RR bridge on the Ocala Northern/Oklawaha Valley RRs

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I am interested in a particular railroad bridge which was purchased in 1908 by E.P. Rentz, a sawyer from Ocala and Silver Spring Fla. Rentz purchased the bridge from the FEC Key West Extension. It was a steel deck bascule bridge, 90' overall in length. The bridge was delivered FOB anywhere in the FEC line.

Rentz built a (narrow guage?) 115? or 130? miles line from Ocala to Silver Spring (I read that he used SAL track for that) and then up the valley of the Oklawaha River to the deep water mouth of the St. John's River. The RR was incirporated as the "Ocala Northern" in 1909, then re=incorporated under the same "Oklawaha Valley" in 1915.

My questions are as follows: What became of the line? Is the railraod bridge still in existence? Where was it? (SOmeone guessed over the Silver River? Do any pictures of the bridge exist?

I would appreciate any information whatsoever about this short line, and specifically the bridge.

Thank you -- Meg Kallman Feeley

-- Meg Feeley (Poetessnyc@hotmail.com), December 24, 2001


Bob Mann has posted a comprehensive history of the Ocklawaha Valley, at http://www.webspawner.com/users/ovrailroad. Regarding the bridge, you might contact him directly, at the email address listed at the bottom of his Webpage.

-- Jeff Gerlach (jgerlach@trainsofthought.com), September 26, 2002.

I am responding late to this question, but my guess is that the bridge was located at one of the places where the railroad line crossed the Oklawaha River between Ocala and Palatka, either at Ft. McCoy or at Rodman. I checked in Mike Walker's "Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America", and the abandoned line is depicted on p.14 as extending between Silver Springs Jct. and Palatka. The line did not cross the Silver River, but did cross the Oklawaha River at two locations, as mentioned above. Those are the two places that I would focus on, especially the Ft. McCoy location. Hope that this is of some help! Best wishes in your efforts! Aaron Dowling (aarondowling@cfl.rr.com)

-- Aaron Dowling (aarondowling@cfl.rr.com), September 25, 2002.

dont know... i would guess that with the building of the rodman reservoir and the damming of the oklawaha river in the 70's that if the bridge was still in place, it would have been removed prior to that... depending on how south of ocala the bridge was. Im at a loss however

-- troy nolen (tnolen12@tampabay.rr.com), December 25, 2001.

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