Skip to main content

Ghost Town Tuesday; Mannfield, FL and the stairway to Hell

Back in 2015 I went searching the Lecanto Sand Hills for the original Citrus County Seat known as Mannfield.  Unlike Centrailia in Hernando County and Fivay in Pasco County I did find something worth seeing.



Mannfield is located in the Lecanto Sand Hill section of Withlacoochee State Forest somewhat east of the intersection of Citrus County Route 491 and Mansfield Road.

Mannfield was named after Austin Mann and founded in Hernando County in 1884 before Citrus County Split away.  In 1887 Citrus County was split from northern Hernando County while Pasco County was spun off to the south.  Mannfield was selected as the new Citrus County seat due to it being near the county geographic center.  Reportedly Mannfield had as many as 250 people when it was the County Seat.  The town included various businesses one might include at the time, even a sawmill which was common for the area.  In 1891 Citrus County voted to move it's seat to Inverness which set the stage for the decline of Mannfield.  Apparently the County buildings actually physically removed from Mannfield to Inverness.

Citrus County obtained a railroad in 1893 which ended up bypassing Mannfield in favor of Inverness.  Given that Mannfield was somewhat isolated with no real purpose the community continued to decline until the 1930s.  Mannfield was eventually purchased by the Federal Government in pieces between 1936 to 1939 when it was buying up the land that eventually became Withlacoochee State Forest.

To access Mannfield the most conventional way is to walk through the Lecanto Sand Hills.  I parked at the edge of CR 491 at Trail 17 and began to hike to Mannfield.  Using Trail 17 north, Trail 10 east and the Florida Trail I soon found myself at the long dried up Mannfield Pond.



Mannfield Pond used to be the center of the community and used to be filled with spring fed water.






There are still some scant ruins of former building foundations around Mannfield Pond.







The largest ruin is a derelict stairwell which I've seen a reference to be called the "Stairway to Hell."  I suppose the long abandoned stairway in the woods invokes some provocative imagery but apparently actually part of a root cellar once. 





Apparently Mannfield is sometimes referred to in historical documents as "Mansfield" or even "Manfield," hence the "Mansfield Road" just off of CR 491.   Mannfield can be seen in the center of Citrus County on this 1888 map.


The last time I can find Mannfield displayed on a Citrus County Map is in 1920.

1920 Citrus County Map

The Hernando Sun did an article two years ago on Mannfield.

Hernando Sun on Mannfield


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trans-Sierra Highway Passes; Sherman Pass Road and Signed County Route J41

Probably the most unique Trans-Sierra Highway Pass I encountered in 2016 was the only one that isn't a State Maintained Roadway; Sherman Pass Road and Signed County Route J41.






Getting to Sherman Pass Road requires traveling deep in to Sequoia National Forest.  From the western Sierras the easiest routes are from California State Route 190 or from Signed County Route J22 east of CA 99.  When I was on my way to Sherman Pass I ended up taking J22 in Tulare County from CA 99 east on Sierra Avenue and Avenue 56 to Fountain Springs.  In Fountain Springs J22 has an eastern terminus but the road continues into Sequoia National Forest and through California Hot Springs as Mountain Route 56.





California Hot Springs essentially is a ghost town located at 3,081 feet above sea level.  California Hot Springs opened up 1882 as a health resort which grew into a small community with a shopping center.  The California Hot Springs Resort burned down in 1932 followed by the shopping center in 1968.  T…

Old 1916 Elkhorn Avenue Concrete Pony Truss Bridge

The other day I was browsing bridgehunter.com when I noticed that there an old Concrete Pony Truss bridge spanning the Fresno Slough in rural Fresno County near Burrell on Elkhorn Avenue.  Today I went out to the old span to grab some photos.






The Old Elkhorn Avenue Bridge apparently dates back from 1916 according to bridgehunter.com.

Old Elkhorn Avenue Bridge

I don't have an exact date for the replacement Elkhorn Avenue span over Fresno Slough but the old grade still has paint which makes it apparent the replacement probably was built in the last two decades.









As stated above the Old Elkhorn Avenue Bridge spans Fresno Slough.  Fresno Slough is a tributary connecting the Kings River to northwest to the San Joaquin River.  Before Tulare Lake dried up it would occasionally crest at about 210 feet above sea level which caused a back flow into the Kings River.  The back flow of Tulare Lake would in turn flow through Fresno Slough towards the San Joaquin River.  Today Fresno Slough rarely…

Legacy of US Route 466 Part 2; Tehachapi to Bakersfield

After completing California State Route 155 and CA 202 I found myself near Tehachapi Pass.  That being the case I trip back down to the Central Valley on CA 58 would have been mundane so I opted for the routing of US Route 466 to through Bakersfield.






This is the 2nd Part to the US Route 466 Legacy Series.  The first entry covered California State Route 46 and the overall history of US 466.

Legacy of US Route 466 Part 1; California State Route 46

The routing of  US 466 compared to modern CA 58 is substantially different from Tehachapi west to Bakersfield.  Heading westward US 466 would have diverged from CA 58 onto Tehachapi Boulevard passing through the community of Monolith before entering the city of Tehachapi proper.  Within Tehachapi US 466 turned south on Curry Street and west on Valley Boulevard.





Since I was on CA 202 I started my trek on the routing of US 466 at Valley Boulevard and Tucker Road.






US 466 diverged from Valley Boulevard and CA 202 at Woodford-Tehachapi Road heading …