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History 

Like a phoenix, Merchants Hotel rises from the ashes after 1907 fire

Jacob Bembry: Greene Publishing, Inc. A shudder of horror thrilled the crowd as they watched the pride of Madison go up in flames. Renovated and reopened only a little over five years earlier, the Merchants Hotel had become one of the most popular places for Florida’s weary travelers to rest their heads and for locals and guests from surrounding towns to come and enjoy dining out. It would be snuffed out on the night of Thursday, January 3, 1907. The alarm had been sounded with cries of “Fire! Fire!” and…

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History 

20 years later, memories of downtown fire still charred in memories

Jacob Bembry: Greene Publishing, Inc. The evening of April 18, 1997 was supposed to have been a night of celebration, not of disaster and near tragedy. There were not supposed to have been firefighters from near and far counties who had to come fight what our local heroes valiantly tried to fight themselves. It was not supposed to have ended with people in shock and business owners in tears over what they had lost as their hopes and dreams went up in flames along the 200 block of South Range…

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History 

Light & Darkness at the turn of the 20th Century in Madison County

Jacob Bembry: Greene Publishing, Inc. The Fall of 1901 was dark, as it had been for ages in Madison, but measures were being made to bring light over the face of the deep. The town council had contracted with an electrical company to put lights in the city. While physical darkness may have been something that could not be dealt with at the time, spiritual darkness could be expelled by the prayers and the Christian camaraderie of the community. Still, there were times when things happened that brought storm clouds…

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History of The Hickory Grove Turpentine Camp

Jacob Bembry: Greene Publishing, Inc. Eloise Glass Stewart was born at the Hickory Grove Turpentine Camp; and for well over 100 years, the Hickory Grove community has been her home. Mrs. Stewart’s parents, Fred and Eula Glass, moved to the Hickory Grove community in 1907. Mr. Glass leased the Hickory Grove Turpentine Camp from the E.E. West Company. The West Company owned property at the West Farm, which was located just west of Lee. The small community in that part of the county still bears the name, “West Farm,” but…

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