Florida Abandoned Town Most People Don’t Know About

Florida, known as the Sunshine State, is celebrated for its lively beaches, bustling theme parks, and diverse wildlife. However, beyond these well-explored attractions lies a less-known aspect of Florida’s history – its abandoned towns, silent witnesses to the state’s intricate past.

The Story of Ellaville

Ellaville, founded in 1861 by George F. Drew, was once a thriving hub of commerce and culture. Drew, a lumber tycoon and later the twelfth governor of Florida, established a sawmill, which became the state’s largest at the time¹. The town flourished, reaching a population of approximately 1,000, and even welcomed notable figures such as President Grover Cleveland and Mark Twain.

Yet, the downturn of the timber industry and the impact of the Great Depression dealt a severe blow to Ellaville. By the 1920s, the town was nearly abandoned, and by the 1940s, it had become completely deserted.

Traces of the Past

Today, Ellaville stands as a ghost town slowly reclaimed by nature. The remnants of Drew’s mansion and hotel, now adorned with vines and graffiti, are among the few structures that have endured. The rest of the town lies buried beneath layers of dirt, debris, and vegetation.

Exploring Ellaville

For those intrigued by this hidden chapter of Florida’s history, Ellaville is situated in Suwannee County, near the Suwannee River State Park. Access is restricted, and visitors must obtain permission from the Suwannee River Water Management District to explore the area. The district advises caution due to the unstable and unsafe conditions of the remaining structures.


Ellaville serves as a poignant reminder of the fleeting nature of prosperity and the relentless march of time. It is a testament to Florida’s history that many are unaware of, providing a unique glimpse into the past and a sobering reflection on the present.


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