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Railway Express & Insurance Office, 531 Central Ave.

c. 1887, Frame Vernacular style 

This building is the only remaining structure in Crescent City with associations to the development of transportation during the historic period. It was constructed about 1887 as the Railway Express and Insurance Office. Initially, most of the area’s products were shipped via the Huntington stop on the Jacksonville, Tampa, & Key West Railroad because the road (now C.R. 308) to that community was better than that which led to the stop at Crescent City Junction, some two miles distant from the center of town. In response, Capt. S. Martin LaBree constructed a canal between Lake Stella and Bird’s Pond, which was adjacent to the Crescent City depot on the west side of the lake. At the same time, he constructed the Express Office to handle freight brought over from the depot on his two steamers, Gondola and Grace. Ironically, LaBree was killed in a train accident at the Huntington Railroad crossing in 1923. His widow continued to operate the Express Office into the 1940s. See a video about this topic here.


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