The plantation, originally founded by an immigrant from the Bahamas, named Patrick Dean, received a 995 acre federal land grant to produce cotton and sugar, but production was interrupted by the War of 1812. Dean died violently, probably at the hands of Indians.
New ownership by two families – the Dunn and the Lawton families – the name was shortened to The Dunlawton Sugar Mill back in the very early part of the 19th Century – in the 1830s. It was a going concern producing raw sugar from cane until it was burned down during the Second Indian War back in 1836 but wasn’t rebuilt until 1840. Since that time, the old sugar mill has had several owners, business entities and several purposes.
|The Main Entrance, across the street from a small parking lot.|
|The scene right inside the main gate. You can see why I chose it for my story header|
|Just one of several places to stop, listen to birds and breezes throughout these lush gardens.|
|This seemed a bit Oriental in nature, but it still fit-in with the moss and ferns.|
|A peaceful respite near a quaint bridge over the pond. Running water always creates a calming effect on the human spirit.|
|There is no single trail to enjoy these gardens.|
|Just in-time. I was worried I'd get lost and stuck after closing time.|
|Back in Pre-historic days of the 1950s, came a theme park known as "Bongoland".|
That’s right, kiddies. Come to Bongoland and see Bongo the baboon and all his little friends, ride the train through the Indian village and see the dinosaurs. However, this forward thinking idea went unrewarded as the days of the Theme Park had not yet come and the park was closed due to lack of interest. Sad, really. I guess we had to wait until Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California first.
|Dearly beloved, you can watch the ceremony from nature's garden church. (Bring DEET!)|
|The Confederate Oak. (rear view)|
|The Confederate Oak (front view)|
|The Human Sundial. Where your shadow lands, it the correct time.|
This nearly brings us full circle around the grounds – from left to the back to the right. Again, I wanted to know the time and sure enough, right outside the old Sugar Mill was this Human Sundial. I had to check it out. You stand between the stones marking the month of the year and your shadow is cast at the correct time. Sure enough!
|The remaining foundation of the original sugar mill buildings - burned in a skirmish with Indians.|
|The sugar cane is squeezed and the liquid is boiled down in these over an open flame.|
The Gardens are now owned by Volusia County (formerly Mosquito County – with good reason), Florida, but the gardens are maintained by volunteers. To preserve what remains, a shelter-roof has been erected.
|This big wheel turns the pressing mechanism, squeezing all the moisture out of the raw sugar cane.|
These giant gears turned the presses that extracted the sugar cane syrup before it could be boiled and reduced to near powdered form. Archaeologists reconstructed the equipment supports using pressure-treated lumber. I don’t believe it is operational, but essentially how it would have looked.
Well, that’s about it. There are lots more photos and scenes about this place. I could have easily spent an entire day there just finding new ways to view the surroundings and experience what resident memories there may be there. I did what I had set out to do. I got some nice images, learned a little something about making sugar, how hard it was to make a business grow when the “neighbors” didn’t want you there and how a group of volunteers can make such a lovely garden place out of the varied past that started out to be a plantation.
Happy trails. Thanks for dropping-by.
C-ya next time.