Yesterday we drove to the Cedar Keys which are a cluster of islands north of Crystal River. It was sunny and warm when we left the campground in early afternoon, but by the time we arrived in the Cedar Keys, the fog had moved in again. So I got the opportunity for more fog pictures. The Cedar Keys are named for the Eastern Red Cedar which were once abundant in the area. Harvesting red cedars for pencil manufacturing was important to Cedar Key in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. In 1849, Eberhard Faber came to the US from Germany looking for a source of splinter free wood that he could use in making pencils. He found the red cedar in the area to be ideal for this purpose and began harvesting logs, floating them to Cedar Key and shipping them to Germany. Later he built a saw mill in Cedar Key and began shipping planks instead of logs. Eventually Faber built a pencil factory in New York near where the United Nations is located now and used red cedar from the saw mill in Cedar keys. I think almost everybody has used a pencil made by Eberhard Faber when they were in school.
Apparently John Muir, the naturalist of Yosemite fame, spent several months in the Cedar Keys in 1867 during his 1,000 mile walk from Indiana to Florida. Another claim to fame for the Cedar Key is that it was the western terminus of the Florida Railroad that stretched to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island on the east coast. We’ve spent time in Fernandina Beach in the past which is much nicer than Cedar Key. It seems that the businesses in Cedar Key have fallen on hard times with many of the buildings empty, but there is no shortage of bars and restaurants. Not much activity this time of the year, I wonder if it’s busier in the summer.