Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Historian Has Some Stories to Tell about Bartram in St. Johns County

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Historian Has Some Stories to Tell about Bartram in St. Johns County

Article excerpt

Happy New Year 2001! Hopefully, by now everyone is settling down into the new year with all the Christmas stuff put away in the attic for yet another year.

Tonight on ABC at 8 p.m., the national championship college football game will be televised from the Orange Bowl in Miami. The Florida State University Seminoles play the Oklahoma University Sooners. So for all the football widows, this is the end of college football for the season.

I had the pleasure of spending several hours with St. Augustine author and historian David Nolan. I learned a lot about the history here in the northwestern part of St. Johns County including Fruit Cove, Switzerland, Orangedale and Mill Creek. Nolan is the author of The Houses of St. Augustine and Fifty Feet of Paradise in Florida. Twenty-three years ago, Nolan had a job going house-to-house in St. Augustine to record the type of windows in each house, the number of stories, the type of roof and the age of every house.

Nolan states: "We are truly footsteps of history." If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, you will leave both entertained and more knowledgeable about the area.

Some Fruit Cove facts from Nolan: Woody Guthrie lived at 1523 Florida 13; he wrote the song This Land Was Made for You and Me. The Bartram Trail Scenic Highway, the Bartram Trail library and the high school are all named for John and William Bartram. In 1760, father and son moved to Florida and bought acres of land. As a team they sought out new varieties of plants to share with the world. Said Nolan: "The No. 1 plant to buy at the time was, in fact, poison ivy."

"The Bartrams had a huge plantation," Nolan said. "If you travel from Florida 13 over the Shands Bridge, look over your shoulder and all you can see is where the plantation was." For more information, a biography about the Bartrams was written by Thomas Slaughter titled Natures of John and William Bartram.

Fruit Cove was founded in 1871. …

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