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Italia Marker, Nassau County, Fl.

There is not much left of Italia along Florida A1A, it is remembered with this historic marker. But in 1882 when Florida was marketed as America's Italy, Italia was born along the Florida Transit Railway between Fernandina Beach and Cedar Key. Then the railroad moved and William MacWilliam's little Nassau County village became a ghostly memory that disappeared from the map....

The text on the marker reads as :

" The town of Italia was founded here in 1882 by Irish-born entrepreneur William MacWilliams. Italia was located at milepost 18 on the Florida Transit Railroad, which ran from Fernandina to Cedar Key. The town began when former U.S. Senator David Levy Yulee, president of the Florida Transit Railroad, convinced MacWilliams to build a brick factory here. Timber businesses soon came to Italia with the openings of a wood-shingle mill and a sawmill to take advantage of nearby forests. By 1885, Italia had about 100 inhabitants and included a depot, post office and general store. Products made here were used in commercial and residential buildings in Fernandina and many other Northeast Florida locations. Thomas J. Shave brought new life to Italia when he built a turpentine still in 1905. By 1910, turpentine was the area's primary business. Italia suffered a fatal blow in the mid-1920s when the railroad was re-routed from Callahan to Gross, leaving the town without a viable link to distant markets. MacWilliams named his town Italia, reflecting a then-popular Florida marketing campaign which promoted the state as 'America's Italy' because of its similar peninsular shape and temperate climate."

Sponsors: Friends of Italia and the Florida Department of State

Latitude, Longitude

30.61570278, -81.71782778

Rights Statement


Taylor, George Lansing, Jr.; Lance Taylor; Photographers -- Florida --Jacksonville; Photograph collections -- Florida -- Jacksonville; Italia Marker; Florida Transit Railroad; William MacWilliams; 'America's Italy'; Nassau County (Fl.); Italia (Fl.); Historical markers --- Florida --- Italia.


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