Florida Guide > State Parks
YULEE SUGAR MILLS
Yulee Sugar Mills Ruins State Park is situated on Tiger Tail Island on Crystal River about 3 miles west of the City of Homossassas.
This mill was once owned by David Levy Yulee and covered over 5000 acres. The plantation grew various kinds of produce, cotton and of course sugar cane.
This land was acquired by the Spanish during their occupation of Florida and it was they who handed the land over to Mr Yulee. David ran it succesfully for 13 years.
The Civil War led to the down fall of the Plantation since it was burned down by Union troops. It never recovered after the war.
At its peak the Plantation employed 1000 slaves to create and run it from 1851 to 1864. The mill processed the sugar cane to make molasses, syrup and sugar. The molasses in turn were used to make rum.
One of the oranges he developed is still grown today and can be enjoyed under the name of Homossassas Sweet.
David had served on the U. S. Senate and he was also on the House of Representatives. He was the first Senator for Florida.
It was David Yulee who had the railway built from Ferdinand to Cedar Key which he used to carry his crops. Another first here since it was the first rail road that went into a Florida peninsular.
The produce was ferried by boat from the Plantation to the railway station and from there taken to Cedar Key. The exception was the molasses which was taken to the islands to be turned into rum.
When you visit the mill today you can still see the foundations that were built by the slaves and also the 40 foot stone work chimney, a steam boiler, a cane press and some giant steam kettles. This gives you a real feeling of the scale of the operation.
As you are looking round, take some time to study the interpretive exhibits that are dotted around the mill.
It is possible to request a ranger led talk. There are 3 available: ' Sweet and Sour' explores the use of slaves in the Plantation: ' Talk and Tour' traces the history of the mill and the man and also explains the making of the various sugar producets. ' Man of many firsts! is based on the life and work of David Yulee himself. Phone 325 795 3817 to talk to a member of staff about any of the tours.
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Page added on: 6 February 2009
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