Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Lake
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- FORT BUTLER
Location:two miles west of St. Johns River Bridge, S.R. 40
Description: Located on the west bank of the St. Johns, Ft. Butler was built in 1838 during the Seminole Wars. It consisted of a crude log stockade and barracks for the garrison. The Fort was one of the military installations designed to protect the St. Johns River, which served as an important artery of communication with the garrisons in central Florida. On the opposite bank, near the frontier settlement of Volusia, stood Ft. Call.
- HOLY TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Location:on Spring Lake Road north of Fruitland Park.
City: Fruitland Park
Description: Founded in 1886 by a group of young English men who came to this area to plant citrus groves, this church was opened in December, 1888. Earlier services were held at a barn on nearby Lake Geneva, midway between Fruitland Park and Chetwynd, a town two miles north of here no longer in existence. Despite severe economic and population losses following the freezes of 1894-95, this church remained open, and in 1976 descendants of the founders were still active in the congregation. The lych gate, rare in Florida, was added in 1889. The edifice is an unspoiled example of "carpenter gothic" architecture. In 1975, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sponsors: sponsored by holy trinity episcopal church in cooperation with department of state
- JOHN P. DONNELLY HOUSE
Location:Donnelly St. between 5th & 6th Ave.
City: Mount Dora
Description: John P. Donnelly, a native of Pittsburg, came to Mount Dora in 1879. In 1881, he married Annie McDonald Stone, a prominent landholder in the community. Successful in a number of real estate and business ventures, Donnelly built this imposing Queen Anne style house in 1893. He was among the founders of the local yacht club, and served as the city's first mayor in 1910. In 1924, he sold the land for the park named for his wife, who had died in 1908. He died in 1930. The Donnelly House, now owned by Mount Dora Lodge #238, F&AM, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 4, 1975.
Sponsors: Mount Dora Lodge No. 238, F. & A.M. in Cooperation with the Florida Department of State
- VILLA CITY
Location:Lake Emma Road, 3 miles north of Groveland
Description: On this site in 1885, George Thomas King, founder of Villa City, built an estate that was the showplace of the area. By 1895, the town had a post office, school, church, hotel, photographic studio, dispensary and 35 homes. The citrus based community flourished until the Big Freeze of 1894-95. A warm spell, after a devastating Dec. 29 freeze, filled the trees with sap. Snow then fell in the evening of Feb. 7, 1895. The frozen trees exploded when the warming sun returned. Their hopes and dreams broken, the settlers left. The last original house, the Gano House, was demolished in 1968, but the beauty of the area remains.
Sponsors: VILLA CITY HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
- WITHERSPOON LODGE OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS, No. 111
Location:Corner of Grant Ave. and N. Clayton St.
City: Mount Dora
Description: The Witherspoon Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, No. 111, is one of Florida’s oldest functioning African American lodges. Established in 1898, it followed the tradition of Prince Hall (1735-1807), who opposed racial oppression in Colonial New England and founded the first African American Lodge in the United States. The Witherspoon Lodge bought this frame vernacular style building in 1903 and has met here since then. Masonic rites require that meetings be held on the second floor. The building also houses the Order of the Eastern Star, the Masonic women’s auxiliary. The Masons, the world’s largest fraternal organization, are committed to community service, mutual aid and the pursuit of free thought. In Mount Dora, the Witherspoon Lodge has provided help and shelter to various community organizations. In 1922, fire destroyed the city’s one-room segregated school for African-American children (Public School No. 66, first established in 1886). The Witherspoon Building served as a schoolhouse until the construction of the Milner-Rosenwald Academy in 1925. The Witherspoon Building has also served as the temporary assembly place for two churches, the Weaver Memorial Church of Christ and the Holiness Church
Sponsors: WITHERSPOON LODGE OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS, NO. 111 AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
- MILNER-ROSENWALD ACADEMY
Location:1560 N. Highland St.
City: Mount Dora
Description: Milner-Rosenwald Academy served African-American school children from 1926 to 1962. When fire destroyed the old school in 1922, parents and community leaders, led by Mamie Lee Gilbert (1886-1976) and Lula Butler, raised money for a new one. Seed money came from the Rosenwald Foundation, founded in 1913 by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) to build black schools in the South. Matching funds came from Rev. Duncan C. Milner (1841-1928), Mount Dora, committed foe of racial injustice. Despite the inequity of segregation, Milner-Rosenwald was a source of community pride. Its graduates were leaders, scholars, writers and contributing members of society. Many today remember favorite teachers and activities--the marching band, the glee club, the Maypole Festival, the state championship girls' basketball team. As enrollment grew, a new Milner-Rosenwald Academy was built, at 1250 Grant Ave. The old academy housed the community's first kindergarten, the East Town branch library, the youth center and, later, the Head Start program. After integration in 1970 the Milner-Rosenwald Academy was renamed Mount Dora Middle School and the name Milner-Rosenwald Academy became a cherished part of Mount Dora's history.
Sponsors: THE NORTHEAST BLACK HISTORY COMMITTEE AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
- FORT MASON
Location:Larkin Park, Hwy. 19
Description: During the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), troops under the command of Brig. Gen. Abraham Eustis left Volusia County headed toward the Withlacoochee River as part of a military action in response to the December 28, 1835 massacre of Major Francis L. Dade and his command near Bushnell. In March 1836 the troops camped nearby while a bridge was constructed over the Ocklawaha to the west. They built a fortified stockade about one mile south of this location, on the east side of Smith Lake. It was named Fort Mason, most likely to honor Lt. Col. Pierce Mason Butler who led the expedition and after whom Fort Butler, near Astor, was also named. After hostilities ended, Fort Mason became a supply base to support and encourage settlement in the area, which would later become Lake County. With the coming of the railroad in the1880s, a town on the north shore of Lake Eustis took its name from Fort Mason.
Sponsors: LAKE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE