Historic Markers Across Florida


Marker ID: FLHM F-731
Location: On Buccaneer Trail (Route 200), Yulee, FL
County: Nassau
Coordinates: N 30° 36.952    W 081° 43.021
  30.61586666    -81.71701666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMF11A


The town of Italia was founded here in 1882 by Irish-born entrepreneur William MacWilliams. Italia was located at milepost 18 on the Florida Transit Railroad, which ran from Fernandina to Cedar Key. The town began when former U.S. Senator David Levy Yulee, President of the Florida Transit Railroad, convinced MacWilliams to build a brick factory here. Timber business soon came to Italia with the openings of a wood-shingle mill and a sawmill to take advantage of nearby forests. By 1885, Italia had about 100 inhabitants and included a depot, post office, and general store. Products made here were used in commercial and residential buildings in Fernandina and many other northeast Florida locations. Thomas J. Shave brought new life to Italia when he built a turpentine still in 1905. By 1910, turpentine was the area´s primary business. Italia suffered a fatal blow in the mid-1920s when the railroad was re-routed from Callahan to Gross, leaving the town without a viable link to distant markets. MacWilliams named his town Italia, reflecting a then-popular Florida marketing campaign which promoted the state as "America´s Italy" because of its similar peninsular shape and temperate climate.

Sponsored The Friends of Italia and the Florida Department of State - 2012