Long lost in Lake County
[Lake County c. 1890’s]
Florida in the late 1800’s was a tough place to make a living as the South was trying to re-define itself in the post-war days. This area was mainly farmed by cattlemen, but a new era of prosperity would come rolling through this area in 1887 in the shape of a wood-burning engine. The railroad brought access to new markets, the ability to transport more efficiently to them making commercial farming a possibility.
Citrus experienced an incredible boom during this period but many also worked as fishermen, cattlemen or in the pine/turpentine industry. In 1889, C.C. and B.M. Taylor would construct a still, labor shacks and a commissary near this site. The area would continue to prosper through the early 1900’s, boasting the largest sawmill in the Southeast by 1917.
This old home hides just off a quiet country road near this old Florida settlement. Even as I stood at this distance, I could hear the tree branches scraping the tin roof. I think about what it must sound like inside on a rainy day. I imagine the family who looked out on this field from the front porch. Their lives were much harder than what we know now, but somehow much simpler too. I like to think that although so much has changed since then, this view is probably not much different than it was back then.