I’ve never equated Florida with agriculture, but as I’ve learned on several occasions now, I’m dead wrong about that. And one crop in particular — sugar cane — has a dramatic history in this state.
A Sweet History: Sugar Mills in Florida
In the early 1800s people moved into Florida to try their hand at running sugar mills. Florida was no cooler back then than it is now, so sweating away in a sugar mill wasn’t exactly pleasant. And with all the effort they put into this endeavour, the end result for most of them climaxed with brutal attacks by Indians, leaving the mills, and the owners’ fortunes, in ruins.
New Smyrna Beach Ruins
Sugar Mill Ruins in New Smyrna Beach, also know as the Curger and DePeyster Sugar Mill, is one such reminder of sugar cane’s history in Florida. Its final fate was decided during the Seminole Wars and only crumbling coquina walls remain today.
How to Make Sugar
According to information panels placed at the site, the three-step process included:
Step 1: Crush the sugar cane (by a motorized cane crusher).