Historic Markers Across Florida

Shipbuilding at Bagdad

Marker ID: FLHM F-882
Location: at the end of east Main St, Bagdad, FL
County: Santa Rosa
Coordinates: N 30° 36.319    W 087° 01.882
  30.60531666    -87.03136666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMTGBT


Shipbuilding at Bagdad

The deepwater channel and abundant forests along the Blackwater River made this area ideal for building wooden ships. During the Revolutionary War, Welsh brothers Jonas and Evan Jones repaired British warships in the vicinity. A shipyard was established near Bagdad by Captain John Gardner in 1833. William Ollinger and Martin Bruce built a repair facility and marine railway at Bagdad's Shipyard Point in 1858, which operated for 60 years. In 1861 Confederate President Jefferson Davis awarded a contract to Ollinger & Bruce for construction of a 110-foot gunboat for the coast and river defense of Florida. On March 11, 1862 facing Union invasion and racing to demolish anything of use to the federal troops, Confederate forces set fire to industrial facilities in Santa Rosa County, destroying the shipyard, the completed gunboat and lumber mills at Bagdad. The shipwrights saved their pine-built 500-ton floating dry dock by sinking it in the river. After the war, the dry dock was lifted, used for decades, and then resubmerged. Later it was raised again and found to be in remarkably good condition whereupon it was towed to Pensacola and used continuously and successfully for many years.

A Florida Heritage Site

F-882 Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership,
Blackwater Pyrates, Florida Public Archeology Network
and the Florida Department of State