Rails into the Sun: A History of North Central Florida Railroads
May 25, 2021
Press release from Matheson History Museum
Free virtual program: Saturday, June 26, at 4 p.m.
Join Matheson History Museum on Saturday, June 26, via Zoom webinar to learn more about north central Florida railroads. Historian Jonathan Nelson will discuss the railroad’s contribution to the development of Florida, with the primary focus on Alachua County railroads.
The construction of David Yulee’s first cross-state railroad in the 1850’s linked Florida with two oceans and made possible the mass migration of people and cattle. This put Gainesville on the map and caused Alachua County to boom, a trend that continues to this day.
Jonathan S. Nelson was born in Miami, Florida. He grew up down the street from the North Miami Florida East Coast Railway station. He attended Miami Beach Senior High, Miami-Dade Community College and the University of Florida, graduating with an MAT degree in 1977.
Jonathan was an Adjunct Professor of History at Miami Dade Community College, in addition to having a long career teaching history at Miami Beach Senior High. Through the years he has been a guest speaker at various historical clubs and groups.
He is a lifelong train rider and lover and has published numerous articles in newspapers, periodicals, and railroad club journals. He and his wife, Andrea, live in Gainesville.
This program is sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville/Alachua County, FL and by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of the Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.