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GADSEN COUNTY SITES:
GLEN JULIA SPRING -- (N30° 39.578¢ W84° 42.207¢) is located inside Glen Julia County Park off CR. 379, south of Mount Pleasant. There should be some gold here, as this spring has been used by wayfarers heading to 1820's McCullochs Ferry, and residents of Quincy for almost 200 years.
INDIAN SPRINGS - (N30° 31.535¢ W84° 47.648¢) is located just S. of the intersections of Hwy. 12 and CR. 269, S. of Greensboro. It has been operated off and on as a private recreation area.
MOUTH OF FLINT RIVER - (N30° 42.64¢ W84° 51.16¢) is the general location of Andrew Ellicott's camp, active from Aug. 23, 1799 to Sept. 18, 1799. Ellicott was appointed by President George Washington to survey the area for a boundary between the United States and then Spanish Florida. With him was a large party of Spanish and American surveyors. A state marker is erected at the corners of Pearl & High streets in Chattahoochee that tells the tale of an observatory they set up near the marker (Boone, 123). There is strong possibility colonial items could be found in or near the river at the position indicated.
LEON COUNTY SITES:
HORN SPRING - (N30° 19.17¢ W84° 07.46¢ ) can be reached by taking Hwy. 260 E. from Woodville and turning N. on the 2nd (N30° 17.39¢ W84° 08.49¢ ) road past the St. Marks River crossing (Natural Bridge) and following it N. until you reach the spring. The Civil War Battle of Natural Bridge was fought all around this little spring (the closest spring to the battleground), and this spring has long been used for its clear water. With depths to 30 feet, and a remote location, this makes for a prime spot to look for old gold, coins, and relics!
NATURAL BRIDGE - (N30° 17.091¢ W84° 08.983¢) was used by aboriginal man, by Spanish conquistadors, friars, and settlers, by Governor Moore's Army in their 1706 defeat of the Spanish, and by better than a thousand combatants in the Civil War Battle of Natural Bridge.
NATURAL BRIDGE SPRING (N30° 17.060¢ W84°08.50¢) is 300 yards S. of the bridge on the E bank, near this site! A great spot to find almost anything from any age -- but diving is confined to the river, until the spring is opened again.
BATTLE OF NATURAL BRIDGE CROSSING -- although I had always thought this was a minor battle, it turns out this fight between Union and Confederate forces was a major scrap here in Florida, with Tallahassee being saved and giving it the distinction of the only Confederate capitol not captured during the war. Well worth the trip to see this battle site, whether diving or not!
The main attraction for diving are three small springs located 250 yards West of the Confederate position, in the V of the Southwest corner of the N-S-E-W Natural Bridge and Old Plank Road crossroads called RHODES SPRINGS -- spring #1 (N30° 17.01¢ W84° 09.21¢) is almost directly opposite where SR 260 takes a jog to the N. before crossing the St. Marks at Natural Bridge. The spring is 250 yards S. of the road in a dense thicket, but it is clear, sandy, and about 30 feet deep. #2 (N30° 17.175¢ W84° 05.591¢ is 100 feet south of Natural Bridge Road (SR 260) and 300 feet W. of Old Plank Road. It is very similar to #1. #3 has a 40-ft. pool, is 15 feet deep, and 200 yards W. of #1. These springs would be the natural fallback position for the Confederate line, and may well have been the artillery's position, in addition to water and supply base. The springs are cluttered with branches, which means they are not often dived, if at all, but a couple of divers could clear them in about an hour. The siphon spring near Old Plank Road seems to hold the most promise, but it is the most dangerous due to its strong siphon, and it is entirely possible the siphon goes underground to the St. Marks River, just over a mile away. There were a number of light colored objects spotted in the runs of these springs, suggesting the possibility of flint and bone tools being in them.
JOIN US! Get a shirt. Find some gold. Have some FUN!
ST. MARKS SPRING - (N30° 16.859¢ W84° 08.876¢) is located S. of the Natural Bridge crossing in the river. This spring is reached by boat, and has a large 80-ft. deep pool and a large and interesting run to the river. A metal detector may well turn up artillery shells and musket balls from the battle!
WAKULLA COUNTY SITES:
NEWPORT SPRING - (N30° 12.79 W84° 10 72) has a flow of 5.3 million gallons daily, qualifying it as a 3rd magnitude spring. There is a barricade at the end of the spring's 100 by 50-ft. pool that keeps a 10 ft. depth, which is variable with tidal fluctuation. The town of Newport was an early 1800's town wiped out by yellow fever. An early paper stated that many of the families were destitute owing to the fact that the head of the household had died without revealing the whereabouts of the family's cache (people of today don't realize that the bank of old was usually under the porch steps or buried by the tree out back). I have an old picture of this spring that shows a rope swing hanging directly over the boil. Local residents still use the spring to swim. After crossing the Hwy. 98 bridge over the St. Marks River from East to West, take the first road to the right (North) and go 1.1 miles to the spring's run on your right (East). Look for additional information on Newport, and Newport Spring, below.
WAKULLA RIVER -- this clear river can be reached at three points: the Fort St. Marks boat ramp, noted above, the Hwy. 98 bridge crossing's boat ramp, and the Hwy. 365 bridge's boat ramp. At the Hwy. 365 crossing, there is a fence erected on the N. side, preventing access to the headwaters. If you want the fence taken down and access for divers to Wakulla Spring permitted, write to: Governor Jeb Bush, Office of the Governor, The Capitol, Tallahassee, Florida, 32399, or email him at email@example.com and do tell the Governor exactly where the fence is located and what you want done with it. While you're at it, ask him for the free one-time dive permit to explore the spring. From the upper river bridge (365) to the Hwy. 98 bridge is where the majority of Mastodon fossil finds are made, although many more must be in the upper river, awaiting discovery once access is permitted.
KINI SPRING (N30° 16.654 W84° 20.351) - is a first magnitude spring (114 million gal. /day) on (at this writing) undeveloped private property. There are two sinks at the end of the spring's circular 25-ft. deep pool, which siphon the spring with strong whirlpool currents. A questionable dive at best, no matter what is in it.
COW CREEK SPRING -- W. of the town of Sopchoppy is a spring off a branch of Cow Creek, that may well hold Paleo-Indian artifacts and valuable fossil finds.
SAN MARCOS DE APALACHE (FORT ST. MARKS, CONFEDERATE FORT WARD): (N30° 09.10 W84° 12.71) can be reached by taking Hwy. 363 directly S. from Tallahassee to the Gulf port of St. Marks, and follow the signs to the fort and boat ramp. San Marcos De Apalache began when the Spanish erected wooden stockades in 1680, and again in 1758, as a hurricane that year destroyed the fort and drowned the garrison. A masonry fort was begun in 1759, abandoned to the Indians for a trading post, then re-occupied by the Spanish in 1783. General Andrew Jackson seized the fort and occupied it from 1819-21, when it became a U.S. possession. It was occupied as an army post until 1824 when the Indians were moved to a reservation (trail of tears). The fort was re-established by the Confederate Army and re-named Fort Ward. A Union attack on the fort and Tallahassee was repulsed in 1865. The original Spanish stockade fort was located at the extreme tip of the river. For a short time, the British also had a garrison here. Although the site of the fort is certainly off limits to digging, the river bottom is not. Both the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers around the fort harbor Spanish, British, Union, and Confederate relics. Mason jars, olive jugs, cannon balls, and pieces of eight have been found in both rivers near the fort!
The places to look are where the river has carved out sand to expose the limerock bottom. A good depth sounder is a must for finding these areas, on the St. Marks side especially, since it is more tannic than the clear Wakulla. Both rivers harbor an extraordinary amount of Paleo-Indian spearpoints, many the large Clovis types that were used for spearing Mastodon. The Wakulla gives up many Mastodon and sabertooth cat bones, mainly because it is the easier of the two rivers to hunt. There are also quite a few shipwrecks waiting to be discovered, as there are many bars from the fort location to the gulf, and a good strategy would be to look behind (the gulf side) these bars for evidence of a wreck. Wrecks include: the Confederate schooner GEORGE B. SLOAT, sunk in mid-channel by the US Navy screw steamer Mohawk in July 1861, and just offshore of the river's mouth is the remains of a Confederate blockade runner sunk in heavy seas, its crew being rescued by a USN blockader.
NEWPORT SPRING -- (N30° 12.79 W84° 10.64) is partly covered by Old Plank Road, and is 1 mi. N. of the intersection of Hwy. 98 & Old Plank Road in the 1830's hamlet of Newport. Due to the shallow nature of the basin (8 ft.) it is doubtful divers have explored the spring. Precisely the situation the treasure diver looks for. There is a rope swing directly over the basin, and from the markings left on the tree, it has been there a very long time. Possibilities of jewelry finds are strong in this spring. Newport was one of the areas the Union and Confederate forces clashed.
TOWN OF NEWPORT -- Union and Confederate Cavalry forces were firing at each other at this point on the St. Marks River, preventing the Union troops from crossing. Newport was a manufacturing facility for Confederate munitions, and much of this material likely made its way into the river after the war to prevent capture by Federal Troops. Certainly there are relics in the river at the point indicated.
ST. MARKS LIGHTHOUSE -- (N30° 04.62 W84° 11.02) was the landing site of the Union's failed attempt to capture Tallahassee, and can be reached by taking SR 59 to its termination at the Gulf. As in any operation with water, boats, horses, and troops involved, many articles of war get dropped and left behind. This site would be a good bet for the relic hunter. Many Paleo-Indian Clovis points have been found on the beach around Headquarters Pond (to the N). Wonder why they call Headquarters Pond Headquarters Pond?
JEFFERSON COUNTY SITES:
WACISSA SPRINGS GROUP & RIVER -- (N30° 20.22¢ W83° 59.30) are 1 mi. S. of Wacissa and host thousands of canoeists, swimmers, and scuba divers each year! Look for gold jewelry and dropped coins especially in Thomas Spring and Big Blue Spring, which are centers of activity. The river itself is a repository of many items and could be covered by scuba using a large coil and drifting the bottom with the current to the canoe take-out point at Hwy. 98.
AUCILLA RIVER -- (N30° 08.91 W83° 58.21) this is the place to come for large pre-historic fossils of all kinds. Professionals come here to add to their collections regularly. Two of the easiest places to access the river are at the boat ramp just NE. of the Hwy. 98 bridge for Upper River hunting, and CR 691 boat ramp for lower river hunting. Although the river is tannic, visibility can be quite good at times of low water near the Hwy. 98 bridge, and the spring fed river stays warm all winter. Best bet is to have other sites ready in case rainstorms dump woodland tannic acid into the river and wash out visibility.
MADISON COUNTY SITES:
BLUE SPRING - (N30° 28.49¢ W83° 14.40¢ ) is another site used by man for centuries. This is a 1st magnitude spring (94 million gals. /day) 10 miles E. of Madison on the W. bank of the Withlacoochee River. Take Hwy. 6 E. from Madison to the Withlacoochee Bridge and go S. on the road just before the bridge to the spring. There used to be two rope swings located near the run, and bathers would drop from the swing into the 25-ft. deep pool, just ahead of the run. This spring is still active for swimmers from Madison, and is still in a pristine state. Highly recommended for a visit. The Withlacoochee is clear enough for fossil and artifact diving at low water (winter). This was an active area for Paleo-Indians, Mastodon, Sabre-tooth cat, and Giant Sloth, any of which could be found in the river. Look for anything with relatively straight lines as suspect.
BLUE SINK - (N30° 30.58 W83° 36.45) is supposedly the repository of an old Duesenberg, though it cannot be confirmed. The sink is N. of CR. 140, and W. of CR. 150, and is E. of the hamlet named Spray.
WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER CROSSING - (N30° 23.101 W83° 10.489) was apparently where the original Spanish trail from St. Augustine to Tallahassee (dating from 1500's) crossed the river. The exact location of this trail is the source of much conjecture, but it is reasonable to believe the new bridge sites are built atop old crossings, and any bridge crossing site usually produces a wealth of finds.
HAMILTON COUNTY SITES:
MORGAN'S SPRING - (N30° 25.220 W83° 12.442) has a run to the Suwannee River that joins the river 1 1/2 miles N. of the SR 141 bridge crossing. I have not been to this site, but the run should be an excellent source of spearpoints.
ALAPAHA RISE SPRING - This country spring has long been used for swimming, though few divers have ever heard of it, due to its remote location. With a flow of 409 million gallons per day, it qualifies as one of the largest springs anywhere. After crossing the Suwannee River on Hwy. 249 go north 1.3 miles to unnamed road to the North (left) which goes to the river. This road bisects the distance to Alapaha Rise (to the left) and Holton (to the right) springs equally. From the road's junction with the river it is .25 miles upriver or downriver to each spring.
Holton Spring -- is another country spring, just N. of Alapaha Rise spring, used for swimming. Its run is 1-mile long and large oak trees canopy the spring itself. This spring is another 1st magnitude spring (311 million gals. /day) that is seldom visited.
WHITE SPRINGS - In the town of White Springs, at the entrance to the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center on your left, are the remains of the "bath house," built around the spring. This spring was thought to have healing properties, and was considered sacred by the Indians. Presidents, the wealthy, and common folk alike flocked to the spring and its bathhouse at the turn of the last century. Ingress could be made though the lower grates of the bath house from the riverside (Suwannee), but you may want to check if it is still legal before doing so. If it is, this should be one of the hottest sites to find old coins and old gold jewelry imaginable!
SUWANNEE RIVER AT WHITE SPRINGS Hwy. 41 BRIDGE - the river runs shallow at this point much of the year, and there are a number of falls to the W. of the bridge where numerous Paleo-Indian spearpoints have been found.
SUWANNEE COUNTY SITES:
BRANFORD SPRING - (29° 57.321 W82° 55.720) was the steamboat stop for Branford throughout the 1800's, and was the local gathering and picnic spot in those times. The spring is 2nd magnitude (19 million gals. /day), but the water is usually clear, with many relics in the basin. Locals dive into the 15-ft. deep pool from a wooden deck above the spring vent. Many coins and old bottles have been found here by fanning. Away from the vent, the bottom is thin mud layer over rock, which means articles dropped go right through the mud with no chance of recovery by sight. Count on good hunting here year round.
SUWANNEE RIVER OFF BRANFORD BOAT RAMP - this area is a maze relics from time gone by, due to presence of the old steamboat wharf just to the north. Old bottles, mason jars, and even antique 36" diameter porcelain Coca-Cola sign (worth $500) have been found. The best time to dive the river is at low water, when the black water thins to a brackish consistency from spring-water influx. Divers, snorkelers, and beachcombers have found many thousands of spearpoints in the river at low water.
LITTLE RIVER SPRING -(N29° 59.789 W82° 57.950) is a major dive destination for cave divers from around the world. While cave divers explore the deep passageways of Little River below, hundreds of people frolic in the spring outflow above, as they have for centuries. Many relics are found in the spring and in the river at times of low water. Low water in the river gives 30-foot visibility in noontime light, plenty for finding spearpoints!
CHARLES SPRING -- (N30° 10.087 W83° 13.887) This little spring doesn't look like much, but it has been the camping spot for the town of Mayo for many years. A boat-ramp is available at this site, and there are many other springs to explore to the east. The spring can be reached by taking Hwy. 252, off Hwy. 51 out of Mayo, and going west 3 miles to the 252's sharp bend to the north, taking the dirt road at the bend 1.5 miles to the spring and ramp.
BLUE SPRING -- (N30° 07.61' W83° 13.52') is NW. of Mayo off Hwy. 251B. To get to the spring, take Hwy. 27 NW of Mayo 4 1/2 miles, then take 251B to the 2nd road and turn right to the spring. There is also a boat ramp at this spring, and it was very heavily populated at the time I flew over. A good chance lost gold jewelry awaits here!
ROYAL SPRING - (N30° 05.02 W83° 04.37) is deep and beautiful, with a dark easily silted cavern to entice the unwary. The 45-ft. deep pool has many artifacts and jewelry to find, left behind by generations of Paleo-Indians through modern swimmers. The best diving is in the winter and spring when the Suwannee River is low and the spring not inundated with river water. The spring is off SR. 349 on a graded road (look for Royal Spring and boat ramp sign), on the north bank of the Suwannee River.
BLUE SPRING - is just E. of the Royal Spring boat ramp on the same bank of the river and can be reached by boat or canoe. I have not visited this spring.
TELEFORD SPRING - (N30° 06.397 W83° 09.916) was the spring used by early settlers for baptismal ceremonies, and has been the local gathering hole for over a hundred years. Many early Coca-Cola bottles have been found in the spring, some worth hundreds of dollars, but you must be careful to fan, not dig, due to many of them being broken. Note all of the springs around Teleford on the map, they are: Perry (to the left), two small springs at Luraville, Bonnet and Peacock (in the State Park), Baptizing (site of a 1560's Spanish Mission), Walker, Pump, Running (two springs on the Suwannee), and Convict (site of an early prison camp).
ELLAVILLE: was an active milling community long before the Civil War, and there is a possibility it was the site of a 1500's Spanish mission as well. Note the springs all around Ellaville: Morgan's, Adam's, Anderson, and Falmouth.
SUWANNEE SPRINGS -- just off the side-branch of Hwy. 129/51 out of Live Oak, the spring can be seen by looking E. off the modern bridge to the bend of the river. If you miss the side-road, look for the bend from the bridge and then double back. This was the site of the 1800's world famous mineral baths! A huge hotel was on this site, and thousands of people traveled here to swim in the spring, then enclosed as part of the hotel. Ruins are everywhere around this site! The spring itself has a very strong outflow, many coins in it, but lots of pull-tabs in and amongst bricks of the old hotel too, so be careful. When I dived the site, I didn't have time to remove the jumble of bricks covering the spring's floor to get to the goodies, but I could see them in the cracks and crevices, so good luck. This one will require quite a bit of time to clean out!
LAFAYETTE COUNTY SITES:
MEARSON SPRING/OWENS SPRINGS - are both within a 1/8-mile of each other off Hwy. 27 forked at opposite ends of CR. 251 on the banks of the Suwannee River. Although excellent places to swim and explore, these springs are overshadowed by the more popular Troy, Little River, Royal, Teleford, and Peacock dive spots; therefore, these springs may be holding older artifacts and treasures (haven't been picked over).
TROY SPRING - (N30° 00.383 W82° 59.796) huge deep and beautiful, Troy Spring is also the resting site of the Confederate gunboat Madison (a Suwannee steamboat that hastily mounted a field gun), scuttled by Captain Morgan when Federal forces gained control of the Suwannee River's mouth. The Madison captured at least two Union "prizes" in her brief gunboat career.
RUTH SPRING - is the local swimming hole for the motorized teenagers of Branford. Not much diving activity here since the bowl is relatively shallow, but deep enough to prevent casual swimmers from retrieving lost articles. A good site.
BLUE SPRING - this is a 2nd magnitude spring (60 million gals./day) that has been developed by the county off CR 251B, West of Mayo off Hwy. 27. The spring itself is on the side of the Suwannee River. No diving is allowed in the spring (more bureaucrat interference with diving), but it is a fairly easy free dive to the spring's basin, and there are several sinks on the property where diving is (or was) allowed. A diving board was once located on the East Side of the pool, and coins or jewelry should trail into the basin from its location.
THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD HUNT IN FLORIDA!
ALL THIS GOLD WAS FOUND DURING A SUMMER OF CASUAL WEEKEND TREASURE-DIVING!
Anything in this photo would pay for a t-shirt many times over. If you're not a diver, re-read the how to section on how to pick appropriate sites for land & beach hunters, then concentrate on the NW, SW, W, Central & S Florida sites!
CONVICT SPRING -- (N30° 05.331 W83° 05.759) was once the site of a hard labor prison camp, and is now the site of River Rendezvous campground and dive center. The owner has found several sets of leg-irons in its 80-ft. cave system. Apparently, the short stretch of tunnel system was viewed as an escape route by prisoners, who thought they could get to the Suwannee River, undetected that way. Today, the spring sits in front of the campground's office and dive shop, with a concrete cap around the spring for ease of entry. The 50-ft. diameter pool is 20 ft. deep, and is used primarily by swimmers. A metal detector is not needed here; hand fanning the sides and bottom of the spring should be sufficient to find tourist jewelry. The dive shop has a shuttle bus to many of the other springs in the area. The spring is located E. of Mayo, N. of Hwy. 27 on CR. 354, after turning off of 27, go N. on 354 until it takes a sharp left turn to the west, and go straight. The campground office and spring, is 1/2 mile from the bend of the road.
COLUMBIA COUNTY SITES:
LAKE DESOTO - (N30° 11.450 W82° 38.014) was apparently the repository of captured Union rifles for over a century, until a chance dredging operation began turning them up in number. It is surmised that after the civil war, Union rifles captured at the Battle of Olustee were thrown into the lake rather than handing them back to the Yankees. This was a large battle, so there may be a great number of undiscovered antique rifles in this lake.
ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS STATE PARK - (N29° 59.03 W82° 45.63) was the site of Paleo-Indian habitation, and a Spanish mission in the 1500's! The mission was located on the banks of Mill Pond Spring, just one of nine deep springs in the State Park. From the headspring (Ichetucknee), the springs you'll come to in order are Cedar Head, Blue Hole, Roaring, Singing, Boiling, Grassy Hole, MillPond, and Coffee Spring. With the exception of Boiling and Coffee springs, all are on the E. (left) side of the river as you travel by canoe or snorkel downstream. The springs are closed to diving (write the Governor) but there are excellent artifacts found in the river and springs by snorkelers, and the area below Hwy. 27 is out of the park boundary and is completely open to the river's confluence with the Santa Fe River.
GILCHRIST COUNTY SITES:
ROCK BLUFF SPRING - (N29° 47.680 W82° 55.187) is a popular dive spot, and can be accessed by boat, by going S. from Branford, or N. from the boat ramp at Hart Spring. I have not visited this spring by boat.
SUN SPRING, AIKEN SPRING & LUMBERJACK SPRING - (N29° 42.380 W82° 55.975) share a common run S. of Rock Bluff Spring, and Hwy. 341 (off of Hwy. 129&49) will bring you in just N. of the springs at Wannee. Sun Spring had the beach, and is probably a very good site for finding old coins and gold jewelry, because of the lack of good access now, as well as a fairly interesting dive.
HART SPRING - (N29° 40.305 W82° 57.407) is at the end of CR. 344, W. off of Hwy. 129 & 49. This was a popular recreational area for many years and may be again. If closed, there is a boat ramp at the end of CR. 344 for accessing the spring's run. Undoubtedly many valuables are in the water here!
TAYLOR COUNTY SITES:
WALDO SPRING COUNTY PARK -- Waldo Spring is the local swimming hole for residents of Perry. I understand there used to be an 1800's era hotel nearby. The spring itself is SW of Perry, off CR 570. I located the spring by using a DeLorme Atlas. The spring looks to be 15 feet deep at the boil, and there was a rope swing located on the N. side of the boil. At the very least, it would be a good spot to find old coins.
THOMAS MILL ISLAND -- at the end of CR 651, off of SR 356, is a boat ramp on the Fenholloway River, SW of Perry. The boat ramp is 300 yards S. of Thomas Mill Island, distinguished by the river forking around it as you approach. The S. end of the island is low, the N. end is high hardwoods and has a surprisingly clear run. This is a good area to look for giant sloth, three-toed horse, and saber-tooth tiger fossils. Near the river's mouth, giant fossil shark teeth are found. Mill artifacts can be found in the forks.
DIXIE COUNTY SITES:
GUARANTO SPRING: a fine spring for swimming at the end of Guaranto Springs Road, off Hwy. 349, 11 miles S. of its junction with Hwy. 27 at Branford. Of particular interest to the gold hunter is the diving board located directly over the boil.
OLD TOWN -- (N29° 36.80 W82° 58.41) was located around the small twin springs off Willow Hole Road, off Hwy. 349, 3 1/2 mi. N. of the present day Old Town. Old Town was an ancient (if not the most ancient) Indian village in Florida, visited by both pre-1550's Narvaez and DeSoto expeditions. This whole area, from the twin springs to the Suwannee is alive with Paleo-Indian artifacts.
GLISSON SPRING - almost directly across from Gilchrist County's Rock Bluff Springs, and as this spring is seldom visited, any treasure is likely to be from the early days.
WRECK OF THE HAWKINSVILLE - (N29° 36.426 W82° 58.250) is one of the State Dive Sites. I met the brother of the last owner of the wreck, and he said it had sunk while heirs to it were wrangling over settlement of an estate, and thus ended the life of this famous Suwannee steamboat.
LEVY COUNTY SITES:
Devil's Den -- This is a prehistoric underground spring complete with stalactites and a 170 ft. pool that has been mentioned in early Spanish, English, and American explorer literature. Prehistoric Paleo-Indians evidently visited the site too, judging by the number of spear-points that have been found around the spring's entrance. Devil's Den also boasts one of the largest fossil deposits ever found, with the remains of mastodon, saber-tooth tiger, and giant ground sloth finds common, as they evidently fell into the den in number. The cave here is part of a camping facility that has a deep-water rock-pit and freshwater pool for swimming. The 20-ft. deep rock-pit is the prime spot here. The den is a first rate adventure dive! Devil's Den is located 1.7 miles N of Williston, off Alt. 27. Watch for the Devil's Den sign outside of Williston, heading for Bronson.
BLUE SPRING -- (N29° 27.09 W82° 41.84) is NW of Bronson off Alt. 27A. Watch for the Blue Springs Road (Hwy.339A) sign and turn down it. Blue Spring is Bronson's swimming hole. Commercially run, the concessionaire didn't allow metal detectors, last time I checked, but did allow SCUBA, so hand fanning underneath the diving board should be good strategy!
BLUE GROTTO -- (N29° 23.29 W82° 29.20) is a commercially operated sink visited by hundreds of divers each year because of its unusually clear water. It is one of the finest cavern dives in the state, and is located 2.34 mi. NW of Williston off Alt. 27A (Hwy. 500). Watch for the sign and turn down the dirt road to the sink. The depths are to 100 ft. at times, the bottom is silt, but does hold fossils, as do the walls of the sink. Well worth the experience even if you don't find anything!
FANNING SPRING -- (N29° 35.27 W82° 56.15) was the site of a Paleo-Indian village, a 1835-42 Seminole Indian Wars fort, a Confederate fort, a 1900's bathing attraction, and is still in use today. Just off Hwy. 19 before the Suwannee Bridge in the town of Fanning Springs, the site can also be accessed by boat from its short clear run to the river. This spring produces old jewelry and artifacts for the patient diver, as the spring was filled in with the rock remains of the old diving tower, and these must be moved to get to bedrock. It can be worth the effort! The Indian village and forts were located on the bluff above the spring, and there are the remains of a Confederate blockade-runner along the banks below the bluff (200 yards upstream).
MANATEE SPRINGS: (N29° 29.360 W82° 58.815) was a Paleo-Indian site, and was almost certainly visited by the Hernando DeSoto and Narvaez expeditions in the early 1500's. William Bartram, the naturalist dropped coins in the spring to judge its depth in the late 1700's. Today, Manatee Springs is State Park and a hotspot for dive and swim activity. There was a diving board over the vent for many years, and dive platforms all along the spring's run. Searching just about anywhere in the clear water could turn up artifacts, fossils, gold jewelry, or coins!
UPDATED CEDAR KEYS SITES: (N29° 08.03 W83° 01.98) The Cedar Keys sites include Paleo- Indian artifacts, a 1500's Spanish garrison, a U.S. Seminole Indian War Quartermaster Depot, shipwrecks and battle sites from the Civil War, and modern beaches used by swimmers. Cedar Keys can be reached by taking Hwy. 24 west from its junction
with Hwy. 19, S. of Chiefland. Present day Atsena Otie Key (Depot Key) was once a Seminole Indian Wars Depot and later the Union Depot during the Civil War. Of particular interest to the treasure hunter is Atsena Otie Key,
site of the Quartermaster's Depot during the Seminole Indian Wars. This key was known as Depot Key, and foundations for a few of the buildings can still be found at its center. On the N. end of the key, just to the E. of the present wharf, was the depot's wharf. This site should be of interest to the bottle-collecting diver, and the entire area should be scoured for the many shipwrecks that have occurred here, among which was a fleet of supply ships sunk or blown onto the islands in a hurricane. One Spanish silver bar has been netted on the S. side of Seahorse Reef, which would make sense, since Spanish treasure fleets would have turned south with the Gulf current just north of Cedar Keys, and a hurricane coming from the Yucatan Peninsula would tend to blow a ship over the reef, hole it, and sink it on the S. side of the reef. More concrete shipwrecks lie in the triangular area formed by Way Key (the art & business district) Depot Key, and Seahorse Key (the harbor area).
According to Robert Neeser's Statistical and Chronological History of the United States Navy 1775-1907, on January 16, 1862, the Union vessel Hatteras sank the Anna Smith, Ancilla, Dudly, Rattler, Stag, Nye, William H. Middleton, and an unnamed ferryboat and sloop. These vessel sizes ranged from 50-200 tons, and Cedar Keys were largely abandoned to fate after the war, so they should still be in the harbor. Nine vessels in a concentrated area = good odds at a find! Additionally, the Official Records of the Union & Confederate Navies of the War of the Rebellion cites the Mary Nevis, cutter rigged sloop, as being grounded, bilged, then burned, at Bayes Pass, Cedar Keys.
PALEO MOUND SITES AT CEDAR KEY -- are located on Deer Island, Buck Island, Seahorse & Derrick Keys, and there is a large shell deposit off the end of the airport on Way Key, apparently from the airport bisecting a large temple mound. There were many mound sites on the Way Key, but most were taken down for fill dirt, although parts of many are still seen by walking the shoreline and looking for telltale rises made of shells. For an in depth study of these and other mound locations, look up Clarence B. Moore's Certain Antiquities of the Florida West Coast. Philadelphia: Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences, 1908. I would be aghast at anyone digging into any of these mounds, but the mound locations are key to looking for spearpoints in the water offshore of the sites.
HOG ISLAND -- (N29° 18.91 W83° 08.11) was the Federal outpost and camp for Seminole Indian internment and deportation from Florida in the 1836 & 44 2nd and 3rd Seminole Indian Wars. This is a huge island, but the high ground is on the NE, and the creeks, Magnesia, and Big Magnesia probably warrant a thorough search. Although there are certainly artifacts located here (from Paleo times onward, and there is a large mound on the island), the main attraction is in sifting the mud along the bars at the mouth of the Suwannee for giant fossil shark teeth. Very fine specimens of Megalodon are taken from this area! To the N. of Hog Island offshore is Boiler Gap, so named because of all the Confederate Blockade Runners sunk here! Steven Singer's SHIPWRECKS OF FLORIDA lists many, as do official Naval Records. I will be updating this site with aerial photographs, and any 1800's series maps I can find). Right now (April 3, 1998) the river is still flooded, so we'll have to wait.
ONLY YOU CAN KEEP IT FLYING & PHOTOGRAPHING!
Maps for the serious . . .
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