Saturday, July 19, 2014

#71 Ghost Town of Webbville (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)


Looking down Union Road from the site of Webbville
Webbville, a ghost town and the lost county seat of Jackson County, is #71 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.


When Marianna was still just a series of wooded hills, a small town was planted in the wilderness about four miles north of present-day Cottondale. Named Webbville after James S. Webb, an early settler and merchant, the community was the business hub for an area of rich lands called the "Chipola Settlement."

Other early settlers of the Webbville area included William S. Pope, Charles F. Stewart, Thomas Baltzell, Ebenezer J. Bower, Thomas Russ, William J. Watson, Joseph Russ and Lackland McIntosh Stone. These men and their families figured prominently in the histories of Marianna, Sneads, St. Joseph and Apalachicola.

Colonel Stone's well
At some point soon after his arrival during the mid-1820s, Colonel Stone had his slaves begin to dig a well on a hillside east of Webbville. They unexpectedly tapped into a vast network of caves and became so afraid of falling into an unknown abyss that they refused to do more work at the site. Stone had to look elsewhere for water, but his well still remains and is the only known intact trace of the Webbville settlement.

Webbville became the first official town in Jackson County when it was incorporated by the Florida Territorial Legislative Council in January 1827. The move was part of an effort to secure a permanent designation as county seat. Settlers were flooding into Jackson County by the thousands and there was a growing need for a permanent county seat.

Early map showing Webbville, Marianna & Campbellton
Robert and Anna Maria Beveridge, who founded Marianna nine months later in September 1827, had other ideas. They and their investors offered to donate land for a town square and to build a new courthouse and jail at no cost to the taxpayers. The offer ignited a political war between Webbville and Marianna, with the future of the county hanging in the balance.

Marianna scored the first blow by obtaining the designation of County Seat from the Territorial Legislature. Webbville struck back by taking the fight to the U.S. Congress, where a House Committee gave the title to Webbville even though the town stood on 16th Section lands reserved for school purposes. The town dealt with this issue by founding the Webbville Academy, Jackson County's first school. The institution was incorporated by the Legislative Council on December 22, 1827.

19th century ceramic fragment from site of Webbville
Marianna turned back to the Legislative Council and although the territorial legislators could not overrule the U.S. Congress, they did have the power to fine any county official who did not conduct business from the new courthouse in Marianna. Money spoke louder than words and the sheriff, county judge and other local leaders shifted to Marianna, even though Webbville remained the legal county seat of Jackson County.

The battle was far from over. Webbville struck back on February 9, 1832, when the Legislative Council voted to carve off the entire eastern half of Jackson County away as part of a new county. Named Fayette County after the Marquis de Lafayette, the new entity included all of the land between the Chipola and Chattahoochee/Apalachciola Rivers. In Jackson County, the towns of Bascom, Grand Ridge, Greenwood, Malone and Sneads all stand on lands that were once part of Fayette County.  The move was intended to remove Marianna's most vocal supporters in time for a referendum on which town would become the permanent county seat.

Site of Webbville
The move failed, however, because most of the residents of the new Fayette County had no desire to be part of a separate county. They appealed to the Legislative Council for relief and the act establishing Fayette County was repeal. Its lands returned to their original jurisdiction.

Webbville ultimately lost its fight with Marianna, but without really losing it. In the eyes of the U.S. Congress, the town that no longer exists is still the legal county seat of Jackson County. The decision of the Territorial Council to fine public officials that refused to conduct business from the courthouse in Marianna had its desired impact. The courthouse remains there today on the square donated by Robert and Anna Maria Beveridge.

Piece of a broken wine bottle exposed by erosion
As for Webbville, it slowly faded away. The town no longer existed by the time of the War Between the States (or Civil War), but its name was preserved by the plantation of Colonel W.D. Barnes which stood on the site. Union troops raided Barnes' Webbville plantation on their way to the Battle of Marianna, destroying hay, stockpiled corn and other foodstuffs. They also killed livestock, poultry and burnt barns.

The site of Webbville is now just a place where Union Road crosses a hilltop as it leads from State Highway 73 north to County Road 162. To find it, turn from Highway 73 onto Union Road and drive to the top of the hill that you see ahead of you. At that spot you will be sitting in what was the main business district of the Town of Webbville.

Mission San Nicolas interpretive panel
near site of Webbville.
Be sure to stop and read the Interpretive Panel for Mission San Nicolas at the intersection of Highway 73 and Union Road. It is Tour Stop #10 on the new Jackson County Spanish Heritage Trail, a 150 mile driving tour of eleven Spanish colonial sites in Jackson County.

To learn more about Webbville and the early history of Jackson County, please consider my book:

(Book) The History Of Jackson County, Florida: The Early Years

(Kindle E-Book) The History of Jackson County, Florida: The Early Years

It is also available at The Vintage Depot in the restored L&N Train Depot at 2867 Caledonia Street, Marianna, Florida. They are open Monday-Saturday, so drop in for a visit!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Jackson County Spanish Heritage Trail is now complete!

Interpretive Panel at Mission San Carlos site
The new Jackson County Spanish Heritage Trail is complete!

The trail is a 150-mile driving tour that takes visitors to eleven unique Spanish colonial sites in Jackson County, including the sites of Spanish missions, historic American Indian villages, noted landmarks and a surviving trace of the real Old Spanish Trail. It begins and ends at the historic Russ House & Visitor Center at 4318 Lafayette Street in Marianna.

You can pick up a free guide booklet at the Russ House that features information and photographs of each site, a map of the entire drive and directions to each of its stops. The booklets are available from a display stand on the porch when the visitor center is closed.

Blue Springs in Jackson County, Florida
To give you a brief overview, the driving tour leaves the Russ House and stops first at historic and scenic Blue Springs, the only first magnitude spring in the Chipola River basin and landmark noted in reports and journals by early Spanish explorers. Also at Blue Springs is Tour Stop #2, the Original Old Spanish Trail. An interpretive kiosk points out an original section of the Old Spanish Trail and describes its significance.

Canopy oaks along Reddoch Road
From Blue Springs, the tour follows Reddoch Road to State Highway 69 north of Grand Ridge. This section of modern roadway follows the original trace of the Old Spanish Trail and as you drive beneath its canopy oaks, you will be following a path that Spanish explorers used as early as 1674. From the intersection of Reddoch Road and Highway 69, the trail turns south to Grand Ridge and U.S. 90, today's "new" Old Spanish Trail. It follows U.S. 90 through Sneads to the eastern edge of the county and the Jim Woodruff Dam Overlook on the west bank of Lake Seminole.

View of Mission San Carlos site (bottom) and Lake Seminole
The Overlook is the site of Mission San Carlos, a Spanish mission that served Christian members of the Chatot (or Chacato) tribe from 1680-1696. During these years it was the westernmost Spanish settlement in all of Florida. An interpretive kiosk on the shores of the lake tells the story of the mission and its tragic destruction by Creek Indian raiders in 1696.

The tour then leads back along U.S. 90 to Sneads and up River Road past Three Rivers State Park and through the beautiful Apalachee Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Drivers enjoy stunning views of Lake Seminole and the many waterfowl that flock to the WMA. Picnic areas can be found along the route at Three Rivers, Parramore Landing Park and Buena Vista Landing.

Chattahoochee River at site of Ekanachatte
The next stop is at Neal's Landing Park on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. An interpretive panel here tells the story of Ekanachattee ("Red Ground"), a Creek Indian village established during the 1760s. British soldiers stopped here in 1778 as the American Revolution raged and many of the town's chiefs and warriors volunteered to join the British in their fight against the American colonists in Georgia. Ekanachatte remained an important town during the Second Spanish Era (1783-1821) and was one of the bases of the notorious pirate and adventurer, William Augustus Bowles.

Section of Old Pensacola-St. Augustine Road near Malone
From Neal's Landing the tour takes drivers west along State Highway 2, which follows the general route of the original Pensacola-St. Augustine Road. This early trail was first mapped by a British military expedition in 1778 and is believed to be the trail that famed pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone followed during his long walk across Florida!  An interpretive panel that tells the story of the early road can be found at Veterans Park on State Highway 71 in Malone.

Campbellton Baptist Church
From Malone the drive continues west on State Highway 2 across the Forks of the Creek swamps to Campbellton Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist church in Florida still in continuous use. The existing structure dates to the 1850s and was a landmark of the Civil War's raid on Marianna. It was founded in the 1820s by a congregation that included a number of men and women who came and settled in the Campbellton area in 1819-1820 when Florida was still part of Spain. This Spring Creek settlement grew to become the modern town of Campbellton and an interpretive kiosk on the grounds of the church tells its story. A second historical marker provides details on the history of the church itself.

Heritage Village at Baptist College of Florida
Leaving Campbellton, the tour continues west on State Highway 2 to Graceville and the outstanding Heritage Village on the campus of the Baptist College of Florida. This landmark historic preservation effort features an array of beautifully restored historic structures maintained by the college. Individual structures include churches, homes, a log cabin, a one-room school, a syrup shed and more. The interpretive panel on the grounds tells the story of the Chatot (Chacato) Revolt of 1675, an uprising against the Spanish by part of the Chatot tribe. Led by the old chief Dioscale, Chatot and Chisca warriors drove the Spanish out of Jackson County but in turn were defeated by a Spanish military raid.

Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail
From Graceville the tour follows Highway 2 back to Campbellton and then turns south on U.S. 231. From 231 it turns east on Highway 162 (Jacob Road) and continues on to the next stop, the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail. This interpretive nature trail leads to Florida's oldest and most haunted bridge! The historic bridge, which turns 100 years old this year, stands at the site where it is believed that Spanish explorer Marcos Delgado crossed the Chipola River in 1686. Multiple interpretive panels along the trail detail its history and as you walk its 1/2 mile length you experience a hardwood floodplain forest that has been restored to feature the trees and plants that Spanish explorers found growing in Jackson County during the 1600s.

Tunnel Cave at Florida Caverns State Park
After enjoying the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail, you continue east on Highway 162 to the Old U.S. Road which leads south to Caverns Road and Florida Caverns State Park. The park features Florida's only public tour cave and is rich in history. The original Old Spanish Trail crossed the Chipola River via the natural bridge that can still be seen in the park. The Army of Major General Andrew Jackson crossed the river on this geological feature in 1818 as the First Seminole War raged during the Second Spanish Era (1783-1821). The park visitor center features displays on its geology and history.

Mission San Nicolas interpretive panel
From Florida Caverns State Park the trail returns to U.S. 90 at Marianna, continues west through downtown and then turns north on State Highway 73 to the next stop at the intersection of Highway 73 and Union Road. This interpretive kiosk tells the story of Mission San Nicolas, a Spanish church complex established in 1674 at the mouth of a large cave. The precise site has never been found, but it was at one of the numerous caves in this vicinity.

Fernandez de Florencia interpretive panel at Cottondale
From the Mission San Nicolas stop, the trail continues on to U.S. 231 and turns south to Cottondale and the final stop at the parking area behind Cottondale City Hall. This interpretive panel details the 1676 Fernandez de Florencia expedition, a military raid that passed through Jackson County en route to an attack on a Chisca Indian fort in today's Walton or Okaloosa Counties. The expedition passed across the site of Cottondale, following an old trail that led southwest into what is now Washington County.

After enjoying Cottondale, take U.S. 90 east back to Marianna and the end of the tour!  For more information, pick up the new free guide at the historic Russ House and be sure to visit: http://visitjacksoncountyfla.com/heritage/spanish-heritage-trail/


Friday, June 20, 2014

Informant claims one of Alcatraz escapees is still alive

Alcatraz Island
Carol Highsmith photo, Library of Congress
An unnamed informant says one of the three men that escaped from Alcatraz prison in 1962 is still alive and "has done a lot of good in the world since escaping."

The claim was made in the wake of the publication earlier this week of a story on a possible connection between the Jackson County town of Greenwood and the 1962 "Escape from Alcatraz." That article included details about how local and federal investigators searched the Greenwood area in 1989-1991 after receiving credible information that two of the men had been living in the vicinity.

Clarence Anglin, 1960 (FBI)
An eyewitness in 1989 said that she knew one of the escapees, Clarence Anglin, and told the U.S. Marshals Service that he was living on a secluded farm near Greenwood, Florida, along with a second man that she thought might be Frank Morris. She did not mention seeing John Anglin, who was Clarence Anglin's older brother and the third participant in the escape. Other eyewitnesses over the years have reported seeing John Anglin as well and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was not able to rule out John as the person who wrote a check to an Alabama store in the 1960s.

Please click here to read the original article: Greenwood and the Alcatraz escape.

The information from the informant is as follows:

Greenwood from the air.
Nice post. Once of these men is still alive, both have lived full good lives that did not include a return by either of them to a life of crime and have raised wonderful families. There are a few details you conveniently left out of your story that reveals more about them on a personal note and circumstances that landed them in Alcatraz. The conditions they experienced were horrible and when given a choice they took a chance as opposed to suffering. Neither ever made excuses for what they did but they have lived good Christian lives and done a lot of good int he world since escaping.
When both have passed on there are arrangements to tell there story for the benefit of others.

John Anglin, 1960 (FBI)
The statement is intriguing because it matches closely with information developed from other sources.

Those sources indicate that the escape was successful and that two of the men succeeded in crossing San Francisco Bay to Angel Island and the Marin Headlands. From there they were picked up by car and eventually made their way back east to their old home turf in the "Wiregrass" area of Southwest Georgia, Southeast Alabama and Northwest Florida.

Other sources also indicate that one of the men has passed away but that one of the escapees remains alive and is now in his 80s, that he has raised a family and that he has avoided further trouble since the time of his escape.

Frank Morris, 1960 (FBI)
The new informant notes that the story posted here earlier this week about a possible Greenwood connection to the escape did not delve into the circumstances that landed the men in Alcatraz. This was due to a space limitation, so look for a more in-depth account on the lives of the three men this Sunday here at http://www.twoegg.blogspot.com.

I normally do not post statements from anonymous informants, but found this one particularly interesting because the information provided matched so closely with what I have been able to learn from other sources.

You can read the original article at http://twoegg.blogspot.com/2014/06/informant-claims-one-of-alcatraz.html.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#72 Greenwood and the Alcatraz Escape (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Greenwood, Florida
Home of the Alcatraz Escapees?
BREAKING NEWS: Informant claims one of Alcatraz escapees is still alive (6/20/2014).

The possible role of the Jackson County town of Greenwood in the 1962 "Escape from Alcatraz" is #72 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

Please click here to see the complete list as it is unveiled.

In June 1962 three inmates slipped out of the United States Penitentiary, Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco Bay and carried out what many believe was the first successful escape from the federal prison that is still called "The Rock." The incident formed the basis for the Clint Eastwood movie "Escape from Alcatraz."

Alcatraz Island
Carol Highsmith photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress.
No one knows whether Clarence Anglin, John William Anglin and Frank Lee Morris are alive today. If so, all three would be between 83 and 89 years old.  Alcatraz is now a national park and the escape is part of American history, but the U.S. Marshals Service continues to search for Morris and the Anglin brothers. A reward for information leading to their capture remains in place.

While many people have at least heard of the 1962 Alcatraz escape, most do not know that Jackson County was the scene of a major local and federal search for the escapees in 1989-1991. That investigation was launched after compelling evidence surfaced that two of the three men had not only been seen in Jackson County, but were living near Greenwood.

Much of what I am about to write has never before been disclosed. I am familiar with the story because I unexpectedly became part of it in the summer of 1990.

W.L. "Mac" McLendon
U.S. Marshal Retired
The news broke on Christmas Eve 1990 when the San Francisco Daily Journal reported that federal authorities had been investigating the possibility that the Clarence and John Anglin were in Jackson County. U.S. Marshal W.L. "Mac" McLendon told the Journal, "What we're looking at is the possibility that two of the three escapees, the Anglin brothers, who were raised in this vicinity, possibly escaped and came back to this area."

Despite the 1962 pronouncements of some federal officials that Alcatraz was "escape proof" and that the men had drowned, the U.S. Marshals Service has always known that the escape probably succeeded. The evidence was compelling. The makeshift rubber raft used by the men had been found on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, along with  homemade paddles, life vests and footprints. Investigators had also interviewed numerous eyewitnesses who reported seeing the men, in the process trailing the escapees east across the United States. Then the trail then went cold.

Clarence Anglin in 1960 (FBI)
That all changed in 1989 when NBC television aired a special edition of the program "Unsolved Mysteries" that focused on the escape. To the surprise of U.S. Marshals, a woman they would only identify as "Cathy" called the show's tip line to report that she not only recognized a photo of Clarence Anglin, but knew him to be living on a farm near Marianna under an assumed name.

Authorities were initially skeptical of the woman's claims, but she provided incredible detail on the escape and correctly identified Clarence Anglin's height, eye color and other physical features not generally known by the public. She also described the farm where the man she believed to be Clarence Anglin was living, placing it in a rural area near Greenwood.

Clarence Anglin as he might
appear today (FBI).
According to "Cathy," the escape had been carried out with outside help. Her story, in brief, was that individuals with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Alabama made contact with a former Florida sheriff to solicit his help. The former officer agreed and went to San Francisco. The escape was timed with precision and he was waiting with a car when the men reached shore. "Cathy" said the party was well away from San Francisco by the time the guards realized the men were missing. The three escapees split up, she said, with two eventually living in seclusion near Greenwood. She identified one of these men as Clarence Anglin and the other as likely being Frank Lee Morris.

Frank Morris in 1960 (FBI)
An investigative team from the U.S. Marshals Service quietly came to Jackson County and launched an extensive search for the farm described by "Cathy" but was unable to find it. Arrangements were made to fly the woman to Jackson County so she could direct authorities to the home she had described. At this point, however, she suddenly stopped talking, telling deputy marshals that her family had warned her to "keep her mouth closed." She was brought to Jackson County by plane but remained uncooperative.

I became aware of these activities in 1990 while I was working as Regional News Director for WJHG-TV in Panama City. With cooperation from law enforcement, I filed reports on the search and encouraged anyone with information to come forward. Due to a commitment I made to Marshal McLendon, I never reported on the events that followed.

Frank Morris as he might
appear today (FBI).
Almost immediately after news of the search hit the national news wires, I was contacted by a California writer who claimed to have information on the location of the escapees. He asked if I would be willing to speak with him in person and offered to fly to Florida from California.

I agreed to see him, but also notified then Jackson County Sheriff John P. McDaniel and Chief Deputy John Dennis of his claim. Marshal McLendon was alerted and a special surveillance team was brought to Marianna by the marshals service. By the time the writer arrived, this team was in place in Jackson County with a surveillance van, cameras, hidden microphones and more.

John Anglin in 1960 (FBI)
The meeting with the writer went downhill quickly after he told Sheriff McDaniel that he thought all Southern law enforcement officers were members of the KKK. The assertion was made after the writer became frustrated that neither the sheriff nor I would provide him with details on the investigation beyond those that had been made public. The sheriff rightfully was insulted by the claim, as were other officers in the room at the time. To the best of my knowledge the writer's claims of having information on the whereabouts of the escapees were false and I do not believe he ever learned that he was under federal surveillance throughout visit.

John Anglin as he might
appear today (FBI).
During my discussions with federal investigators as the writer's visit took place, however, I was given access to much of the information provided by "Cathy" before she ended her cooperation with authorities. I immediately recognized the home she had described and was able to point out its location to investigators.

Now operating with better directions, authorities visited the farm where "Cathy" said she had visited with Clarence Anglin. They found the house and barns to be exactly as described by the Texas woman with one exception - the home was empty. Neighbors reported that two men had lived there, but had moved away suddenly the previous year. Several indicated that one of the men did bear a strong resemblance to a photo they were shown of Clarence Anglin. It was determined that the departure of the men from the farm coincided with the dates when "Cathy" was known to be speaking with the U.S. Marshals Service.


Greenwood Town Hall in Greenwood, Florida
That was not all. It turned out that Clarence and John Anglin had been born in Donalsonville, Georgia, just 23 miles northwest of Greenwood. They had gone to federal prison for robbing the bank in Columbia, Alabama, another area town that is less than 40 miles north of Greenwood. Relatives of the men live in Southwest Georgia to this day.

Investigation also revealed that the retired Florida law enforcement officer named by "Cathy" was a real person, but had passed away between 1962 and 1989. He had a brother living in San Francisco and was related to an individual in Birmingham, Alabama, who was an avowed member of the Ku Klux Klan and a suspect in the Birmingham Church Bombing.

Christmas decorations at the Boys' School when
Clarence Anglin was serving time there.
State Archives of Florida/Memory Collection
Documentary research revealed that Clarence Anglin and Frank Lee Morris had previous history in Jackson County. Both had spent time as juvenile offenders at what later became the Dozier School for Boys.

Finally, eyewitnesses saw a man they described as John William Anglin write a check at the Red and White Food Store in Brundidge, Alabama, on January 4, 1963. The check was returned to the store by Brundidge Banking Company because it had been written on a non-existent account. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was notified and the Mobile office sent investigators to Brundidge. The eyewitnesses who saw the man pass the check firmly maintained that he "was identical" to photographs of John Anglin.

Wanted poster for John Anglin (FBI)
The check was sent to Washington, D.C., for examination by the Bureau's handwriting experts. These investigators compared the check with examples of John Anglin's handwriting and admitted they could not determine "whether ANGLIN did or did not" write the check. The handwriting, they reported, was very similar with only small differences.

The check is preserved as evidence by the FBI and remains an intriguing clue to the presence of at least one of the Anglin brothers in the Wiregrass region months after the Escape from Alcatraz.

So did two of the 1962 Alcatraz escapees spend years living on a farm near Greenwood? The evidence is compelling. Former Jackson County Chief Deputy John Dennis concluded in 1990 that "they were here."

Sunday, June 15, 2014

New photo of Ghost of Bellamy Bridge?!

Does a photo taken last week on the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail near Marianna show the legendary Ghost of Bellamy Bridge?

Shortly after taking the cell phone photo, the photographer - who has asked to remain anonymous - noticed a strange anomaly in one part of the image. An enlargement of that section of the photograph shows what appears to be the face of a young woman surrounded by what could be described as a veil or shroud.

The mysterious "face" that appears in the anomaly is complete down to its eyes, ears, mouth, nose and even eyebrows.

The photograph was taken at the overlook where the heritage trail reaches Bellamy Bridge. You can examine the image yourself below. Please share your thoughts!

To learn more about the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail, please visit www.bellamybridge.org.





Friday, June 13, 2014

Reservoir Dogs star leads cast of new Marianna filmed monster movie!

Michael Madsen has appeared
in more than 170 fims.
Noted actor Michael Madsen, perhaps best known for his role as Mr. Blonde in Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs", is on location in Marianna, Florida, for the filming of the new action and monster movie Cobragator.

Now being filmed at various scenic locations in and around Marianna, Cobragator tells the story of a battle against a hideous and deadly creature that is part cobra, part alligator. Film crews have already been at work at Florida Caverns State Park and Merritt's Mill Pond.

Madsen has appeared in more than 170 films including Kill Bill, Sin City, Die Another Day, Donnie Prasco, The Getaway, The Doors, Thelma & Louise, Wyatt Earp and Free Willy. It was Reservoir Dogs, however, that catapulted him to top status as an actor. He is expected to star in another Tarantino film - The Hateful Eight - later this year.

Madsen was "Mr. Blonde" in Reservoir Dogs
The brother of actress Virginia Madsen, he is the son of a retired firefighter. He grew up admiring actors Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum and once laughed that he was loved by children for his role in Free Willy while their parents were terrified of him due to his role in Reservoir Dogs.

Cobragator is the second movie to film in Marianna and Jackson County this year. Coming on the heels of Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre which filmed during the winter, it is a sign of the increasing popularity of the area's caves, crystal clear spring water and spectacular natural settings with filmmakers. While they obtain pristine natural settings and clear water in which to film underwater scenes, they are bringing a significant economic impact to the community.

Conservative estimates indicate that the two films have brought hundreds of thousands of dollars in new money to the local economy. Filmmakers have rented blocks of hotel rooms for weeks at a time, while also contracting with local businesses for everything from spa treatment for actors to help from Cave Adventurers in filming underwater scenes. Local restaurants have benefited from catering contracts as well as daily visits from cast and crew.

Sources familiar with negotiations for future projects indicate that as many as six more movies are in the works for Marianna and Jackson County.

Here are links to DVD's of some of Madsen's other films:

Reservoir Dogs

Free Willy (Keepcase)

Donnie Brasco (Extended Cut) [Blu-ray]

Thelma & Louise (20th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

Wyatt Earp [Blu-ray]

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another Horror Movie filming in Marianna, Florida!

Talent on location for Cobragator at Florida Caverns
Photo by Pam Fuqua, Jackson County Tourist Director
Update: New Marianna movie to feature Reservoir Dogs star Michael Madsen.

For the second time this year, a movie company has filming under way in Marianna and Jackson County, Florida.

The film this time?  Cobragator!

The Horror Movies website reports that the movie is being produced by iconic filmmaker Roger Corman and directed by Jim Wynorski. It will be of the same "B" horror movie format as "Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre" which was filmed in Marianna over the winter and is now in post production.

Filming underway at Florida Caverns State Park
Photo by Pam Fuqua, Jackson County Tourism Director
Film crews and cast were on location today at Florida Caverns State Park, filming deep underground in Florida's only public tour cave. Other locations for filming will include Merritt's Mill Pond.

The filmmakers are being assisted by Cave Adventurers on the mill pond, which provides numerous services attractive to move companies interested in filming in Jackson County. Headed by noted diver Edd Sorenson, Cave Adventurers operates on Merritt's Mill Pond and offers instruction for divers, guide service, pontoon boats and more.  With their assistance, filmmakers can access the depths of Blue Springs and other locations famed for their crystal clear waters.

Park Manager Chris Hawthorne with movie talent
Photo by Pam Fuqua, Jackson County Tourism Director
Florida Caverns State Park is also providing assistance to the project, which is expected to have a significant impact on the local area. Combined with "Sharkansas" earlier in the year, "Cobragator" continues the effort to bring movie production and hundreds of thousands of dollars of economic impact to Marianna and Jackson County.

Roger Corman, the producer for the new movie, is a fixture in the horror movie industry.  Here is a list of some of his previous projects:

  • Death Race
  • Attack of the 50 foot Cheerleader
  • Dinocroc vs. Supergator
  • Cyclops
  • Supergator
  • Dinocroc
  • Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song
  • Asphalt Wars
  • Black Scorpion (TV series)
  • Macon County Jail
  • Baby Face Nelson
  • Munchie
  • Frankenstein Unbound
  • Bloodfist
  • Screamers
  • Piranha
Cobragator filming underway
Photo by Pam Fuqua, Jackson County Tourism Director
Jim Wynorski, who is reported to be directed "Cobragator", also has a long track record of similar films.  Here is a sampling:
  • Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre (in post production)
  • Not of this Earth
  • The Return of Swamp Thing
  • Transylvania Twist
  • Fire from Below