Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Moss Bluff

I'm on a solo ride exploring the Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area and Moss Bluff. A big part of the plan being to have a late breakfast at the Dam Diner before heading home.

An interesting place Moss Bluff, in 1876 the settlement already had a post office, two stores and the Waterman Company sawmill. It was connected to Silver Springs and Leesburg via the Ocklawaha River and by rail to Silver Springs via a lumber spur line and the Ocklawaha Valley Railroad.
The old steel truss swing bridge and the Leesburg Boat Club locking through in 1948 with the swing bridge behind.
The first Moss Bluff dam and lock built in 1925 produced hydro electricity for the local area. It was replaced in 1969 after it was overwhelmed by heavy flooding. The dam controls the water level in the chain of lakes south to Apopka and provides a navigable route from the lakes north to the St. Johns River near Palatka. The lock has a lift of about 16 feet and about 100 boats go through on a busy weekend. The first Moss Bluff bridge across the Ocklawaha river was a steel truss swing bridge built in 1927 which in turn replaced a ferry. The new concrete bridge on Hwy 464C was built in the 1980's .
 The new Moss Bluff dam, lock and spillway and the Dam Diner
Of course, no visit to Moss Bluff would be complete without breakfast at the Dam Diner which had reopened in the pandemic with limited seating - two eggs over easy, hash browns, toast and too much coffee $10 with a generous tip! Plus a priceless conversation with one of the waitresses who was raised in the area. She reminisced nostalgically about the old swing bridge which she loved to watch as kid. She told me, that traditionally, widows from the bridge communities had always been selected as bridge keepers as way to support them following their loss. A great day.

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