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

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del