"History-Tourism" Can Be Beneficial to Local Economy
ASHS Column for 07 06 2006
Margaret Collier

    We've all heard of eco-tourism. It’s a
great incentive for travel to new places
that depend on the tourist trade to boost
their protection of special environments
(think "Save the Whales"). It can also
fill their coffers with much-
dollars. The same thing can be said of
history-tourism. Recently our attention has
been brought to this when our own Neal
Collier visited John Powell in St.
Augustine. Powell is a familiar name to
many of you, since he was once the curator
of the Thomas E. McMillan Museum at Jeff
Davis Community College in Brewton. He’s
now in St. Augustine, Florida.

    We all know what a historic place our
oldest city is so we thought you would enjoy
the accompanying picture of John and Neal in
period Spanish military attire. John appears
on a regular basis as the drummer for the
changing of the guard. Neal appeared as a
fill-in for a guardsman. The tourists just
eat this up.

    We are thinking that even though we in
this area do not have the dramatic
background and resources that St. Augustine
and other historic areas have, we are looking
forward to getting the ASLC locomotive # 100
back and the whole exhibit ready to greet tourists. We think that the history of the lumber industry in this area, plus the role of the railroad, should be of sufficient interest to boost our economy. I do want to stress the role of the local people of this entire area. If you don't come to view the museums, help with the work, talk up the excitement of the uniqueness of our area and support this gigantic effort with your dollars and labor we'll never realize all the advantages of history-tourism.
    If you are one of those who have never visited the James Houston Jones Historic Park bestir yourself and get thee down there. Even if you have visited in the past, go again. You may be surprised at what is going on. Actually, you may find parts of the Park a mess, but be not dismayed. The torn down fence, piles of fill dirt and tracks running all over the place are only signs of progress. Things will be in a constant state of change as preparations are being made for the train exhibit, so do keep coming!
                              * * *
    Now for more on The Winding River Road (Volume 11). I do hope that stringing it out over these many weeks is not detracting too much from its interest and historic importance. It really is much more impressive when read in one sitting, but for column purposes that won't work, so bear with us as we bring it to you on the installment plan. 
                              * * *
    After crossing the Holly Mill Creek the road curved to the right leading almost due east to the home site of Frank Sunday. Here the road forked, the right prong leading almost due east up the south side of the Wilson Branch to an intersection with the log and timber road over which logs, hewn timber and spars had been hauled from all over Pine Level and way down on Cold Water to landings on the river.

    From this intersection the Winding Road followed the log and timber road, curving to the right around a small branch head, known in the early days as Wolf Pen Branch, so named because of the location of a wolf pen near it, and later as the James Nelson Spring Branch. The road continued to the south, winding along a narrow ridge to the Rocky Hill Pass, which pass is a narrow ridge extending between two hollows, the one on the right forming the head of Red Hill Branch, the head of the north prong of the Holly Mill Creek and the one on the left forming the head of the creek known during the Spanish occupation as Governor's Creek, later as Gaylor Creek and now as Campbell Creek.

    This pass for years was known as the most noted one in this area. All the timber hauled from the forest lying north, east and south for several miles was brought over this pass to the river, because the hollows leading from it were too deep and the hills too steep for the heavy timber to be hauled across them. This pass was famous as the best deer stand in the county. Deer coming from almost any direction crossed this pass to avoid the steep hills. Wild turkeys did the same thing unless crowded by a fast dog or a man on horseback.

    Livestock in passing back and forth from the grazing lands on the level to the grazing lands among the hills and in the river swamps and hammocks always traveled over this pass. Even the cunning wily fox when leading in the chase never failed to use this pass unless headed off by the dogs or detected a hunter on the stand.

    After crossing the Rocky Hill Pass this prong of the Winding River Road turned almost due northeast using the northeast prong of the early log and timber roads leading to the pass. It followed this log and timber road to its intersection with the Milton-Pollard road and Pollard-Johnson Ferry Road at the south end of the lane at the Cobb Old Field where the village of Jay now is located.
                              * * *
    There is much more to this tale, so keep buying those Ledgers.

    P.S. Just had a call from Grace Joiner out in Bratt. She said that she remembers when there was a small black church between the Century Cemetery and the railroad track, but only remembered the cemetery being called Century Cemetery or the Black Cemetery. She also remembered when Marvin Kelly lived near the cemetery, but his house burned sometime in the '30's. The field where the old home site was became known as "Kelly Field." We always enjoy hearing from you readers, so keep on calling!

Neal Collier, left, and John Powell at changing of the guard in St. Augustine, Florida

This page last modified on Friday, June 30, 2006