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Driving From Fort Pierce to Clewiston, Florida 1/19/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I awoke at the Days Inn and following our Internet duties, I drove us out to Bob Evans Restaurant and after that good meal, went to Vero Beach for its station.

Florida East Coast Vero Beach station built in 1903, enlarged and remodelled in 1916 and 1936. Prior to the station, the railroad stop was known as mile marker 350. Until a series of train terminations in the 1950's and early 1960's, trains such as the City of Miami from Chicago, East Coast Champion from New York City and the Havana Special from New York City made stops at Vero Beach. Passenger service ended on July 31, 1968.

The station was bought from the Florida East Coast Railway by the Indian River County Historical Society in September 1984 for $1. In December 1984, it moved a short distance from the original location on the east side of the railway tracks on Commerce Avenue to 2336 14th Avenue west of the tracks.

Vero Beach historical board. Next I drove us to Oslo.

Florida East Coast Oslo station built in 1903. Oslo began as Crawford's Point, established and populated by Scandinavian immigrants. The town was renamed Oslo in honor of the capitol of Norway. A prominent early settler was Axel Hallstrom, who came to the area in 1904. He acquired land and planted 100,000 pineapple plants. Hallstrom also constructed an impressive two story brick house, the Hallstrom Farmstead. In 1914 Waldo Sexton established his own citrus company and packinghouse, the Oslo Packing Company. At one point the town had a post office, school and was a flag stop on the Florida East Coast Railroad. The pineapple industry collapsed after World War One and the Great Depression dealt the area a heavy blow, wiping out many local businesses. Today Sexton's operation, now known as Oslo Citrus Growers Association, is the only business in town still active, and the oldest operating packing house on the Florida East Coast.

From here I drove us to Palmdale but found the station gone.

Atlantic Coast Line scale house. We then drove into Clewiston and by the U.S. Sugar shops, finding an engine.

U.S. Sugar GP11 310, ex. South Florida Express 9024, exx. Ilinois Central rebuilt GP11 8710, exxx. Illinois Central Gulf 9330, nee Illinois Central 9330 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1957 as a GP9. We checked into the Holiday Inn Express in Clewiston and I worked on the Georgia Museum story and did laundry while Elizabeth went for lunch with Sarah Jennings. That evening we had dinner with good friends Doug and Ellen Scott before attending Bart Jennings' presentation on the U.S. Sugar Railroad at the Clewiston Museum. This was a most interesting and educational program which was very well done and was standing room only. We then returned to the hotel for the night.