The greenway is a designated Florida Recreation and Conservation area after a storied past of litigation and partial progress. FDR authorized funds for work in 1934-1935 to construct a canal across the state. Work also was re-initiated in 1964 before President Nixon stopped the project by Executive Order in the 1970's. Finally Congress de-authorized funding and all lands were transferred over to the state of Florida.
Today the canal is far less than what was intended, and only covers 110 miles of canal connecting the St. John's River (near Palatka on the east coast) with Yankeetown on the west coast.
Our interest in the area was two fold:
1) We needed to find a place to stay for a week in February after waiting until December to find a campground in Florida. This presented a few issues, mainly -- all the State Parks were filled (except for a couple of days here and there; and
2) Commercial campgrounds this time of year command a pretty high dollar. After all it is in the middle of snowbird 'high season'. Rodman Campground fees: $24.42/night.
After a couple of hours of calling around and finally securing a spot at the Rodman Campground, we looked forward to 'checking out' the local area.
Palatka is about 12 miles away from Rodman Campground in the middle of the Ocala National Forest. On one trip to Palatka, we stopped at the local Chamber of Commerce. We learned Palatka had a number of murals depicting snapshots in its history.
This caught our interest as we have been to a number of other towns with murals. Some of those we have seen in our travels included murals in:
- Pontiac, Illinois (aka Walldogs), July 2009
- 29 Palms, California, January 2010
- Lake Placid, Florida, February 2013
- Vicksburg, Mississippi, June 2013
Each have their own unique style and approach but we find them all pretty interesting.
I think we captured most of them after tracking them down on the city map. Sometimes we had to go down another street and change directions. Lots of pictures here which are probably not the best way to represent them, but for documentation reasons when we want to go back and relook at some Roadrunner adventures years from now -- we'll be able to find them in one place.
Here they are in no particular order:
Mary Lawson Hospital
Harlem Nights in Palatka
Mural on side of local business
Senator B.C. Pearce
Cattle Drives to Paines Prairie
High Time in Palatka
Work in Progress: Honoring Vets including those that served in Iraq and Afghanistan
To God Be the Glory
Putnam County Wildflowers
Battle at Horse Landing
The Putnam House
Putnam County Jail
Putnam County Courthouse
Palatka City Hall
Old JT&K Railway Station
Old Palatka Waterworks
One of the reasons we chose this area was because we wanted to get to know the Central Area of Florida a little better. We've been able to get a glimpse of the Canal, Palatka, the Ocala National Forest. Plus we've put a few hundred miles on the car as we have taken a number of day trips. Its been fun to get a semblance of 'the lay of the land'.
And we enjoyed chasing down the Murals of Palatka.
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!