our Santa Fe River which opposes bottled water businesses in our region in order to protect our freshwater springs, rivers and public water supplies found in wells and municipality service systems.

Tomorrow night, Columbia County (FL) Board of County Commission meeting will be discussing and possibly voting on the Belle Project (Niagara water bottling plant proposal).

Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 5:30 P.M.
School Board Administrative Complex
372 West Duval Street

Regular scheduled meeting Agenda: Continue reading