Thursday, August 2, 2012

Alphabe~Thursday "K" is for Keystone Heights, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

I bet a lot of you that stop by frequently to follow my Alphabe~Thursday tour of my home state, Florida, thought I would go with Key West.


Not that I don’t like the keys, they are beautiful. But most people already know about the keys. I want to show some different areas of Florida that most tourists don’t even know about.

Keystone Heights was originally called “Brooklyn” but got its present name from Pennsylvanians that settled here and named it after their home state. Keystone Heights is located in Clay County Florida.

Keystone Heights is a sleepy little town with proud people. Its population is less than 2,000. Its clean simple living, yet it’s not far from the hustle and bustle of Jacksonville or Gainesville.

Downtown Keystone Heights.

I don’t see a traffic light do you?
This is rush hour traffic.
One of the best places from my childhood is Mike Roess Goldhead Branch State Park in Keystone Heights.
Our family traveled 3 weeks out of every year for vacation. If we stayed in Florida, Goldhead Branch was one of our stays during vacation. We had so much fun there. It was always crowded. There were always a lot of cool kids to meet and make friends with. It was a safe place back in the day. Kids would swim, hike, feed gopher turtles pawpaw’s, stay up late, chase fireflies, bike around the park in the dark, tell ghost stories around the campfire, and become someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend for the week. Although those families that stayed in cabins didn’t mix with the campers. They were on the other side of the Lake. They don’t know what they missed out on.

The Bath house 1939
*Note I wasn’t born yet but it looked the same when I was a little girl.
The bathhouse today.
Lake Johnson 1939
Lake Johnson today.
1 of 9 Cabins built by the CCC
The CCC Camp- The Civilian Conservation Corps was created in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to aid young men who were unemployed during the Great Depression. Gold Head Branch was one of the first four of eight original parks created in Florida by the CCC. The buildings are still standing and in use today.

The record combination of years of below-average rainfall and water leaching in to the aquifer has caused lakes around and in Keystone Heights to dwindle away.
Water is a precious commodity. When it’s gone it’s gone.

Even the Keystone Heights inland Beach established in 1924 is dwindling. And apparently full of alligators now. What fun is that?
One more little piece of information you might not know is that Keystone is far enough north that it has even snowed there.
Snow! In Florida!!
Hey what can I say, we have it all down here!
 I enjoyed my walk down memory lane by visiting Keystone Heights. To return to Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe~Thursday click here:

See you next week for “L” and thanks for stopping by! ~Ames


Sue said...

What an interesting vacation spot, and I love hearing your history with it.

Gorgeous trees, too.


kim joul aita said...

great post, great shots!


kim joul aita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JDaniel4's Mom said...

This looks like a wonderful place to create family memories!

VBR said...

oh, i love to come along on your Florida tours! everyone knows Miami, Orlando, the Keys, but there are so many small towns that deserve to have their spotlight time. Keystone Heights looks like a very nice place! thanks for sharing. (and I love the photos of then and now!)

Judie said...

So there were no aligators when you were swimming there? Too bad the place is being forgotten for family gatherings. There was a place like that in Georgia when I was a kid--Indian springs cameground. I loved it.

Susan Mystery said...

We camped almost every vacation we had during my childhood. Of course that camping happened in the North East and the one and only time we visited FL in my childhood, it was to visit the mouse. Seems like such a shame to have missed out on such a lovely place.

Pondside said...

I enjoy your views of Florida that show that it's more than Daytona Beach and Miami Beach!

anitamombanita said...

Looks like a nice serene place...and they probably don't even need Keystone cops there, do they?! :)

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I am going to have to visit! I'm from PA, but lived in So. Fla for many years, so I really think this is a place I need to go see...

Mary said...

Sleepy little towns are my favorite kind! Swimming with alligators is scarier than swimming with sharks :)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a fabulous post! I want to mention your blog on mine soon. I hope everyone that lives in FL sees these wonderful posts! Enjoy your weekend! Hugs, your neighbor!

Jenny said...

I really like the bathhouse!

I really like the look the whole place actually.

I would enjoy visiting there in winter.

When the alligators were all on vacation!

BTW, I looked at the recipe section of your blog today.

Those are my favorite cookies in the world!


Thanks for another Kute link for A-T!


Annesphamily said...

Lovely post! I like that bath house! I really like it all! My SIL grew up in the Florida Keys! Hee Hee! I have never been to Florida. But it sure is a pretty state from what I know of it! Thank you! Anne