Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Amaskohegan - Bright Moon Lake

Lake Weir is a popular destination for SLBC club rides whether it be at the Sam Phillips Park or Carney Island boat ramps. Lake Weir Yacht Club circa 1890

In his 1883 book “Lake Weir” T.M. Shackleford wrote “In the southern portion of Marion county, Florida, lies a lake of wondrous beauty. Even the untaught Seminoles were captivated by its loveliness, and they named it in their musical language Amaskohegan, meaning Bright Moon Lake”. Known to us as Lake Weir, Shackleford includes a poem about the lake penned by E.P. Turnley.

As well as selling his book for 50 cents a copy Shackleford also sold advertising.

Thursday, April 1, 2021


On a cold clear day last December I needed to get out of the house and decided to jump on the Bianchi and “find” Summerfield. As a cyclist you may know Summerfield as the new post office near the intersection of Sunset Harbor Road and 301.
 The General Store on 301 and the RR crossing on Sunset Harbor Road
A post office has been in operation there since 1885 and the community was named for Col. Adam G. Summer, a local cattleman and land owner. In the early 1900s about 1500 people lived in Summerfield and “downtown” was where the railroad tracks cross Sunset Harbor Road. A hotel stood there and a local resident told me the steps to the hotel can still be seen but disappointingly I was unable to find them.

 An older house and the stately home Mayonia
The main industry in the area was farming watermelon, tobacco, cotton, citrus and cattle which kept the packing houses and the railroad depot busy. The depot is now gone but it was located near the lake to the north west of the crossing which provided water for the steam trains and the community.
 The old Summerfield School and the new US Post Office
By 1925 the town had prospered to the point where a general store and a new school had been built. The general store, still there, was also the post office. Nathan Mayer owned the general store and in 1923 became the most prominent resident as the Florida Commissioner for Agriculture a position he held for 36 years. The Summerfield school finally closed its doors when integration was embraced and students transferred to new schools. The new post office is now the most prominent building
Jim Watts a friend of mine commented on Strava: “I have childhood memories of much of this. The stately house in your photos is in fact "Mayonia", the family home of the Mayo family. You misspelled their name as Mayer. It served as something like an old folks home or boarding house for the elderly in the 70's & 80's. The brick building near the train tracks was the post office I remember. A furniture store called White's Furniture bought the school from the county and used it as a warehouse for many years. In the 60's or 70's the government purchased enough right-of-way to four-lane 301 through the town, but never completed the job. My grandparents lost about 10 orange trees with that deal, but made a few dollars.”