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See Cruger-dePeyster Sugar Mill Ruins

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Despite being made of a seashell mortar, the crumbling remains of this historic Florida mill are still standing.

Henry Cruger and William dePeyster bought 600 acres of land here in 1830 and established a sugar plantation. The plantation originally consisted of a sugar mill and a saw mill, both built from coquina quarried in the area. Coquina, or “tiny shell,” was first used by the Spanish. It contains mollusk shell fragments and quartz sand, bound together by calcium carbonate. Machinery for the mills, much advanced for the time and area, consisted of steam-driven rollers financed by investors from New York. Unfortunately for the owners and investors, the mills and surrounding buildings were burned down by the Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War in 1835. The plantation’s own slaves aided in the raid.

The area was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in August 1970. Now maintained by the Florida Park Service as a State Historic Site, visitors are free to roam among the ruins, walk along nature trails, and enjoy picnic lunches under the shade of pine and oak trees.