Tag Archives: marianna

The Monster Lizard of Shangri-La Cave

The mouth of Shangri-La Cave near Marianna, Florida.

One of my favorite old legends about Jackson County is the story of the Monster Lizard of Shangri-La Cave.

Early white settlers learned the story from the Lower Creek Indians who still lived in the county after the transfer of Florida from Spain to the United States in 1821. It tells of a monstrous lizard that guarded Shangri-La Caves at today’s Blue Springs Recreational Area near Marianna.

Econchattimico’s town on the Chattahoochee River as drawn by Francis, comte de Castelnau, in 1838.

The source for the legend was Econchattimico (Red Ground King). He was the leader of Eckanachatte (Red Ground), a Lower Creek village at today’s Neals Landing Park, prior to the First Seminole War. The town was destroyed in 1818, however, and its residents moved down the Chattahoochee River to rebuild.

Their new town, Tocktoethla (River Junction), stood on the river near today’s Arnold Landing north of Sneads. The site is now inundated by Lake Seminole, a 37,500 acre reservoir that forms much of Jackson County’s eastern border.

Shangri-La Spring in Jackson County near Marianna, Florida.

The town’s chief attracted considerable interest and was often visited by those curious about Native American culture and history. One of these preserved his story of the Monster Lizard:

…A hunter of the old days would seek deer at the Big Spring. He camped there many times and the water and the game were good. On this day he went down from the Big Spring to the rocky place and it was there that he heard the sound of the monster lizard. (1)

Looking down into Shangri-La Spring through crystal clear water.

The Big Spring, of course, was today’s Blue Springs (or Jackson Blue Spring as the state prefers to call it). The “rocky place” was the face of the limestone bluff at Shangri-La Spring, which is on the north bank of Merritt’s Mill Pond just downstream from Blue Springs.

The old chief continued his story:

Shangri-La Spring as seen from the limestone bluff. The legendary attack of the Monster Lizard took place here.

…It sounded like a tired dog. The hunter took shelter behind a rock so he could see the cave in which the monster lizard made his home. It slowly came out into the light. It was large. Larger than the largest alligator. Its teeth were like my knife. (2)

The Monster Lizard looked around, searching for the Native American hunter who had dared to disturb its lair. Its tongue flickered in and out:

Deep inside Shangri-La Cave. Econchattimico said that this was the lair of the Lizard Monster.

…The hunter was a brave warrior. Now he shook like dry leaves in the wind. He lay flat on the dirt, hoping he would not be seen. The Monster Lizard found him and picked him up in his mouth to take him back into the cave. The hunter knew he would be eaten but suddenly there was a sound. The Monster Lizard threw him down and went to find what had made the sound. It was a tiger. The hunter did not know what to do so he lay still as if he was dead. (3)

The word “tiger” was often used in historic times to refer to a panther. These beautiful big cats were once common in all parts of Florida:

The mouth of Shangri-La Cave as seen from the interior. The Lizard Monster entered here after being badly injured in its battle with the panther.

…The tiger battled the Monster Lizard. It was a big fight. The Monster Lizard tried to grab the tiger but the tiger slashed him with his claws. The Monster Lizard was badly hurt and finally gave up the fight and went into his cave. The hunter now was afraid that the tiger would eat him. He lay still and pretended to be dead. He then heard words, “Are you dead?” He opened his eyes and saw that the tiger had spoken to him. The hunter said, “no.” The tiger then said to him, “Get on my back then and I will carry you to your camp.” And he did. (4)

The story as told by Econchattimico was a version of an old legend told by the Creeks. There are different variations but all involve a hunter being attacked by a monstrous lizard and then being saved by a panther.

The legend was commonly told around fires in Creek towns and migrated with them to what is now Oklahoma when they were forced west on the Trail of Tears. Versions of it still survive there to this day.

The cave at Shangri-La is not open to the public at this time.

Dale Cox
September 14, 2017

References:

(1)  “A Tale of Conchatimico,” May 21, 1838, Carswell Collection.
(2)  Ibid.
(3)  Ibid.
(4)  Ibid.




Apalachicola & Choctawhatchee Rivers at Flood Stage (Jan. 24, 2017)

 

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Water pouring from the Jim Woodruff Dam at Chattahoochee, Florida.

The crest is moving downstream on the Apalachicola, Chipola and Choctawhatchee Rivers as water from this weekend’s storms continues to flow into all three.

(Scroll down the page for more photos!)

Here are river conditions as of 3 p.m. this afternoon. Please note that forecasts can change.

Apalachicola River at Chattahoochee

FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT

Level:     61.22 feet and falling
Crest:     62.32 (already reached)

The Apalachicola River at Chattahoochee crested at 62.32 feet last night and has started to fall. It did not reach flood stage.

Apalachicola River at Blountstown

FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT

Level:     19.81 feet.
Flood Level:     17 feet.
Projected Crest:     20.4 feet.

The Apalachicola River at Blountstown is above Flood Stage and will continue to rise before cresting at around 20.4 feet on Wednesday.

Chipola River at Marianna, Florida

Level:     15.32 feet and rising.
Flood Level:     19 feet.
Projected Crest:     17.4 feet.

Projected crest of the Chipola River at Marianna has been raised a second time now but the  river is not expected to reach flood stage.

Chipola River at Altha, Florida

Level:     16.87 feet and rising
Flood Level:     22 feet.
Projected Crest:     19.3 feet on Friday night.

Choctawhatchee River at Newton, Alabama

Level:     16.8 feet and falling.
Flood Level:     19 feet.
Crest:     24.8 feet.
The Choctawhatchee River crested at Newton on Monday (1/23) afternoon after reaching moderate flood levels. By 3 p.m. today, it had fallen 8 feet from its highest point yesterday.

Choctawhatchee River at Geneva, Alabama

FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT

Level:     24.36 feet and rising.
Flood Stage:     23 feet.
Projected Crest:     24.9 feet.

The Choctawhatchee River at Geneva, Alabama is nearing its projected crest of 24.9 feet . It should crest sometime tonight. The river is above flood stage.

Choctawhatchee River at Pittman, Florida (State Road 2)

FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT

Level:     24.67 feet and rising.
Flood Stage:     23 feet.
The Choctawhatchee River is above minor flood stage at Pittman in Holmes County, Florida, and is still rising.

Choctawhatchee River at Caryville, Florida

FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT

Level:     13.55 feet and rising.
Flood Stage:     12 feet.
Projected Crest:     14.9 feet.
The Choctawhatchee River is now above flood stage at the U.S. 90 bridge between Caryville, Florida and Westville, Florida. It will continue to rise tonight and tomorrow before cresting tomorrow night.

Choctawhatchee River at Ebro/Bruce, Florida (State Road 20)

FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT

Level:     12.61feet and rising.
Flood Stage:     13 feet.
Projected Crest:     16.5 feet.
The Choctawhatchee River is expected to reach Major Flood levels between Ebro and Bruce, Florida by Thursday or Friday. River interests should take all necessary precautions now and all safety recommendations should be followed.

We will provide another update tonight. Here are some photos taken today, yesterday and Sunday.

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Most of the gates were open today (Tuesday) at the Jim Woodruff Dam in Chattahoochee, Florida.
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A closer view of water coming through the Jim Woodruff Dam and into the Apalachicola River from Lake Seminole.
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Looking down the Apalachicola River from the U.S. 90 bridge at Chattahoochee, Florida. The historic bridge in the foreground is the old Victory Bridge, built during the 1920s and named to commemorate the Allied victory in World War I.

 

Oak tree damage along historic "canopy road" segment on Oak Grove Road north of Parramore, Florida.
Oak tree damage along historic “canopy road” segment on Oak Grove Road north of Parramore, Florida.
Electric lines wrapped in fallen oak tree on Oak Grove Road north of Parramore in Jackson County, Florida.
Electric lines wrapped in fallen oak tree on Oak Grove Road north of Parramore in Jackson County, Florida.
Choctawhatchee River over its banks at Cedar Bridge on County Road 83 near Echo, Alabama.
Choctawhatchee River over its banks at Cedar Bridge on County Road 83 near Echo, Alabama. (Photo by Kate Kirkland)
Choctawhatchee River Flooding near Echo, Alabama (Photo by Kate Kirkland).
Choctawhatchee River Flooding near Echo, Alabama (Photo by Kate Kirkland).
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Chipola River beginning to rise at Marianna, Florida. The U.S. 90 bridge is in the background.
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Chipola River starting its rise at Marianna, Florida. Notice the brick pier from the 1914 steel bridge in the background. Part of today’s U.S. 90 bridge is visible at the extreme left of the photo.

 

Overnight River Level Updates – 1/7/2017

Chipola River at Marianna, Florida. The U.S. 90 bridge is in the background.
Chipola River at Marianna, Florida. The U.S. 90 bridge is in the background.
View from the Chipola River Overlook on East Jackson Street in Marianna.
View from the Chipola River Overlook on East Jackson Street in Marianna.

OVERNIGHT UPDATE (1/7/2017)

More rain is falling across the area but it is too soon to know what impact it might have on river levels. The Choctawhatchee had crested at Pittman and Caryville, the Chipola had crested at Marianna and the Apalachicola had crested at Chattahoochee but that was before the overnight rains.

Here are the latest river levels as of midnight:

Chipola River at Marianna, Florida

***Flood Warning in Effect***

18.71 feet and falling.
Flood Stage is 19 feet.
The Chipola River at Marianna has now fallen back below flood stage but remains very high. The river is over its banks throughout Jackson County and into Calhoun County. Some roads and the campground at Florida Caverns State Park are closed. Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail is closed.

Chipola River near Altha, Florida

***Flood Warning in Effect***

22.03 feet and rising.
Flood Stage is 22 feet,
The Chipola River at Altha continues to rise and is now above flood stage. The projected crest of 22.4 feet is expected to take place sometime on Saturday.

Apalachicola River at Chattahoochee, Florida

River level at Chattahochee is 60.57 feet and falling.
Flood stage is 66 feet.
The Apalachicola River at Chattahoochee crested on Thursday and has now fallen by nearly three feet. It remains over its banks in the River Landing area.

Apalachicola River at Blountstown, Florida

***Flood Warning in Effect***
River level at Blountstown is 20.52 feet and nearing its crest.
Flood stage is 17 feet.
A flood warning is in effect at Blounstown, where the Apalachicola River is above flood stage and is expected to crest tonight at 20.6 feet.

Choctawhatchee River at Pittman, Florida (Highway 2)

***Flood Warning in Effect***
River level at Pittman is 24.1 feet and falling.
Flood stage is 23 feet.
The Choctawhatchee River at Pittman (State Road 2) crested at 26 feet and is now falling. It remains above flood stage, however, and all safety measures should be followed.

Choctawhatchee River at Caryville, Florida (US 90)

***Flood Warning in Effect***
River level at Caryville is 14.4 feet and is falling.
Flood stage is 12 feet.
The Choctawhatchee River at Caryville crested 24 hours ago and is falling. Flood conditions continue at this time, however, and all safety precautions should be followed.

Choctawhatchee River near Bruce/Ebro Florida (State Road 20)

***Flood Warning in Effect***
River level is 17.64 feet and nearing its crest.
Flood stage is 13 feet.
The Choctawhatchee River between Ebro and Bruce is more than 4.5 feet above flood stage at midnight was still rising. A MAJOR flood is now underway. Those with homes, fishing camps and other interests along the  The river is nearing its crest and should begin to fall by tomorrow morning. Flood conditions will continue for a number of days from near the Choctawhachee’s confluence with Holmes Creek to the Gulf of Mexico. Please follow all instructions from Emergency Management Offices and other emergency workers. DO NOT DRIVE into flooded areas.

Flood Photos from Chattahoochee, Marianna, Bellamy Bridge & Lake Seminole

Here are some photos of the January flood of 2017 from Lake Seminole, Marianna, Bellamy Bridge and Chattahoochee:

The Apalachicola River is running high as water pours through the Jim Woodruff Dam at Chattahoochee.
The Apalachicola River is running high as water pours through the Jim Woodruff Dam at Chattahoochee.
Flood waters nearly surround the Great Platform Mound, one of seven prehistoric Indian mounds at River Landing Park in Chattahoochee.
Flood waters nearly surround the Great Platform Mound, one of seven prehistoric Indian mounds at River Landing Park in Chattahoochee.
Stage area at River Landing Park in Chattahoochee is surrounded by water.
Stage area at River Landing Park in Chattahoochee is surrounded by water.
Anglers doing some "fast water" fishing off River Landing Park at Chattahoochee. The U.S. 90 bridge is in the background.
Anglers doing some “fast water” fishing off River Landing Park at Chattahoochee. The U.S. 90 bridge is in the background.
The Apalachicola River is over its banks at Chattahoochee and can clearly be seen in this photo taken from the eastern approaches of the U.S. 90 bridge.
The Apalachicola River is over its banks at Chattahoochee and can clearly be seen in this photo taken from the eastern approaches of the U.S. 90 bridge.
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail on the Chipola River north of Marianna is completely flooded. This point is 1/2 mile from the Chipola River.
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail on the Chipola River north of Marianna is completely flooded. This point is 1/2 mile from the Chipola River.
Chipola River at Bellamy Bridge.
Chipola River at Bellamy Bridge.
Water up to the trailhead sign at the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail on the Chipola River north of Marianna.
Water up to the trailhead sign at the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail on the Chipola River north of Marianna.
The Chipola out of its banks and flooding part of Citizens Lodge Park on Caverns Road in Marianna.
The Chipola out of its banks and flooding part of Citizens Lodge Park on Caverns Road in Marianna.
Chipola River at flood stage as seen from Yancy Bridge on Caverns Road in Marianna.
Chipola River at flood stage as seen from Yancy Bridge on Caverns Road in Marianna.
Water fills the Chipola River floodplain at Yancy Bridge on Caverns Road in Marianna.
Water fills the Chipola River floodplain at Yancy Bridge on Caverns Road in Marianna.
Flooded boat ramp and docks at Parramore Landing Park on Lake Seminole in Jackson County, Florida.
Flooded boat ramp and docks at Parramore Landing Park on Lake Seminole in Jackson County, Florida.
Picnic area flooding at Parramore Landing Park.
Picnic area flooding at Parramore Landing Park.
Picnic area flooding at Parramore Landing Park on Lake Seminole in Jackson County, Florida.
Picnic area flooding at Parramore Landing Park on Lake Seminole in Jackson County, Florida.
Water over the boat ramp and fishing dock at Buena Vista Landing on Lake Seminole in Jackson County, Florida.
Water over the boat ramp and fishing dock at Buena Vista Landing on Lake Seminole in Jackson County, Florida.
Water overflowing the boat ramp at Neal's Landing Park on the Chattahoochee River arm of Lake Seminole.
Water overflowing the boat ramp at Neal’s Landing Park on the Chattahoochee River arm of Lake Seminole. The Chattahoochee River is visible in the background.
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High water at Neal’s Landing Park.
View from the Chipola River Overlook on East Jackson Street in Marianna.
Chipola River at Marianna, Florida.
Chipola River at Marianna, Florida. The U.S. 90 bridge is in the background.
Chipola River at Marianna, Florida. The U.S. 90 bridge is in the background.
Chipola River at Marianna, taken earlier today.
Chipola River Overlook at Marianna, Florida.

Adventure into Old Indian Cave

Historic Old Indian Cave is part of Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, Florida. The cave has been closed to the public for nearly 50 years but Two Egg TV obtained special permission to crawl inside for a look:

If you enjoyed this story, check out our streaming channel for more! Just click play below:

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Ghost Tour of Marianna, Florida

Two Egg TV takes you on a Ghost Tour of historic Marianna, Florida.  Enjoy!

If you have difficulty playing the video above (usually due to low bandwidth), you can also watch below via YouTube:

See other great ghost stories and more by watching Two Egg TV live at http://twoegg.tv

 

SHARKANSAS is out! Filmed in Jackson County!

Sharkansas is now available for order or online streaming!
Sharkansas is now available for order or online streaming!

SHARKANSAS, the action movie filmed in Marianna and Jackson County is now available!

The film features scenes shot at Florida Caverns State Park, Merritt’s Mill Pond and other locations around Jackson County and the city of Marianna, Florida.

Numerous local people assisted with or appear in the film, among them Edd Sorenson of Cave Adventurers as well as Kelly Banta and other staff members from Florida Caverns.

Directed by famed filmmaker Jim Wynorski, the movie runs 83 minutes.

You can order your Blu-Ray or watch the streaming version right here:

Watch instantly:

Taking a stand against the Ku Klux Klan

H.K. Edgerton (left) and historian Dale Cox greet photographers in downtown Marianna, Florida.
H.K. Edgerton (left) and historian Dale Cox greet photographers in downtown Marianna, Florida.

by Dale Cox

Marianna – We all have our strong core beliefs. For years I have tried to do what I could to support the right of the public to know, to speak and to be heard.

First Amendment rights are very important to me.

I was stunned this week when I saw news from Jacksonville that the Ku Klux Klan had turned out to protest an appearance by H.K. Edgerton.

H.K. Edgerton listens to the story of the Battle of Marianna.
H.K. Edgerton listens to the story of the Battle of Marianna.

If you aren’t familiar with Mr. Edgerton, let me give you the basics. He is an African-American who supports the Confederate battle flag and leaving Confederate monuments in place. He works hard and travels widely in support of his beliefs. His prominence has grown over time and he is currently engaged in a symbolic walk across Florida to oppose efforts to take down Confederate memorials.

Earlier this week, this Confederate battle flag waving black man was confronted by the Ku Klux Klan. To his surprise, protesters that had turned out to oppose his flag suddenly came to his assistance and surrounded him. They asserted that he had a right to fly his flag if he wished, taking a stand for free speech in the face of Klan members.

Dale Cox (left) and H.K. Edgerton walk along Lafayette Street in Marianna.
Dale Cox (left) and H.K. Edgerton walk along Lafayette Street in Marianna.

It was an odd moment. As I thought about it, I realized that whether we agree with Mr. Edgerton or not, we all have an obligation to make sure that American citizens are not harassed, intimidated or otherwise prevented from expressing their views.

I am a supporter of preserving all history, without regard to race, culture or results. I have written books that focused on American Indians, the War Between the States, the Seminole Wars and other topics. I have a new one coming this summer that gives attention to the free African-American colony that existed at Prospect Bluff on the Apalachicola River in 1814-1816.

Those who know me well know that I believe that there is something in history in which each of us can take pride, regardless of our race or culture. If Mr. Edgerton takes pride in Southern culture and the often ignored African-Americans who served in the Confederate armed forces, then I am fine with that and wish him well.

When I heard that he had been opposed by the Ku Klux Klan in Jacksonville, I was stunned and angered. I have long known that such hate groups were active in major Florida cities, especially Tampa. Journalists in those cities often like to point fingers at the small towns of our state when the real hate groups of Florida are active in their own backyards.

So, I decided to walk with H.K. Edgerton.

H.K. Edgerton is greeted by local citizens at Russ House Commons.
H.K. Edgerton is greeted by local citizens at Russ House Commons.

I met him at the Battle of Marianna monument in downtown Marianna today and we walked the two long blocks west to the Russ House Commons. People of all colors honked their horns, waved, snapped pictures or in some cases just looked confused. Everyone we met was kind and courteous. We spoke about the Battle of Marianna and the history of Jackson County.

I was proud of the way our community responded to Mr. Edgerton’s appearance. Marianna and Jackson County showed true hospitality in welcoming him. We had no disruptions from the Ku Klux Klan or anyone else, although the Marianna Police Department was nearby and ready in case of trouble.

There is much that is controversial about Mr. Edgerton’s views and some like what he has to say while others strongly oppose his statements. That is fine with me. Debate and discussion is healthy.

What is not healthy is when a hate group like the Ku Klux Klan tries to shut down someone’s right to speak through intimidation. The people of this area took a stand against the Ku Klux Klan today.

Thank you one and all.