Posts Tagged ‘yankeetown’

1961 – Elvis Films At Bird Creek Bridge

This is the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley coming to Yankeetown to film a major portion of Follow That Dream. The movie is based on the 1959 book Pioneer Go Home, a satirical novel by Richard P Powell. Elvis played Toby Kwimper who came to Florida with Pop Kwimper (Arthur O’Connell) bringing along some kids and squatting on property that evolves into a government fight. Pretty 19 year old Holly (Anne Helm) is along for the ride with 2 smaller children they picked up. These pictures are scenes from the movie with Elvis and Anne sitting on the east side of Bird Creek Bridge and on the man made for the movie beach which was located on the NE side the bridge, now owned by the Felburn Foundation. Some locals were stand ins and some were lucky enough to get to play football with Elvis or talk to him. (If you look in the background you will recognize the row of palm trees which many folks have painted or photographed north of the bridge.) Celeste Widman who mans the Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce in Inglis Monday thru Friday 10-2 made a presentation recently to have some recognition for the Elvis movie anniversary. If you have any ideas, want to help or some pictures, stories or articles please stop in and see Celeste.

1900’s Phosphate River Barge

During the early 1900’s during the boom, phosphate was brought by train to Inglis, loaded on barges by the old Florida Power Steam Plant and pushed down the Withlacoochee River by tug boat. The product was off loaded at a place in the Gulf called the 5 Fathom Pool and put on ocean going steamers to Europe.

50s Boat Ramp – Yankeetown

This picture is a typical scene from the 50’s and 60’s of the public boat ramp just west of the U S Coast Guard Station Yankeetown and across Riverside Drive from the Parson’s Memorial Church  Past generations made their living off of the water and had to have a place to dock their boats if they were not lucky enough to live on the water. This public basin was dug out and shared by many. This picture was before the barge canal  was dug and our Withlacoochee River dissected with our flow passing through a bypass spillway. The river was very tidal and this picture is testament to the water hyacinths and healthy crop of grass on the bottom at low tide. Today the river bottom is like a barren desert from a diver’s point of view and many folks believe it is attributed to the herbicide spraying in Lake Rousseau backwaters

1961 – 50th Anniversary of “Follow That Dream” – Elvis

This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the filming of Follow That Dream in 1961, filmed mostly in Yankeetown and featuring Elvis Presley. This picture was of the arrival of the wife of  Governor Farris Bryant arriving at the Premier Showing of the movie at the Marion Theater in Ocala. The art deco movie theater in the heart of uptown Ocala was built in 1941 and seated approximately 800 people. After a 13 year shut down the theater was divided into two theaters and reopened.

1993 – Storm of the Century

The “Storm of the Century” March 13, 1993 brought a tidal surge into the Town of Yankeetown in the wee morning hours with no warning. Over 48 inches of water rose on Magnolia Ave in 17 minutes leaving people struggling to get up or out. The “once in a hundred years” storm flooded the west coast of Florida but also scattered problems across the south and up and off the east coast of the nation. In the early morning hours of March 13 Penny and Ray Phares at 14 Hickory Ave Yankeetown put a sign in their front window pleading for help that said “WE ARE STILL HERE.” The U S Coast Guard Station Yankeetown crew came down Hickory in a large boat and helped the Phares onto the USCG boat where they were transported to Jim Townsend’s tug. The tug took those rescued to 56th street to the post office where school buses were loading people from boats that came up the river or up Hwy 40 dropping off the flood victims and transported them to Inglis. The flooding was complicated by the freezing temperatures and the power being out. Small incident compared to the Japan Tsunami but it proves there is a fury in Mother Nature that man can’t control.  

1958 Aerial View of Yankeetown


A 1958 aerial view of the Withlacoochee River running parallel to Riverside Drive in Yankeetown shows the curve in the river centered between 53rd and 54th Streets before Riverside Dr was paved. The homes on the north bank of the river on both sides of the large boat basin with the boat belonged to Bennie Vorp on the West and Nelson Robinson on the East. Hwy 40 is seen in the background and 54th and 55th Streets are seen looking west. Notice the lack of large trees and growth in the background.From Sally Price Archives.

Recreation Hall at Cattail Creek


The recreation hall at Cattail Creek RV Park in Yankeetown was once the entertainment center for visiting Yankees and local residents who either grew roots here or were transplanted. The barn was the public gathering place where local dances were held every Saturday night until midnight. On Sunday mornings it was transformed into Sunday School. Later on,  popcorn was made and the Saturday night movies began. The original building was built in 1920 well before Cattail Creek RV Park was dreamed of by Jim and Joan Townsend who transformed the wooded area in the park in the 80’s.
The building was updated by the Townsends who have since moved to north Florida. The native field stone placed inside has warmed many a body visiting the area in winter.
When the park was platted the recreation hall ended up on the corner of what is Mullet Row and Cattail Lane, backing up to Raymond Blvd. named for Raymond Bastedo a long gone local. Over the hall door is the sign Curtis Dixon Hall who raised his family in this neighborhood and dug Lake Sadie behind the Yankeetown General Store. Today the park is owned by James Geoghegan and is still a draw for folks settling in to an easy lifestyle.

1966 Yankeetown-Inglis Womans Club


In 1966 the YIWC Thrift Shop was opened in a building across from the Izaak Walton Lodge in order to start a “building fund” for the Club House we have today on 56th Street. The Thrift Shop is stocked with books, household items, great clothing and more solely by donations from club members and you, members of the community. The all-volunteer committee boast about the fact that we have the lowest prices anywhere around. Thrift Shop volunteers also help folks by putting together spiffy outfits for job interviews. The ladies like to give a boost to help folks get back to work to support their families. The Thrift Shop crew and other club members also deliver socks and other necessities to the Yankeetown School for kids who need some additional help. The YIWC is currently working on another “building fund” to expand the Thrift Shop to larger quarters. We need the extra space for all the good things we have for sale. The Thrift Shop is open Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 10AM to 1PM and on Thursday Night for the Bingo crew from 5PM to 7PM. We would love to be open weekends too, but need some more volunteer members. So, if you’re interested in becoming a member give us a call. We do have lots of services to pick from that you would enjoy doing and have some fun helping the community.
An important but little known community service is our extensive medical equipment “Loan Closet” which is stocked with wheel chairs, walkers, crutches, potty chairs and shower chairs. These items are available for loan to both towns for your short or long term needs. If you need a loan or want to donate equipment to the Loan Closet, just give us a call at 352-447-2057.
To say that the Yankeetown/Inglis Woman’s Club is deeply rooted in the community is almost an understatement. Our Forty-five years of compassionate volunteer efforts, commitment to the children of our towns and the unwavering desire to be a community leader in doing good works is extraordinary. But we couldn’t do it without YOU! We want to THANK the folks in Yankeetown and Inglis who graciously support our events so we can pass on your generosity to our neighbors who are in need. THANK YOU from all the members of the Yankeetown/Inglis Woman’s Club
Helen Ciallella. Proud to be YIWC President
Photo above: From the newspaper clipping in August of 1966, the caption under the photo identifies the three women as Mrs. Roux Smith, Mrs.E.A. Finley and Mrs. Trust. The three are shown admiring the sign on the club’s lot, future site of the YI Womans Club on 56th St. in Yankeetown.

1961 Elvis Filming at Courthouse

This picture of the historic old Citrus County Court House in Inverness is from 1961. The event is the filming of the movie Follow That Dream with Elvis Presley which will celebrate it’s 50 anniversary in 2011.
The courtroom scene was filmed in this courthouse and plans are in the making to re-enact that part of the movie as part of the celebration. The majority of the movie was filmed in Yankeetown at the Bird Creek Bridge. The scene in the movie where Elvis picks up the back of the old car and lifts it over a tree on the road is filmed on Basswood Ave just north of Red Level on Hwy 19.
This location is a stop on the regular bus tour of Follow That Dream by Elvis Fan Clubs and is also the same spot of the memorial and dedication of the new barge canal bridge to FHP Trooper Ronald Gordon Smith who was gunned down in that same area Dec 23, 1973.

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