Historic Markers Across Florida

A New Century

Marker ID:  
Location: Bagdad Mill Site Park, 6953 Main Street, Bagdad, FL
County: Santa Rosa
Coordinates: N 30° 36.26    W 087° 1.987
  30.60433333    -87.03311666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


A New Century

By the turn of the twentieth century, Simpson and Company was shipping lumber as far away as Scandinavia. Following the deaths of the partners in the Simpson Company the lumber mill was sold in 1903 to Thomas R. Lyon of Chicago, who renamed it Stearns & Culver Lumber Company. At the time of the sale, the company owned 200,000 acres of timber land, a logging railroad with twelve miles of track, forty miles of log ditches, two sawmills, a planning mill, an electric light plant, two dry kilns, a fleet of lighters, and the tug Okaloosa. The new company pioneered new logging methods, and by 1910 employed more than 600 workers Stearns & Culver was in operation until 1912 when the Chicago syndicate changed owners. The new company was first called the Bagdad Lumber Company, then the Bagdad Land & Lumber Company. The Chicago syndicate sold their interest to a group of Florida mill operators led by W B. Harbeson, J. D. Henderson and George O. Waits in 1922. By the 1920s the company was facing a shortage of timber and began to plant new pine trees. An article in the Santa Rosa Press Gazette reported in 1929: 'There is at least of 100 years of lumber left.' This would not prove to be true. The acquisition in 1930 of the Atkinson Tract, one of the largest stands of longleaf pines left in the United States, was not enough to sustain the company, and nine years later it closed. The last log in Bagdad was cut in April of 1939. The federal government purchased the timber land, which was later transferred to the State of Florida and became part of the Blackwater River State Forest.

Erected 2016 by the Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership, Inc.