Despite some initial financial difficulties, the 156-mile-long Florida Railroad line made its first trip to Cedar Key in 1861. The tracks of the Florida Railroad headed south from Fernandina and then extended west toward Cedar Key after diagonally traversing the heart of Alachua County. In doing so, it connected the towns (or whistle-stops) of Callahan (Nassau County), Baldwin (Duval), Starke (Bradford), Waldo (Alachua), Fairbanks (Alachua), Gainesville (Alachua), Wacahoota (Alachua), Archer (Alachua), Bronson (Levy), Otter Creek (Levy), Rosewood (Levy), Sumner (Levy) and Cedar Key (Levy), respectively. This first cross-state train left Fernandina Beach on March 1st at 7:15 a.m. and arrived in Cedar Key at 4:00 p.m. that very day, having made 8 stops in between. This successful run proved short-lived, however. Less than 2 months later, Confederate troops fired upon Fort Sumter, marking the start of the Civil War.
—Biohistory of Florida 9781561648078