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.  There is a trail immediately east from Trail 17 which connects with the Florida Trail.  Heading south on 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Apparently Mannfield is sometimes referred to in historical documents as "Mansfield" or even "Manfield," hence the "Mansfield Road" just off of CR 491.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

Unknown said…
That stairway is an old cattle vat

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it.  This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page.  For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below. Gribblenation US Route 99 Page Ridge Route corridor introdution The Ridge Route as originally envisioned was a segment of highway which was completed in 1915 between the northern Los Angeles city limit

Establishing the numbering conventions of California's chargeable Interstates

The Federal Highway Aid Act of 1956 brought the Interstate Highway System into existence which would largely be constructed by Federal Highway Administration fund matching.  The Interstate Highway System was deliberately numbered to run opposite the established conventions of the US Route System.  While the Interstate Highway numbering conventions are now well established there was a period during the late 1950s where they were still being finalized.  This blog examines the history of the establishing of the chargeable Interstate Highway route numbers in California.  The above blog cover depicts the Interstate Highway route numbers requested by the Division of Highways in the Los Angeles area during November 1957.  The establishment of the numbering conventions of California's chargeable Interstates The Interstate Highway System was not created in a vacuum by way of the passage of the 1956 Federal Highway Aid Act.  The beginning of the Interstate Highway System can be found in the