Pine Level, DeSoto County, Florida

Pine Level is a ghost town in DeSoto County, Florida, United States.

Pine Level Methodist Church

Pine Level was founded in the 1850s and had bars, saloons, a courthouse, a jail, stores, churches and homes. Gunfights were considered a common sight on the streets.[1]

In 1866, the site of what became Pine Level was chosen as the new county seat of Manatee County to replace the Manatee River village of Manatee (now the eastern section of Bradenton). Ostensibly Pine Level was chosen for its more central geographic location, but it may have been chosen to punish Manatee for its Confederate sympathies in the Civil War.[2]

In 1887, Pine Level was included in the new DeSoto County carved out of Manatee County and it became the county seat of the new county and the seat of Manatee County was returned to Manatee. In 1889, however, the county seat of DeSoto County was moved from Pine Level to Arcadia.

The East and West Coast Railway began construction of a route from Bradenton east to Arcadia in July 1913. The nearly 50 mile long line was completed and opened for operation on May 3, 1915. Pine Level was located on this line, 41 miles from its starting point in Bradenton. Pine Level had a depot, a 1,348' railroad siding and a 524' spur track. The railroad served a large saw mill at Pine Level. In July 1933, the Interstate Commerce Commission authorized the East & West Coast Railway to abandon the tracks from Bradenton to Arcadia. Most of the abandonment actually then took place in September 1934.

Compiled in the late 1930s and first published in 1939, the Florida guide listed Pine Level's population as 30 and described the folklore associated with nearby Horse Creek:

Before 1880 this and neighboring streams were favorite haunts of 'Alligator' Platt, renowned hunter, whose exploits are preserved in the lore of south Florida. He would hide along a bank until a 'gator floated to the surface, and then dive in and tackle the creature, it is said. Man and beast would vanish in a tremendous swirl of muddy water. Platt would shortly reappear, astride his victim, and ride it triumphantly ashore, his thumbs hooked in the 'gator's eyes. It was easy to capture the biggest saurian that way, with no expense for gunpowder and shell, said Platt, recommending the method to his contemporaries.[3]

— Federal Writers'Project, "Part III: The Florida Loop", Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (1947)

Today, all that remains of Pine Level is the Pine Level Methodist Church, the Indian Mound Cemetery, and the Pine Level Campground Cemetery. The site is marked by a State of Florida bronze marker.

See also



  1. ^ "Pine Level - Ghost Town". Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  2. ^ *Pine Level, DeSoto Co, Florida in Desoto Co FLGenWeb Project Archived June 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1947). Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 469. ISBN 9781595342089.

27°16′N 82°0′W / 27.267°N 82.000°W / 27.267; -82.000