Espanola, Florida and the Old Brick Road

by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)

Old Brick Road Near Espanola

Old Brick Road Near Espanola

Old Brick Road Near Espanola
Old Brick Road Near Espanola
Tank Lake Hunting Club
Espanola Bricks

Espanola is a little old crossroads community in Flagler County about 5 miles northwest of Bunnell on County Road 13.


When you get to Espanola, take a right on the paved road. After about 1/4 mile the asphalt paving ends and the road turns into brick. It is brick for the next 9 miles all the way north to County Road 204.

It's a rough ride best made on a 4 wheel drive vehicle or a solid pickup truck. It's only 9 feet wide, so if you meet another vehicle one of you will have to pull off the road for a bit.

This red brick is the original pavement of the Dixie Highway. Construction began in 1915 on the highway. The bricks were manufactured by the Graves Company of Birmingham, Alabama.

This segment was part of a road designed to connect Jacksonville with the area around Flagler Beach east of Bunnell.

The Dixie Highway was a system that connected Chicago to Miami. You can see vestiges of this system all over the eastern part of Florida in the name "Old Dixie Highway". In fact, this stretch of the "Old Brick Road" is still known by locals as Old Dixie Highway.

On its way south from Jacksonville, the road passed through some communities that are nearly ghost towns now, but whose names remain on the maps and roadway signs: Spuds up near Hastings and Dupont Center south of St. Augustine come to mind.

Timber, turpentine, potatoes and other vegetables were trucked to these little communities and transported by rail to markets up north. Old Dixie Highway paralleled the railroad for a large portion of its route.

Most of Old Dixie Highway was torn out and paved over with asphalt in the 1920s and 1930s. The old brick road that ran from Bunnell to Flagler Beach was torn out and repaved and became State Road 100. A lot of bricks from the old road were given to local settlers who used them for their own paving projects, fireplaces or patios.

Espanola's heyday was a long time ago. When the highway was new, the little town boasted of a hotel, restaurant, barber shop and post office. When what is now U.S. Highway 1 was completed from St. Augustine to Bunnell in 1926, people stopped using the Old Brick Road and Espanola faded away to its present condition of a few old homes and small farms.

Comments for Espanola, Florida and the Old Brick Road

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Dec 01, 2016
Just HAD to try it . . .
by: Embarrassed Suburban Guy

After seeing on maps that Florida 13 looked like it continued south of Hwy 204 into Bunnell, I decided to try it (from the opposite way) when returning from a business trip to Orlando about eight years ago.

I was in a 2002 Acura 3.2TL.

With the sun getting low in the sky, I turned right out of Bunnell onto what was a perfectly-normal paved portion of the road, with even a few houses in sight as I passed. Safe enough.

Then the pavement ended, and I read the historical marker about "The Old Brick Road." All this did was pique my curiosity, so I kept driving, and at times really came to regret my decision. The "road" was more SAND than brick at several spots, and SOFT sand at that. I nearly got stuck several times, and like another writer on this page I really didn't know how far I had traveled since leaving the pavement and I had only an estimate in my mind of what was a 9-mile road to know how far I might be from the other end.

No cellphone coverage, gas tank nearing "E" and now the sun really getting ready to set. I saw ONE other vehicle along my trek, what looked to be an agricultural truck with some hispanic guys riding it, looking at me and no doubt laughing at the stupid city guy trying to make the trek in his sports sedan.

I'd never felt so foolish or scared in my life, but I kept going and pretty soon reached the pavement on the north end, near Hwy 204, my heart racing. IT WAS AWESOME! Never even told my wife what a stupid thing I'd done.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Good for you! I do this kind of thing often enough that I don't feel as stupid as I did when I first began such adventures. You are braver than me. I probably would have made sure I had a bit more sunlight before making the trek.

Sep 08, 2016
Proceed At Your Own Risk
by: PJP

Stumbled across Old Brick Road out riding my HD Dyna Super Glide. The sign said "Proceed at your own risk", I took that as an invitation.

After several miles the adventure was getting serious especially because I did not know how long until I hit pavement. Thank goodness I was on the Dyna, it handled it better then me. A few soft spots but maintaining about 40 MPH got me through it.

Fortunately a truck came up and I was able to find out the scoop: 2/3rds done so I continued ahead.

Alas pavement, but a ride I will never forget.

Jul 31, 2016
Old Brick Road
by: Anonymous

Had a great adventure today happening onto a dirt road in Flagler County Florida. The dirt road turned into an old brick road. No cell phone or GPS out there but we kept going north and north west for about 10 miles. No houses, no signs, not even wildlife since it was in the 90s. Found the name of it at the end of our journey and looked it up as soon as we had some bars. Nice to read about the Old Dixie Highway. Love finding dirt roads. M&M

May 31, 2016
Old Bricks
by: Anonymous

It is hard to keep people from lifting these old bricks and using them for home improvement projects or selling them.

May 04, 2016
Preservation
by: Anonymous

Hi, would like to know who is in charge of what remains of the Old Dixie Highway. It is an amazing look into Florida's history and I would love to see how I could help or who I could contact to get some type of preservation started so that we don't loose this beautiful piece of history! Thanks, Bryan

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

These old road segments are probably owned and maintained by the counties they are in. In the case of Espanola, it's in Flagler County. You could probably also get some information by googling local historical societies in the areas you are interested in.

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