Floral City Historical Trail
1....Print this file.
2....At its end, click on "rules" to see a copy of the trail rules, print it, and then click where indicated at the end of the 3-page rules and patch order form to get back to the list of Florida trails.
3....If you want a hand-drawn map showing the locations of all of the sites, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Steve Rajtar, 1614 Bimini Dr., Orlando, FL 32806.
4....Hike the trail and order whatever patches you like (optional).
WARNING - This trail may pass through one or more neighborhoods which, although full of history, may now be unsafe for individuals on foot, or which may make you feel unsafe there. Hikers have been approached by individuals who have asked for handouts or who have inquired (not always in a friendly manner) why the hikers are in their neighborhood. Drugs and other inappropriate items have been found by hikers in some neighborhoods. It is suggested that you drive the hike routes first to see if you will feel comfortable walking them and, if you don't think it's a good place for you walk, you might want to consider (1) traveling with a large group, (2) doing the route on bicycles, or (3) choosing another hike route. The degree of comfort will vary with the individual and with the time and season of the hike, so you need to make the determination using your best judgment. If you hike the trail, you accept all risks involved.
AS OF JUNE 2009, SPONSORSHIP OF THIS TRAIL HAS CHANGED. PLEASE DIRECT ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT IT TO BOY SCOUT TROOP 370, 4159 S. OLBEK PT., HOMOSASSA, FL 34446-1629, (352) 2121-5930, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.troop370.us/hist-trails/.
The Duval family raised sugar cane and cotton here with 16 families of slaves. Duval sold 342.5 acres on Duval Island to the Tranham family for $3,000 in 1865. They then grew cotton, sugar cane and vegetables.
Just after the Civil War, John Paul Formy-Duval settled in this area. He built a large two-story home and started raising cotton. When he discovered that the land he owned was on an island, and not where he had built his home, he went to this island and built an identical white frame house and planted an orange grove, now part of Ferris Groves.
In about 1900, the home was lifted from its foundation by a storm and set down a few feet away. It was later dismantled.
This cemetery was established by black resident H.C. Frasier when he donated the land so he could bury his son here in 1908. One grave here is that of Arthur Norton, a black phosphate worker who died at the age of 109, at one time the oldest resident of Citrus County.
In 1966, Ed and Doris Bryant donated the property to be the Floral City Community Cemetery.
This black cemetery is privately owned. It contains 12 headstones from the Williams, Mobley, Lindsey and Spicer families.
Mr. Quinn built a house here for Mr. Hines, a mine superintendent. It was later owned by Oliver Roux, and was then torn down.
Harvey Dunn, Sr., the manager of the Mutual Mine, used this Colonial Revival style building as his home and office. It was built in 1904 with an exterior of pine board and batten siding. Later, it was covered with drop siding, and then aluminum. It had a side gable roof, later replaced by a hip roof. The north side, the original front, previously faced the road. In 1916, it was bought by Harvey Dunn, Jr.
This is the oldest church in Floral City, built between 1895 and 1910. It was established by blacks who worked in the turpentine, sawmill and phosphate industries. It is a wooden folk style church, with 1985 additions of asbestos siding and modern screen windows.
Merchant Jont Knight built this Folk Victorian style home in about 1905. The use of two rectangular sections connected by a narrow passage is an unusual design. The Knights ran a small store in the nearby black section of town.
This two-story building was originally the first post office, moved here and remodeled. After the Easleys it was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Parsons.
This is a wood frame Bungalow built in about 1926 for dry goods store owner J.L. Hanson. Later owners include Clifford West.
A large two-story house located here was owned by William A. Bushnell, who became Floral City's postmaster on February 15, 1901. In the building was the post office. It later became the Sanford Boarding House, and then was converted to apartments.
Across the street to the north was a boarding house owned by the Bonhams, and just to the east was Edward W. Graham's Floral City Bottle Works.
Martin M. Smoak came to Floral City in 1906 and bought several downtown lots. Near the railroad, he operated a blacksmith shop. Beside a grist mill he installed the city's first gasoline tank. When US 41 was rerouted west of the railroad, he moved his business here and built a garage at this intersection, one of the first buildings oriented directly facing the highway. For years, it served as the bus station.
This frame house reminiscent of a Bungalow was built by Martin M. Smoak in the 1920s. It has drop siding, brick piers, and battered columns on the open front porch.
This side-gabled house was built in the early 1900s with a rural Cracker style. It has hand-hewn beams and was restored in 1991.
Built in the late 1930s, this is the only local building with rounded corners, horizontal design features, and glass brick.
Daniel W. Pheil started this cemetery in 1884 so that his family did not have to be buried close to the water. The first person buried here was his wife, Amelia B. Pheil, on August 11 of that year.
Along the railroad track, behind where the bank is now located, was a house. The Puckett family lived there and produced three Citrus County teachers, Louise, Lois, Fanny and Ethel. Vivian served as postmaster, as did Gene.
This brick building has served as the Floral City Bank in the 1910s, a post office during the 1920s, and a variety store. It was built between 1898 and 1905, likely the only brick commercial building erected during that period in Floral City. Just to the east of it was W.M. Laurie's general store.
Before 1900, L.J. Edwards had a store by the lake, and relocated it to the corner just to the west. The wooden building was later owned by Mr. Goolsby, then was run by J.T. Love and J.B. King.
A citrus packing house located here was owned by J.T. Love.
The Plant System railroad passed through Floral City in 1893, giving the local phosphate industry a boost. The rails were removed in 1987 and the right-of-way was acquired by the State Department of Natural Resources and developed as the Withlacoochee State Trail.
On January 18, 1893, Floral City Lodge No. 133, F.& A.M., received its charter. Early meetings were held upstairs in the schoolhouse on Marvin St., across from the home of J.O. Love. They later used the two-story Masonic Hall, built in about 1880 on Marvin St., which they moved to this corner. In 1963, it was torn down to make room for the present temple.
A house was built here in 1906 for Mr. Hillman, but he never moved in. Its first occupants were the Ward family, and it was later the home of the Whitelaws, the Spiveys, and the Joseys. It burned down in 1985.
This is a Folk Victorian style house built by George W. Higgins in about 1900, and its first occupants were D.A. Tooke and his wife, Etta Higgins. They and George Higgins moved to Duval Island in 1906. It is made of weatherboard cladding and has decorative wood brackets and wraparound porches.
This house was the residence of the Durands, the Reeds and the Swords.
A house located here was owned by Solomon D. Moon until he sold it in 1892 to Mr. Cobb, who sold it for $500 in 1905 to George C. Watson, the constable of Cove Bend. It was built of drop siding on brick piers and had a high pyramidal hip roof.
This was the first home of Viola Savary Tooke and was built in the early 1900s. It has board and batten siding, a high tin roof and sectional open porches. Later owners include the Kinseys.
This Classical Revival style home was built in the 1920s and used as a boarding house. When the house was sold to the Smiths, it was remodeled to eliminate the second story.
This hall-and-parlor plan frame house was common in the rural southeast in the early 1900s, when this was built. It sits on brick piers and has unpainted board and batten siding. Until 1991, the hip roof and symmetrical proportions of the home were unaltered. It was the residence of Ludelia Hutchinson.
Confederate veteran John Paul Formy-Duval lived in Ocala and owned all of what is now Floral City and Duval Island. He built a large two-story Classical Revival style home with porches on both floors. In the yard is a large concrete cistern.
The original front of the house is now facing east, away from the road. It was also the residence of Mr. Havron, Judge Nelson and his sister Rose, and Faye Metz Cairl.
On this site was the home of Will Laurie, who worked on a riverboat. The Lauries had a store on Orange Ave. just west of the railroad.
This building was built in 1969 by Smoak and Ogden, and the library moved into it from its site on Florida Ave. which it had occupied since 1960.
This Queen Anne style building began as the home of James M. Baker, built in 1889 and moved here after the railroad was built in 1893. Mariam M. Borland bought it in 1908 and she and her son operated this comfortable hotel, catering to traveling salesmen and other "commercial" individuals. It was later converted to apartments and restored in the early 1990s.
Later owners included Winfield Webb, who had a hair styling shop on the first floor.
The Floral City Woman's Club was established in 1921. In 1929, ten prominent businessmen made a gift of land to the Club, which in 1933 they traded to the county in exchange for the construction of this clubhouse built with W.P.A. funds. It was built of limestone collected from abandoned phosphate mines, with the construction supervised by John Ogden. It was used as a recreation center for soldiers during World War II and is now used for community activities.
A hotel located here became an annex to Mariam M. Borland's successful Commercial Hotel next door. Later, it was sold to Dwayne and Helen Anderson and converted into four apartments. It was torn down to make room for a convenience store.
Master craftsman George W. Higgins built this home for himself in the 1890s, then sold it to Capt. W.C. Zimmerman. The house has a Folk Victorian style and features an open wraparound porch, a separate roof over the bay window, a corbel style chimney, and decorative balustrade on lathe-turned posts topped with wooden ornamental brackets.
Zimmerman served as the first circuit court clerk, farmed, and grew citrus. He was also the county school superintendent.
This 1890s two-story house has a Classical Revival style with a porch-on-porch and second floor decorative wood balustrade. It was later owned by the Rice family and then Larry Hartman.
Here was located the home of the Quinns and the Cobbs, and also the Coates family. Mr. Coates was a retired nurseryman and improved the property with exotic plantings and rocks built into bridges over streams, seats, tables, gate posts and bird baths. He named it Neptune Gardens and made it available to all. The property passed to Tom and Cretha Festa, who sold it to Homer D. Coulter in 1979. It was condemned and torn down in 1979-80.
This house was built by George W. Higgins in about 1903 with a Frame Vernacular style. It is the only Floral City house with a jerkinhead gable roof line. It was owned for a time by David Alonzo Tooke.
George Allen built this cottage in the 1920s with a Craftsman design, featuring paired square porch columns in the front gable. His wife, Dolly Clements, was the daughter of the owner of a sawmill located near Steamboat Landing. They moved here from a citrus grove on Duval Island.
This house was built in about 1905 on brick piers, typical of later construction. It features two brick corbeled style chimneys.
This house was owned by Irwin and Billie Tooke and rented to others.
This is a wood frame Bungalow built in about 1908 with battered columns. It was the residence of Irwin Tooke and his wife, Billie.
This Queen Anne style home was built in the late 1890s for H.D. Bassett, Sr., the superintendent of the Black Diamond Phosphate Mine and the Bradley Mines. Later additions include a wide veranda with battered columns. The decorative iron fence formerly circled the old courthouse in Inverness.
Others who have lived here include Dr. Childs, Dr. Pearce, Mal and Emma Love Jenrette, Pearly Jenrette, the Dutton family, David Alonzo Tooke (in 1919), and Ruth Tooke Carn.
This house was built in about 1910 as the residence of James Thaddeus Love and his wife, Stella Whittington. It has a design essentially the same as the Bassett house, with an unusually high hip roof, intersecting twin gables and very tall chimneys. Love owned grocery stores, meat markets and a drug store.
On this corner was a house built in 1906, owned by the Cobbs, then the Coates family, and then Dr. and Mrs. Hinnman. The house was demolished in the fall of 1984.
This land was a park with a bathhouse on the lake, and local churches used it for baptisms. The Edson family had a home here, since removed.
This congregation organized on July 1, 1888, as the Cove Bend Baptist Church of Jesus Christ. Rev. W.J. Hughes served as its first pastor. They decided in 1892 to build a new sanctuary, but did not complete it until 1899. It was built by George W. Higgins. At that time, the name was changed to Floral City Baptist Church.
Its new masonry and brick sanctuary was dedicated on November 29, 1964.
This house was built in the early 1900s with an I-plan, two stories high and one room wide with symmetrical window placement. Its exterior is board and baten and has been modified several times.
Jim M. and Celeste Eulale Duval Baker built a home here in the 1890s and later sold it to Mariam M. Borland, who had it moved westward. It was converted to the Commercial Hotel.
Baker operated a phosphate mine, farmed and operated a store. The house included stained glass windows which were a wedding present to his bride, Nettie Celeste Duval, the daughter of John Paul Formy-Duval.
On the northeast corner of that intersection was the residence of Clyde B. Peters, and later of the Quinn family. Peters and his mother, Nell, owned the Gulf station on Florida Ave. across from the Bank of Inverness. He built another house to the back of the old one, which was removed.
This was the home of B.T. Keating, who came here from Wisconsin. He and Mr. Ferris were involved in the citrus grove business during the boom years.
The house was sold to the Taylor family (who owned the town's first electric stove), then to Harley Crews. It passed to Lee Young who, with her mother, moved into the house in the 1950s. She ran a coffee shop north of Floral City.
The house located here was the large two-story residence of the Cobb family. It was later the home of the Kings and the Cox family, who remodeled it as a one-story house.
This structure started out as a church, with a large bell in a nearby tree.
This Frame Vernacular style home was built in about 1904 by Tom Tooke. The front porch was formerly open. It was later owned by his daughter, Annie Mae Godwin.
Citrus and pecan grower Callie Johnston built this Bungalow in about 1900 with an open porch, square columns and balustrade. It was sold in 1923 to barber John Landrum. The building housed a post office and general store. It was remodeled in 1933. Later owners include Mr. and Mrs. H. Wooten.
This house is unusual in that it is constructed of native limestone. The foundation is solid uncut limestone. It was built in the 1920s by Desso Brown while he was a lay minister at the Floral City Baptist Church.
A large two-story school was located here in 1897, with the second floor serving as the Masonic Temple. When it ceased being used as a school, the Masons moved the building to the site of the present Masonic Temple.
A home was built here by Mr. Dorsey for J.O. Love and his wife, Daisy Hampton. They moved in during 1906 with seven children, and had two more. The house was demolished and replaced by a small one built of cement block, later owned by Mr. Huston.
A few members of the Church of Christ met in about 1910 at the Cove Bend Schoolhouse, and Rev. Sanders was one of its early preachers. They later met in the Community Building and then built a sanctuary at this location in 1945. The materials for its construction were donated by E.A. Zellner.
Area Methodists may have begun meting as early as 1876. This church was founded in 1884 as the Floral City Mission Church and a wod frame church was designed and built by George W. Higgins in 1884-85. By 1886, there were 38 members and the pastor was Rev. T.M. White. It features a gable roof and a square bell tower vestibule at the corner.
It has 11 Queen Anne sash stained glass windows which were made in 1884. An education building was added in 1965 and a new sanctuary was built in 1983. Hilton Hall was built in 1992.
A two-story frame schoolhouse was built in 1906. Its two upstairs rooms were separated by folding doors, allowing them to be combined to make a large assembly room. In one room, the principal taught all of the high school subjects. it started with grades 1-12, and in 1917 grades 11 and 12 were moved to Inverness. Later, grades 9 and 10 followed. The building was moved across the street and torn down in 1926. It was replaced by a stuccoed school built by John Ogden and W.P.A. labor during that year.
The building was torn down and replaced by the present one, which was dedicated on December 22, 1941. It was expanded during the 1970s and 1980s.
This is a Cracker style house built in about 1900. It is of board and batten siding and sits on its original limestone foundation.
A portion of this house constructed in 1884 was one of the area's earliest schools, with Mrs. Barton as its first teacher. It has been extensively modified and later owners include the Shipps.
This house was the large two-story home of Kate Ogden, built by her father. When she first moved to Floral City, she had a millinery and dressmaking business. After lightning struck the house, it was reduced to one story.
When the Orange State Canal was dug in the 1880s, this steamboat landing was created for the shipping of citrus and produce to the Withlacoochee River and the railroad at Lake Panasoffkee.
In the 1880s, this picturesque avenue was the center of town, serving as Floral City's main street leading to the Steamboat Landing.
E.B. Crump built this home in 1893 on large cypress stumps. It is a Folk Vernacular style home with an exterior of board and batten later covered with asbestos shingles. After the Crumps, the house was owned by the Cranes and then the Clarks.
This home was severely burned, with arson suspected as the cause.
Mr. Castel owned the Floral City Pharmacy where the Floral City Hardware was later located. Later, grandson Ebert Castel owned the property and had it torn down. Directly north of the Castel house was a one-room school, the first in Floral City.
The school was built in 1884 and J.M. Baker was paid $110 for its construction. A later addition by J.W. Knight cost $168.
This is a Cracker style frame home built in the 1920s, popular in Florida in earlier periods, with an extended screened front porch. After the Worly family, the house was the residence of the Tanky family and then the Steeds.
The first store in Floral City was that of Nelson and Barton, located here. They sold general merchandise. The store was bought out by Brooks and Baker, who moved it uptown.
This two-story house was built in 1893 by Solomon D. Moon, with an eclectic American Four-Square style. Moon moved to Floral City from Alabama in about 1882 and became a civic leader and property developer. He became a state legislator in 1930.
In 1942, Henry and Flossie Love Bassett acquired the house, then it was owned by Dale and Clara Walter, and then by Al Rosier in 1950. The house was restored in 1986.
Mrs. Long-Halbert lived here with her relatives. The house was removed, leaving only a brick chimney in a citrus grove and a masonry fence near the road.
This home in a small orange grove was the residence of Daniel Baker. All that is left of the grove are two orange trees.
This community was laid out by state senator A.S. Mann and W.H. Havron in 1884, and during that same year Hugh Boyland planted the live oak trees which form a canopy over Orange Ave. Boyland is given credit for naming the town after the many wild flowers in the area.
In 1884, the Florida Orange Canal and Transit company dug the five-mile-long Orange State Canal. It allowed boats to travel to Floral City from Lake Panasoffkee and the Withlacoochee River. Through it, steamboats hauled citrus, produce, lumber, naval stores, and passengers.
A History of Floral City, by Marie L. Morris (Citrus Printers 1986)
A History of Hernando County, by Richard J. Stanaback (Daniels Publishers 1976)
A Time to Remember: The History of the Floral City United Methodist Church, by Ann Luff (1996)
African Americans in Florida, by Maxine D. Jones and Kevin M. McCarthy (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1993)
Back Home: A History of Citrus County, Florida, by Hampton Dunn (Citrus County Historical Society, Inc. 1989)
Black Florida, by Kevin M. McCarthy (Hippocrene Books 1995)
Floral City: A Guide to Historic Architecture, (Citrus County Historical Society, Inc. 1991)
Florida Historic Stained Glass Survey: Sites of Historic Windows in Public Facilities in the State of Florida, by Robert O. Jones (Florida Members of the Stained Glass Association of America 1995)
Guide to Florida's Historic Architecture, (University of Florida Press 1989)
Hernando County: Our Story, by Alfred A. McKethan (1989)
Wish You Were Here: A Grand Tour of Early Florida Via Old Post Cards, by Hampton Dunn (Byron Kennedy and Company 1981)
Click here for a copy of the trail rules.