Historic Markers Across Florida

George C. Means Memorial Bridge

Marker ID:  
Location: at the bridge over the St. Johns River on FL 46, west of Geneva, FL
County: Seminole
Coordinates: N 28° 47.221    W 081° 10.986
  28.78701666    -81.1831
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMQ5ZN


(Side 1)
Crossing the St. Johns River at Lake Jesup impacted both travelers and the environment over the years. Prior to 1900, people and goods were almost exclusively transported on the St. Johns by steamboat, with several large wharves around Lake Jesup being served. Competition from the new roads and railroads gradually led to a decline in steamboat traffic. In 1911, Congress passed an act that protected navigation on Lake Jesup. A ferry served the Geneva to Sanford road north of the current bridge. Around 1915 the road was bricked and made 8 feet wide. In 1920 the river's channel was dredged between Lake Harney and Lake Monroe, still passing around the oxbow within Lake Jesup. The first bridge was constructed in 1927, limiting navigation to passing under the turnstile drawbridge. SR 46 was widened in 1946 and a bypass channel was dug; the draw-

(Side 2)
bridge was replaced with a low fixed concrete span over one channel with the rest of the length across the floodplain filled with a dirt causeway. The flow of water was negatively impacted and Lake Jesup's health declined. The community tallied and requested a more environmentally sound structure. The current bridge was completed in 2010 by the FDOT spanning the area where the old causeway existed, restoring the wetlands and eliminating pollutants from former fish camps and the old roadway. The new bridge was dedicated by the 2006 Legislature as the George C. Means Memorial Bridge. Means was a Lake Jesup activist and lifelong proponent for construction of the new bridge to restore the hydraulic exchange between the river and lake. The 3,740 foot structure that bears his name accomplished this and more by being engineered for the environment.

Seminole County Historical Commission
Florida Department of Transportation