Dudley Farm – Florida
Your pleas for assistance with trying to save Dudley Farm are very worthwhile and worth the efforts of all Florida Daughters.
Here in Tallahassee the members of the Executive Committee of Anna Jackson Chapter #224 are busy doing the same thing for another project which is vital to the preservation of Confederate history. Most of you know that our chapter participates each March in the commemoration/reeactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge, the battle that ensured that Tallahassee was the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi that was not captured by the Union army. For several years, there has been a 54.74 acre property adjacent to the springs for sale.
This piece of property is one of the top 21 projects on the Florida Forever List approved by the Board of Trustees on September 16, 2008.
The property contains a natural bridge of dry land interrupting the surface flow of the St. Marks River that flows through the property and resurfaces at the St. Mark’s River Rise just south of the property. There are at least eight (8) large karst windows that run north and south on the property. The property overlies an extensive network of underwater conduits that comprise the Natural Bridge Cave system and contains the majority, if not all of the known access points.
This 54.74 acre parcel, located adjacent to the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park is listed on the National Register of Historic places, contains essential historical, cultural, and hydrogeological resources. If the Division of State Lands (DSL) is unable to purchase the property, the property owners (The Rakestraw family) will pursue marketing the property for sale to a private individual or a corporation. This historic site, including artifacts, relics, and the historic significance may be irretrievable lost if this property is sold to anyone other than the state of Florida. These karst windows and springs contain well preserved artifacts from the Ciivil War period as weel as Pleistocene megafauna and artifacts that range in age from Paleoindian (12,000 to 10,000 years old) to 20th century.
The UDC should make every effort to assist in having the acquisition of this property become a reality. This is an "Only once in a lifetime" opportunity for us to make a significant impact on our pledge as UDC members: "To preserve Confederate History for future generations." I will try to keep you informed on how you can help get this project accomplished.
If you want to read more about this, type "Natural Bridge FL Rakestraw Property" into your Search engine.
Sue Cowger
Florida Division President 1998-2000
Anna Jackson Chapter No. 224