Busy Crystal River...A 1905 Profile

Her Industries, New Railroad Facilities, Improvements on the River Front, A New Bank

      Crystal River, situated as she is, at the head of the splendid waterway of the same name, is destined to become one of the most important towns on the Gulf Coast.  It is only in recent years however that her splendid natural advantages have come to the notice of capital.

There are at present, industries there that would make towns of twice her size put on city airs.

The Crystal River Lumber Company, one of the largest concerns of its kind in the state, is running at its full capacity and has on its payrolls more than one hundred men, beside the large force of men that are occupied in getting out timber and shipping the large output down the river to deep water. This company now has in operation eight miles of railroad which is used exclusively for hauling its supply of timber from the forests in the interior of the county. The last of four locomotive engines has been installed on this road within the past week. New machine shops are being erected in close proximity to the mill to be used only in the repair of its own machinery. Work has just been started on a new pier so as to facilitate the shipment of the vast quantities of lumber turned out daily. Mr. J. T. Rawls is superintendent of these mills and his efficiency in handling the vast business of the concern is largely responsible for its continued success.

The crate and basket mill of Baum and Robertson is also among the leading industries of Crystal River and employs a large force of men every day of the year. Its capacity for turning out veneered and sawed crates, baskets, etc., is surpassed by few in the entire state.

A company to be known as the Crystal River Fish and Oyster Company is now applying for a charter to do business. This company is composed of Messrs. J. B. Cutler, J. L. Leitner, G. W. Neville, and C. L. Hobbs of Dunnellon and L. S. Black of Crystal River. These gentlemen propose in the near future to construct a fleet of fishing vessels for use on the Gulf Coast and plans for a large warehouse and shipping depot on the river front has already been placed with the contractors.

There are at present large fisheries with headquarters at Crystal River on account of the excellent shipping facilities offered, among them T. H. Hoy & Company and L. S. Black.

The Gulf Coast Shipping and Salvage Company is another newly organized concern. The object of this company is to establish a line of boats between Crystal River and New Orleans. The company is composed of citizens of Marion and Citrus Counties who have abundant faith in the ultimate importance of Crystal River as a shipping point for the whole of central Florida.

The Dixon Company’s large cedar mills are located here and employ hosts of men women and boys in the preparation of cedar for pencils. The cedar is cut into small pieces, the length of an ordinary pencil at these mills, after which it is shipped to New Jersey to be manufactured into pencils. This cedar is said to be the finest in the world for making pencils on account of its straight grain and scarcity of knots.

It is stated upon good authority that Crystal River will have a banking establishment within a very short time, the larger portion of the capital to be furnished by the local business men. 

Col. Nic Barco, one of the moving spirits of the town, in company with several other gentlemen who see nothing to prevent Crystal River from becoming an important and thriving business center, have purchased a large tract of land just east of the present town site and the same is now being laid off in town lots. No sooner had it been known that this property was to be opened than over twenty people made application for some of the better locations in the plat, which is very encouraging to the promoters. It has been named East Crystal.

Crystal River was not overlooked in the recent appropriations of congress for harbor improvements, though the amount given it, $15,000, was not nearly as large as the people of this thriving port had anticipated. This amount, however, with the nearly ten thousand dollars promised from private sources, will it is thought, give the river a depth of eight feet from outside the bar to the town. The citizens are very much encouraged, however, at receiving the appropriation, as they believe that when it is shown what a vast deal of shipping will naturally be done through this port they may reasonably expect a handsome addition to the above amount at no distant day for the improvement of the river.

Mr. J. R. Knight will shortly open a store in the new building recently erected by him near the A. C. L. depot and will carry only the higher grades of dry goods.

The Crystal River News, under the able guidance of Mr. S. A. Fackler, is being constantly improved upon. New type and other necessary materials for running an up-to-date printing office are continually finding their way into his establishment, and the people are to be congratulated upon having among them a hustler like Brother Fackler, who never overlooks an opportunity to bring before the public anything that will benefit the community.

The Presbyterian Church is having erected a new manse for its pastor, Rev. J. H. McLane. This building promises to be one of the handsomest in the city, and is being built by Mr. W. C. Bull, of Ocala.

Citrus Avenue, the principal business street of the city is being straightened by order of the city council. All buildings that were formally over the street line have been moved back, making a decided improvement in the appearance of the street. A bridge is also planned for the foot of this street across an arm of the river, which will shorten the distance from one part of town to the other about a half  mile. The efficient marshal, Mr. W. S. Sweat, is in charge of the street work and says Crystal River streets shall be second to no town in Florida its size.

Mr. H. G. Miller is erecting a large two story house and will fill the lower floor with a general merchandise line as soon as it is completed. The upper story will be used as a meeting place for the various secret orders of the city. Mr. Miller is one of the youngest businessmen, but his past experience proves that he is no novice in merchandising.

The Atlantic Coast Line railroad is clearing up ground for moving the depot in order to further facilitate shipping. Larger ware rooms will also be put up as the present ones are entirely inadequate for the business that is forced to go through them.

The Crystal River Drug Company, under the management of Mr. E. F. Vidal, recently of Gainesville, is forging right ahead in the way of securing new business. Manager Vidal is a firm believer in the use of printers ink as a business stimulant.

Dr. H. M. Taylor, though only recently located in Crystal River, has built up a splendid practice among her citizens. He has secured an office in the new Knight block.

Every business house in the city reports an excellent trade-in fact hustling Crystal River is no place for the man who cannot do well, as the business is there and if he cannot get his share of it, there is something wrong in his business makeup.

Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers
 Source: Ocala Evening Star

This Page Created October 17, 2011
Copyrighted 2011-  Linda Flowers
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