Friday, August 31, 2007

Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad State Historic Trail

The Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad State Historic Trail stretches from Tallahassee to St. Marks in the "Big Bend" region of Florida.

The trail is a paved walkway/bikeway that follows the route of the historic Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad. The railroad was the first to be chartered in Florida and the second to be completed (the oldest was the short-lived line at St. Joseph (today's Port St. Joe). Cars on the line were originally pulled by horses and mules, but locomotives quickly came into use and the railroad remained an important fixture on the landscape of Leon and Wakulla Counties well into the 20th century.

In March of 1865, the railroad proved vital when Union troops landed at the St. Marks Lighthouse and began to march inland. Confederate commanders were able to use the railroad to move troops quickly to to the front and as a result were able to get more men on the ground than the attacking Federals. This advantage played a critical role in the Confederate victory at the Battle of Natural Bridge on March 6, 1864. This victory preserved Tallahassee's status as the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi not taken by Union forces during the war and also saved Thomasville, Georgia from a planned raid.

For more information on the Battle of Natural Bridge and other sites in the area, please visit our Natural Bridge pages at

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