Labor Day brings with it the end of the season at Fox Hollow Vineyard in Sneads, Florida!
The vineyard was founded in 2003 and has grown to become a great success story in local agri-tourism. Owned by Susan and Bruce Paul, Fox Hollow first began producing as a U-pick and commercial vineyard in 2006.
The vineyard produces muscadines, a species of grape that is native to Florida and the Southeast. They have been commercially produced since the 1500s when the Spanish first colonized Florida and were growing in vineyard around St. Augustine long before the first Pilgrim landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts.
Fox Hollow Vineyard is open for “U-pick” and “We-pick” purchases from early August through Labor Day weekend of each year.
They will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday of this weekend from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Eastern time). Monday will be the last day for this year!
The cost for U-pick is $5 for a field bucket (around 7 pounds) and $25 for a 5-gallon bucket (around 32 pounds). They also will pick for you and wholesale/bulk purchases are available too.
The director of the National Park Service announced today that the historic Sneads Town Pump and log Community Building have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The application that led to the recognition was prepared by Andrew Waber of the Florida Division of Historical Resources with support from Connie Butts, the Sneads City Manager.
The Sneads Town Pump was erected in 1899-1900 by Gabriel Smith and was one of the earliest pumps of its type in the area. It stands on a lot of just over one acre that was sold to the City of Sneads by F.A. and Mittie Brown on February 18, 1899. The sale price of the land was $200.
Legend holds that “He who drinks from this pump will always return.” It was once a tradition in Sneads for local men to take any non-local grooms to the pump for a “drink” to make sure that they always returned to their bride’s hometown.
The Sneads Community Building is a charming log cabin structure that is, according to the application, a “locally significant example of New Deal architecture.” It was built in around 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Great Depression effort started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help create jobs for starving American families.
The structure was built using locally cut logs and features a beautiful stone fireplace and chimney. It serves as a community meeting place today and stands immediately behind the old Town Pump.
Both landmarks are located at 8025 Old Spanish Trail, Sneads, FL 32460.
The now defunct Jackson County Historic Commission placed a marker adjacent to the pump in 1970. The commission was an ancestor of sorts for today’s Chipola Historical Trust.
The listing of the Sneads Town Pump and Community Building on the National Register of Historic Places will shine a positive new spotlight on the community. Many travelers visit and photograph historic sites using the list as a guide.
Butler was a thriving Chattahoochee River community during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is a ghost town today.
The village was named for the Butler family that once lived there. At its height it was the location of a store, sawmill, gristmill, turpentine still, cotton gin and paddlewheel steamboat landing.
Butler was demolished in 1951, however, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acquired the site during the construction of the Jim Woodruff Dam. Lake Seminole, the 37,500 acre reservoir formed by the dam, was expected to flood community. The waters of the lake did rise and inundate parts of the site, but much of old Butler remains above water.
Click the play button to watch our special tour of the Ghost Town of Butler, Florida:
If you would like to visit the site of Butler, it is located within the Apalachee Wildlife Management Area 6.2 miles north of U.S. 90 at Sneads, Florida. The community surrounded the intersection of River Road (SR-271) and Butler Road.
It was a completely unexpected and stunning sight. Leaving a wake larger than passing boats, the massive creature was photographed from more than one-quarter mile away as it made its way up Lake Seminole from the vicinity of the Jim Woodruff Dam.
Lake Seminole is known for its enormous alligators, but this one may be the biggest of them all. It is impossible to estimate its exact size, but some idea can be obtained from these photographs taken from the Jim Woodruff Dam Overlook in Sneads, Florida, by Two Egg TV.
The overlook is atop a high bluff that provides a spectacular view of the dam and lake. The gigantic alligator can be seen in both close-ups and wide shots as it moves north from the dam, leaving an enormous wake behind. These photographs were taken from atop the bluff, which rises more than 30-feet above the shore of the lake, and from a distance estimated at between 1/4 and 1/2 of a mile away.
Even from that distance, its size and outline is very clear.
Lake Seminole is located on the line that divides Florida from Georgia and was created in 1958 by the damming of the forks of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. It covers 37,500 acres and is popular for fishing, boating, skiing, birding and a host of outdoor activities. It is also a great place to see alligators in the wild.
And lest you have any doubt that prehistoric monsters lurk beneath its surface and along its banks, the largest alligator ever found in Georgia was killed on the lake in 2013 by permitted alligator hunters. The monster weighed 620 pounds and and measured 13′ 10.75″ long.
In fact, the record Lake Seminole alligator was 1.75″ longer than the previous state record, a 13′ 9″ alligator also found in Lake Seminole.
Is the new Lake Seminole Monster even bigger? It is impossible to say. Measuring sizes from such distances can be deceptive. There is no doubt, however, that a massive alligator still inhabits Lake Seminole.
Jackson County, Florida, where these photos were taken, is also the setting for the coming monster movie CobraGator! Just worth noting….
A South Florida legislator wants to see the statue of Dr. John Gorrie pulled down and removed from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Gorrie, a 19th century resident of Apalachicola, was the inventor of the ice machine and artificial refrigeration. His work and theories paved the way for the development of air conditioning, modern food preservation and the use of temperature control to save the lives of patients with malaria and other fevers. Without the discoveries made possible by this great scientist, modern Florida would never have developed.
The famed scientist, who also lived briefly near present-day Sneads, is one of two Floridians honored at Statuary Hall in the nation’s capital. The other is Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, a St. Augustine native, who served in the U.S. and Confederate armies and was wounded in the service of both.
A move has been underway in the Florida to topple Smith’s statue from its place in Statuary Hall due to his Confederate service (even though Confederate servicemen are considered U.S. veterans under federal law). The effort has now expanded to include Dr. Gorrie, who never served the Confederacy, as well.
Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (GOP, Miami) has sponsored House Bill 141 that calls for dragging Smith’s statue from the U.S. Capitol. His bill has now been amended to call for the toppling of Dr. Gorrie’s statue as well.
The proposal has been approved by an 18-1 vote of the House Appropriations Committee and is on its way for a vote in the full house, perhaps as soon as tomorrow (Monday, February 8).
Remarkably, the amendment calling for the tearing down of Dr. Gorrie’s statue comes just months after he was named in 2015 to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. The great scientist’s legacy is also remembered in Apalachicola at the John Gorrie Museum State Park. He is buried across the street from the museum. (See video of some of the Gorrie-related sites in Apalachicola at the bottom of this post).
Apalachicola and Sneads are small cities in Northwest Florida with virtually no power in the Florida Legislature, which appears to be experiencing an unprecedented wave of political correctness. Their connection to Dr. Gorrie, however, provides an opportunity for young people to learn about a great scientist and how the work of one local man changed the world.
An effort to remove the statue of a scientist and school from the U.S. Capitol is especially astounding given the obvious need in Florida to inspire students to take greater interest in math and science. The Miami representative and his cohorts should be ashamed of themselves.
Rep. Brad Drake of Walton County, who represents the Sneads area, has announced that he will oppose House Bill 141. He is due our gratitude for taking a principal stand in the face of a powerful movement.
If you live in Florida, please join me in encouraging your local state representative to vote NO on House Bill 141. You can locate the name and contact information of your representative by visiting Florida House of Representatives.
Here is a short video of some of the places connected to Dr. Gorrie in historic Apalachicola, Florida: