The Cedar Industry

Exhibits displaying items from the timber industry

Cedar Key Museum State Park serves as a window into Cedar Key’s past. But no discussion of this town’s history would be complete without discussing its namesake: cedar trees, and the booming lumber industry that helped put the town on the map.

Historic group photo in front of the eagle pencil factory

Eagle Pencil Company cedar mill in 1870 - Florida Memory Project

The lumber industry really took off in Cedar Key around 1855. This is the year a man by the name of Eberhard Faber bought up land for timber in the area. Faber owned pencil factories, which required a lot of wood for their construction. So he began shipping cedar wood north to his factories.

In 1865, the first pencil mills were opened in Cedar Key further bolstering the industry.

While the industry continued to grow, peaking in the late 1880s, it was not to last. Though Cedar Key had become the western-most stop on the Florida Railroad in 1860, increasing shipping into and out of the town, in 1886 a new railroad to Tampa was opened and decreased the amount of business flowing through Cedar Key.

In addition, years of unchecked logging reduced the numbers of the once plentiful cedar trees, making it hard to earn a living off what few remained.

Lastly, in 1896, a devastating hurricane stuck Cedar Key, wiping out the lumber mills and destroying trees. The town was forced to move on.

While the timber industry may not be around anymore, its legacy lives on in Cedar Key Museum State Park. Come visit and learn even more about the history of this unique place!