meaning "Valley of Water" in the Indian Language, was settled
around 1880. A map in a geography book at that time showed the name
of Tracy's Point printed larger than that of Jacksonville.
was known as the largest fruit center in the world. In addition to
citrus there were sugar cane mills. Barrels of sugar and syrup were
shipped north along with the oranges. In later years, Mr. Henry Marsh was
well known for his cane syrup. The King family from Cleveland, Ohio,
developed 18,400 acres of grove and pasture lands. Mr. King
developed the King Orange, a large juicy sweet orange, by grating sweet
stock from the King of Siam to the native sour orange trees.
were many lovely old colonial homes along the groves and plantations where
Sea Island cotton, sugar cane, corn and sweet potatoes were also grown.
The rivers and woods were teaming with fish and game, and social life
centered around these activities.
Vista, a large plantation home on the river, was built in the late 1880s
by a man named Harris, whose wife was a daughter of the White Sewing
Machine family. She didn't care for the country life, so Mr. Harris
sold the home to the King family. In 1923 Pana Vista was sold to the
Knight family who enlarged it and operated it as a hotel.
great freeze of 1894-95 destroyed most of the citrus industry which caused
many people to move away. However, the Monarch and Ventura groves,
which were planted among the oak trees, were about five degrees warmer and
became an important turpentine center during the latter part of the 19th
Century. When the turpentine had been sapped from the trees, the
lands were sold to Cummer Lumber Co. and a large saw mill was
erected. This changed the peaceful country atmosphere and the
population grew to about 1,500. Several general stores, three
hotels, a drug store, meat market, two active churches, a saloon, and a
school came into existence. After the destruction of the beautiful
pine and cypress trees, there came another decrease in population.
Several hundred people moved away instead of only a few families.
winter tourists continued to come for the excellent hunting and fishing,
and in the early 1920s the road was paved from Panasoffkee to the outlet