An Abandoned House Along the Florida Railroad: Then & Now

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Hazen-Lewis Home | Bradford County, FL | c. 1900s

One of the more picturesque abandoned homes I’ve found, this beauty sits just along the railroad tracks in a sleepy rural town. For more than 100 years, trains have rolled by this home transporting timber, coal, limerock, and agricultural products that help to fuel Florida’s industries. But while the wheels of progress continue to chug along, time seems to stand still here at this homesite.

A photo of workers along the railroad tracks in front of this home, c. 1904. Photo courtesy of the Florida Memory Project.

Daniel Webster Hazen built this home for his bride, America Caroline Douglas in the 1870’s. Their first son, Emanuel, was born here in 1874 when American was just 17 and Daniel was 20. They would go on to raise 9 children in this home, all of whom were born right here. Countless dinners, holidays and afternoons on the porch were shared by a family who called this place home.

Daniel passed away here in 1924 and America continued to live on the property until the 1940s when she moved to Tampa to pass her final days with one of her daughters.

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While researching this property, I stumbled upon an old photograph of the railroad tracks through town with this very home standing on the left side of the frame c. 1904.

I imagine that Daniel never thought about what his home would look like in 130+ years, but I’d be happy to tell him that it’s just as pretty as ever.

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  1. Hello, I wanted to reach out to you to say I enjoyed your stories – my husband’s home is across the street from this home in Bradford County, Brooker (Ward City) Florida. I would like to also tell you that another article that you did “The Adandoned Hayes Family Farmhouse” is where my father-in-law, Wayne Hayes was born in the homeplace in 1932, he is still alive and lives in Brooker close to this home you did the article on. He was unaware, as was my husband that the old homeplace was on the internet and was proud to see it. My father-in-law has recently lost his vision and tells us stories of how he was raised there at the “Hayes Homeplace”. He fell out of one of the trees on the property when young and by God’s grace, was able to say his eyelid from that tragedy….I just wish I had know you were doing this story so you could have talked to my father-in-law about his memories, we used to take him by there frequently before he lost his vision – God Bless you and we truly would love to hear from you – Douglas & Darlene Hayes

      1. Thank you very much, my husband and I will be visiting him very soon and will talk to him about the article and pass along his memories to you, we were so glad to see this article and it looks like it is being very well received, I will be in touch as soon as I can, again, thank you Kelly
        Doug & Darlene Hayes

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