Florida Guide > State Parks
Gamble Plantation Historic State Park is located in Ellerton, South Florida, north east of Bradenton. This makes it a feasible day out from your villa in the Disney area or by the Gulf Coast.
This was the home of Major Robert Gamble way back in the mid 19th century; he had fought in the Seminole war and afterwards determined to create a sugar plantation on the Manatee River. He had some experience of this kind of farming since he had run a sugar plantation with his brother in Tallahasse (a much more hospitable area for such ventures)but despite this, he was set on the idea of building a plantation in this area and made a great success of the plan.
During its hey day there were 35000 acres of sugar plantation here, which is pretty impressive.
He had built the mansion in the antebellum style and also added grapes, citrus fruits and olives to his crops. However, having weathered good and bad seasons, he decided to sell up 1n 1856 During the war the sugar mill was destroyed and the Patten family moved in after the war was over.
They added a smaller home nearby for their son, but financial difficulties meant they lost the plantation and houses some time later since they owed taxes. At one time this gracious home was used as a fertiliser store; what a travesty.
In 1865, after the defeat of the confederacy, the secretary of State stayed in the house for 3 nights until he could safely go to England; there he became a barrister. So an interesting little connection for us Brits!
The United Daughters of the Confederacy rescued and restored this home and donated it to the state. This mansion is the only one of its style to be seen in southern Florida today, so is not to be missed.
Twice a year in November and March the parks hold an open day where people are dressed in period costume and there is entertainment and crafters displaying their wares. Check with the park for dates since this would make it an extra special day out.
There is no charge for entering the grounds and just a modest $5 fee for entrance to the house. This includes a guided tour which take place 6 times a day. The park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year day and also every tuesday and wednesday
Gamble Plantation Historic State Park
3708 Patten Avenue
Ellenton, Florida 34222
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Page added on: 22 January 2008
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