Location: Homosassa, Florida
Webpage: Florida State Park
General Description: In addition to being a State Senator in 1845 and credited for developing a system of railroads in Florida, David Levy Yulee was a large property owner. Near Homosassa, Florida, Senator Yulee owned a large sugar cane plantation, which was destroyed in the Civil War. The original plantation covered over 5000 acres and worked by about 1000 slaves. As with most large plantations, they built their own sugar mills to process the sugar cane into molasses, syrup, and sugar before transporting to market. The remains of the sugar mill operated by Senator Yulee are maintained in a small historic park outside of Homosassa, Florida. The most obvious feature is the limestone furnace used to cook the sugar cane and provide steam power to operate the press and pump water from underground. Visible are the series of cooling tubs used in the process. Missing are the storage and handling buildings that would have been part of the operation.
1) The ruins are literally right off the highway, with the ruins on one side and a small picnic area and parking lot on the other side.
2) The chimney of the furnace is impressive, as are the steel remains of the steam engine and press used to squeeze the juice from the sugar cane.
3) On the other side of the furnace are three of the four cooling tubs used to progressively cook and then cool the sugar cane. There are interpretive signs at each side of the ruins giving basic information of the process.
4) It takes less than an hour to visit and learn about the ruins. I would recommend it as part of a day spent in the area at either the Wildlife Park or Crystal River State Park.