Skip to main content

Ghost Town Tuesday; Yeehaw Junction and Kenansville, FL

Back in 2014 I often found myself using US 441 out of Orlando to reach the Miami area instead of Florida's Turnpike.  In the remote countryside of Osceola County there are two haggard old communities that are well past their primes; Yeehaw Junction and Kenansville.






Both communities have ties to the Okeechobee spur of the Florida East Coast Railroad.  Both Yeehaw Junction and Kenansville are both first observable as rail road sidings on the 1917 map of Osceola County but were likely present as early as 1914.  The shape of Osceola County was much different due to Okeechobee County not being created at some point in 1917.  Additional rail siding towns south of Holopaw to Yeehaw Junction would have also included; Illahaw, Nittaw, Apoxsee, and Lokose. 

1917 Osceola County Map

On the 1917 map of Osceola County actually has Yeehaw Junction in Indian River County.  I'm not sure if that was a surveying error or if there was some sort of land exchange because my 1921 it appears in Osceola County much as it does today.

1921 Map of Osceola County

I'm not exactly certain of the closing date of the Okeechobee Spur of the Florida East Coast Railroad but I believe it was in 1947.  By 1949 US 441 was extended south to Miami which gave some of the Okeechobee rail siding towns a second life.

USends on US 441

Interestingly Pre-1945 Florida State Road 29 was already present along the Okeechobee Spur railroad tracks south of Holopaw by 1936 as evidenced by this map of Mid-Osceola County.



Mid-Osceola County 1936

Both Kenansville and Yeehaw Junction barely hang on today with US 441 been surpassed in importance by Florida's Turnpike.  Kenansville still have a stray old bank building and a hotel called the "Heartbreak Hotel" which has been rumored to been the inspiration for the Elvis Presley song of the same name.  Kenansville is located at the junction of US 441 and County Route 523.






To the south of Kenansville at the junction of US 441 and Florida State Road 60 is Yeehaw Junction.  The primary building that stands out in Yeehaw Junction is the Desert Inn.  The Desert Inn in Yeehaw Junction was built in 1925 according to the historic signage in front of the building, there seems to have been an earlier trade post by the same name.  Apparently the Desert Inn was named for the local cattle ranchers that would frequent the establishment and it is rumored to have been a brothel at one point.  There used to be a bunch of abandoned gas stations in Yeehaw Junction which still have stray ruins on FL 60.







Comments

very sad that now the Desert Inn has basically been decimated, struck not once but now twice by inattentive tractor trailer drivers. There's even less left of the true Yeehaw Junction. The abandoned gas stations have been razed as well; there's more modern gas stations being constructed there too, a Pilot already open and a Racetrac under construction, which will likely drive the last "old" gas station, a BP in a former Stuckey's, out of business. Yeehaw Junction is really on track to become a true ghost town within the next decade or two.

Popular posts from this blog

Paper Highways: The Unbuilt New Orleans Bypass (Proposed I-410)

  There are many examples around the United States of proposed freeway corridors in urban areas that never saw the light of day for one reason or another. They all fall somewhere in between the little-known and the infamous and from the mundane to the spectacular. One of the more obscure and interesting examples of such a project is the short-lived idea to construct a southern beltway for the New Orleans metropolitan area in the 1960s and 70s. Greater New Orleans and its surrounding area grew rapidly in the years after World War II, as suburban sprawl encroached on the historically rural downriver parishes around the city. In response to the development of the region’s Westbank and the emergence of communities in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes as viable suburban communities during this period, regional planners began to consider concepts for new infrastructure projects to serve this growing population.  The idea for a circular freeway around the southern perimeter of t

Hernando de Soto Bridge (Memphis, TN)

The newest of the bridges that span the lower Mississippi River at Memphis, the Hernando de Soto Bridge was completed in 1973 and carries Interstate 40 between downtown Memphis and West Memphis, AR. The bridge’s signature M-shaped superstructure makes it an instantly recognizable landmark in the city and one of the most visually unique bridges on the Mississippi River. As early as 1953, Memphis city planners recommended the construction of a second highway bridge across the Mississippi River to connect the city with West Memphis, AR. The Memphis & Arkansas Bridge had been completed only four years earlier a couple miles downriver from downtown, however it was expected that long-term growth in the metro area would warrant the construction of an additional bridge, the fourth crossing of the Mississippi River to be built at Memphis, in the not-too-distant future. Unlike the previous three Mississippi River bridges to be built the city, the location chosen for this bridge was about two

Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (Memphis, TN)

  Like the expansion of the railroads the previous century, the modernization of the country’s highway infrastructure in the early and mid 20th Century required the construction of new landmark bridges along the lower Mississippi River (and nation-wide for that matter) that would facilitate the expected growth in overall traffic demand in ensuing decades. While this new movement had been anticipated to some extent in the Memphis area with the design of the Harahan Bridge, neither it nor its neighbor the older Frisco Bridge were capable of accommodating the sharp rise in the popularity and demand of the automobile as a mode of cross-river transportation during the Great Depression. As was the case 30 years prior, the solution in the 1940s was to construct a new bridge in the same general location as its predecessors, only this time the bridge would be the first built exclusively for vehicle traffic. This bridge, the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, was completed in 1949 and was the third