Abandoned Florida: Riverside Motel & St.Mary’s Liquors
Abandoned Florida takes a look inside of Nassau County's long forgotten Riverside Motel and St. Mary's Liquors.
Although the 21st Amendment repeals nationwide prohibition in the United States, it allows for prohibition under state or local laws. The rationale for maintaining prohibition at the local level is often religious in nature, as many Baptists and evangelical Christian denominations discourage the consumption of alcohol by their followers. Many dry communities do not prohibit the consumption of alcohol though, which could potentially cause a loss of profits and taxes from the sale of alcohol to their residents in wet (non-prohibition) communities.
Knud Howard and Nellie Vanzant Olfort took advantage of this and opened both the St. Mary’s Liquors and Riverside Motel in 1954, just inside the Florida/Georgia border. Many people believe that once I-95 was built, many travelers stopped using the smaller highways and opted for the larger, faster, and more convenient interstates, which is what likely lead to the demise of this business.
Interstate 95 was signed in 1959, and the first section to be opened to traffic was in Jacksonville in 1960. By the end of the 70s, most the highway was completed from Miami to the Georgia/South Carolina state line. While this may have affected business, something else occurred which might have had an effect on its closure.