Adventures in Roadside Archaeology - Old FL Route 23 / 50
About 6 months back, my son and I went ‘splorin near the Green Swamp tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest, hoping to find some large "Welcome to Sumter County" markers erected in the early 1900’s, marking the Sumter County FL line. These markers were rumored to be located in the middle of the swamp / forest, on what was once the main road into Hernando County.
During one of my trips down the Internet rabbit hole, I found a 1923 article covering a new 12 mile road being completed in Hernando County. It was given the designation of State Road 23. This road connected Pasco County in the south, and Sumter County to the north. It was gone from maps by the 1940’s. The road was renumbered and realigned to the present day FL50.
In June of last year, we got to a dead end road and the remnants of a long abandoned bridge. We felt we were on the right track, but bugs, temps in the 90’s, a dense forest and church clothes held us at bay.
So today we returned - ready, willing and able. We hoofed it over the remnants of that old wood bridge that hadn’t seen traffic in 75 years. We slugged thru the woods, crossed a barbed wire fence, and there they were maybe 100 yards ahead! Two 8 foot tall concrete markers with the words “Sumter County”...just past the remnants of an even larger bridge, in too bad of shape to try to cross. (We "zoomed in" on our iPhones to capture the markers.)
We tried to access the area from the Sumter County side, but that road was gated and “No Trespassing” signs posted all over. Shortly after our arrival, a local drove down to see what we were up to. Next up - an O.K. from the property owner next to see ‘em close up!