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Today in Levy County History: Port Inglis, Florida

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 By TONI COLLINS

Levy historian

According to a Statement of Exports and Imports at Port Inglis, Florida filed form the year 1905, the sum of $4,165.12 in duties were paid unto the U.S. Custom House. The port opened in 1902 and vessel traffic increased from five ships the first year to fifty-six ships in 1905.

The Statement noted that during the year, 185,211 tons of phosphate valued at $2,222,532 was exported aboard vessels flying the flags of Great Britain, Spain and Denmark. The cargoes were destined for Germany, Belgium and Holland.

Imports included 3,902 tons of coal from the coal fields of Pennsylvania; 25 tons of machinery; 580 tons of merchandise; and 1,326 passengers. Import fees totaled $6,996.

The prior year 1,100 tons of railroad steel was imported to be used in theexpansion of a rail line to Port Inglis. The Standard and Hernando Railroad, which was chartered on November 3, 1903, was controlled through private ownership by the Port Inglis Terminal Company, with portions of the line leased to the Dunnellon Phosphate Company.

Vessels and craft that were registered to be used in the trade of the Withlacoochee River totaled 14 steamers, tugs and launches; 11 seagoing barges; 5 houseboats for the stevedores; 8 sailing vessels; and 1 dredge. Today, Chambers Island, located at the mouth of the Withlacoochee River, once the site of a bustling port town, is struggling to hold on to its lands. A survey by the Corps of Engineers dated December 29, 1906, shows the island once housed a Custom’s house, commissary, two-story hotel, machine shop, sawmill, wooden watch tower, school, church, houses and the retreat of Captain John Livingston Inglis called the “Bungalow.” The island which encompassed 77-acres of land when purchased by George N. Moody of Alachua County in 1880, now contains approximately 7.5 acres of uplands.