Skip to main content

Ghost Town Tuesday; Nichols, FL

A couple years ago I spent a lot of spare time exploring phosphate mining ghost towns in the Bone Valley of Polk County, Florida.  One ghost town in particular called Nichols on Polk County Route 676 west of Mulberry caught my eye due to a relative lack of documentation on ghosttowns.com.






Nichols was created in 1905 during the early phosphate mining boom in the Bone Valley region.  For the time Nichols was unusual since it had company housing in the Nichols Mine site and private residences outside the gate.  Nichols is only about two miles west of Mulberry which probably made it a somewhat reasonable commute even by the wonky standards of the early 20th Century.  Most of the Bone Valley region was relatively remote which made commuting or homesteading impractical which is why there are so many ghost towns in the area.  The company housing section of Nichols was phased out and abandoned by 1950.

The Nichols town site is largely abandoned and could "possibly" be accessible.  When I visited the Nichols Mine there was no gates preventing access nor any signage saying that the former roadways were impassible.  There is an entrance way to the Nichols Mine and company town site which is in a heavy state of disrepair.















The Nichols Mine has various intact buildings and roadways strewn about the site amid large barrels of hay.  What was apparent was that several buildings like the Phosphate refining facility and possibly a commissary were still intact.  I believe that the Nichols Mine had been converted to a ranch but I wasn't sure and it wasn't even really clear if I was welcome which why I turned back towards the gate.












In the public side of Nichols there was still an active Post Office and even an AMC Javalin located on Mount Carmel Church Road and County Route 676.







Along the rails crossing through Nichols it appears that at least partially the former Company Town Site was converted to a rail siding.





Interestingly there was a phosphate refining facility located south of the rails on County Route 676 which was operated by Mosaic.  The refinery facility was still present on Google Images as of 2011 but it has been demolished since.  The open phosphate pit can be seen on the left of the first photo below.









Comments

I grew up in Nichols, FL. I attended the 2-room school house there until the end of the 3rd grade. Grades 1-3 were in one room, grades 4-6 were in another. We even had a library and an AV room. We all rode our bikes home for lunch. It was idyllic. I have photos that I will send along.

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

Old US Route 40 on Donner Pass Road

While completing California State Route 89 between Lassen Volcanic National Park and US Route I took a detour in Truckee up the infamous Donner Pass Road. Generally I don't dispense with the history of a roadway before the route photos but the history of Donner Pass is steeped within California lore and western migration.  The first recorded Wagon Crossing of Donner Pass was back in 1844.  The infamous Donner Party saga occurred in the winter of 1846-47 in which only 48 of the 87 party members survived.  Although the Donner Party incident is largely attributed to poor planning and ill conceived Hastings Cutoff it largely led to the infamous reputation of Donner Pass. The first true road over the Sierra Nevada Range via the Donner Pass was known as the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Road.  The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed by 1864 to assist with construction of the Central Pacific build the First Trans-Continental Railroad over Donner Pass.  The websit

California State Route 159 (former California State Route 11 and US Route 66)

California State Route 159 was a post 1964-Renumbering State Route which was designated over former segments of California State Route 11 and US Route 66.  As originally defined California State Route 159 began at Interstate 5/US Route 99 at the Golden State Freeway in Los Angeles.  California State Route 159 followed Figueroa Street, Colorado Boulevard and Linda Vista Avenue to the planned Foothill Freeway.  California State Route 159 was truncated during 1965 to existing solely on Linda Vista Avenue where it remained until being relinquished during 1989.  California State Route 159 was formally deleted from the State Highway System during 1992.   The history of California State Route 159 Prior to 1933 the Division of Highways was not actively involved in maintaining urban highways outside of occasional cooperative projects.  The responsibility for signage of US Routes in cities was thusly given to the Automobile Club of Southern California in the Southern California region.  This bei