Gulf Hammock is an extremely small community located near the west coast of Florida which once rivaled Gainesville in terms of size. According to residents, the town was spread out throughout the woods and was run by the Paterson-McInnis Lumber Company.
On the side of the highway today, you can find “Three-Spot”, an old steam locomotive which often pulled 30 to 40 cars as it transported logs from area woodlands to the Patterson-McInnis Sawmill. Originally a wood burning engine built around 1915, it was converted to steam during its service and was used up until World War II. It was donated in 1969 by the Paterson-McInnis Lumber Company and is now maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation.
When the sawmill burned down, the lumber company decided to not reinvest in Gulf Hammock.
Down one of the dusty roads in the old abandoned school and church, not surprisingly known as the Gulf Hammock School or the Gulf Hammock Church. After its use as a school, it was used as a community center and voting polling center. The county would receive grants to keep the building functioning, but it’s unclear how long the building has remained unused.
The school area in the back has since collapsed, and the pews have been re-purposed by some local residents who have used them as benches for their porch. On my visit, the neighbors across the street warned me to be careful as the walls were on the verge of collapsing. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the building does collapse though.