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Phosphate historical marker.

Discovery of Phosphate in Florida

Field review by the editors.

Dunnellon, Florida

If you've ever driven on a crappy limerock back road in The Sunshine State, direct your irritation here. That's because limerock is a waste product of phosphate mining, and phosphate mining is the third largest industry in Florida. The industry makes money by having its waste mixed into asphalt as a paving material.

Phosphate was discovered in Florida in 1889 by Albertus Vogt, while he was sinking a well. Its principal use was as a fertilizer. For a few years Dunnellon was a boomtown of phosphate surface strip mines. But by 1900 the mines were played out and, as the plaque notes, "the center of production has shifted elsewhere."

The self-proclaimed "Phosphate Center of the World" is now in Mulberry, about three hours south of Dunnellon.

Discovery of Phosphate in Florida

FL-40, Dunnellon, FL
From US-41 in downtown Dunnellon, turn west at the stoplight onto FL-40/Pennsylvania Ave. Drive to the stop sign, then turn right onto Cedar St. Drive about one mile. The marker will be one the left, just past Oak Bend Village.
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