Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Torreya State Park, Part One
Over the next few days I'll post a short series on some of the sites of Civil War interest at Torreya State Park.
Torreya is one of Florida's most beloved and scenic state parks. It preserves some of the few remaining Florida Torreya Trees in the world along with a number of other rare plants and animals. The park also has a rich Civil War history.
One of the focal points of the park is the historic Gregory House (seen here). The house was built in 1849 by Jason Gregory and originally stood across the Apalachicola River from the park at Ocheesee Landing in Calhoun County. During the antebellum era, the home was the centerpiece of one of the region's largest cotton plantations.
During the Civil War, the house was often visited by Confederate army and navy officers assigned to defend the Apalachicola River. The gunboat C.S.S. Chattahoochee passed the home on occasion and some of the wounded from her 1863 explosion were carried there in the aftermath of the accident until they could be taken on up river to hospital facilities.
When Torreya State Park was established during the 1930s, the home was donated to the park by the Neal Lumber Company. Carefully dismantled, it was floated across the river and reassembled atop Rock Bluff in an effort so meticulous that it took three years to complete. Even the original wooden pegs were preserved and used to reassemble the house.
The home today is furnished in the same way it would have been when the Gregory family lived there during the days leading up to and during the Civil War. The home is open for guided tours at 10 a.m. daily, Monday through Friday, and at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on weekends and state holidays. A small fee is charged.
Torreya State Park is located 15 miles south of Chattahoochee and 11 miles north of Bristol. Our series on Torreya will continue.