Suwannee River State Park
The park occupies a peaceful
setting along the banks of
Florida's famed Suwannee
Civil War Fortifications
Southern troops built this fort
to protect the Suwannee River
bridge during the Civil War. - Suwannee River State Park, Florida - Suwannee River State Park, Florida
Suwannee River State Park - Live Oak, Florida
Florida's Historic Suwannee River
This view of the Suwannee River in winter was taken
from the picnic area at historic Suwannee River
State Park near Live Oak, Florida.
History on the Suwannee River
Florida's Suwannee River is a Southern
treasure and Suwannee River State Park
near Live Oak is an outstanding place to
explore its history and scenic beauty.

Made famous by a 19th century song writer
who never actually saw its waters, the river
flows from Georgia south through North
Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. It has become a
major eco-tourism destination and is also a
fascinating corridor of history and heritage.

The state park is located at the confluence of
the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers.
During antebellum times, this was the site of
the town of Columbus.

Home to more than 500 people at its height,
the town is now a lost city. Not a single
building remains today and all that can be
found to remind visitors of the town's
presence is the old Columbus Cemetery
located on one of the park's hiking trails.

Paddlewheel steamboats came up the
Suwannee River to old Columbus and the
town was also the location of an important
bridge where one of Florida's earliest
railroads crossed the river.

The protection of this bridge became a vital
objective of Confederate forces during the
Civil War. The railroad crossing was the only
major transportation link between the
eastern and western halves of Florida and if
Union troops could capture or destroy the
bridge, they could cut the state in half.

To defend the span, Southern troops built
powerful earthwork forts on the east bank
of the river flanking the railroad. One of these
forts has been preserved and can now be
seen at Suwannee River State Park.

When Union forces invaded Florida in
February of 1864, Gen. Truman Seymour
identified the Suwannee River bridge as one
of the objectives of his campaign. He
marched inland with 5,500 men, planning to
push as far west as the Suwannee River to
capture and destroy the bridge.

The campaign ended in disaster for
theFederal troops when Confederate forces
surprised and handed them a major defeat
at the
Battle of Olustee on February 20, 1864.
The bridge over the Suwannee remained in
Southern hands for the rest of the war.
The site of the old Civil War era bridge can be
seen along a hiking trail in the park adjacent
to the earthworks of the Confederate fort.

Suwannee River State Park offers a variety of
hiking trails, a launching ramp, camping and
a beautiful picnic area overlooking the river.

The park is open year-round during daylight
hours and is located on U.S. Highway 90
near Live Oak.
Be sure to click here to visit
the park's official website for more

The cost of admission is $5 per vehicle ($4 if
there is only one person in the car). Hikers or
bicyclists can enter for $2.

Also of interest in the area is the
Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, only
about 30 minutes away in White Springs.
Also located on the banks of the Suwannee,
the park preserves the musical legacy of
Stephen Foster, composer of "Way Down
Upon the Suwannee River" and also
provides a fascinating introduction to the folk
life of the Upper Suwannee.
Old Columbus Cemetery
One of the hiking trails leads
to this burial ground, all that
remains of the antebellum
Florida town of Columbus.
Steamboat Wreckage
This machinery, now on
display in the park, was once
part of a Suwannee River
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.