New: William Bartram and the Ghost Plantations of British East Florida
William Bartram and the Ghost Plantations of British East Florida by Daniel L. Schafer[Hardcover], 153 pages.
Publisher: Univ. Press of Florida (2010)
Lantana Pubic Library Call No.: Fla 975.9 Sch
Florida history lovers and gardeners will be pleased to hear of this new read at Lantana Public Library.
I just picked it up out of curiosity, after enjoying a long weekend driving trip north up Florida’s east coast to Flagler County and the coastal area immediately south St. Augustine. While there, I stopped to visit one of my favorite state parks – Washington Oaks — a beautiful, rustic, forgotten corner of old plantation Florida, bounded by the Atlantic and orange cochina sandy outcrops and ledges on one side, and the Matanzas River on the other.
What I didn’t know while on my trip, though, is that not long after the Spanish colonized this corner of north-east area Florida, the British came in turn for a time and founded a short-lived colony there – as early as 1763. The Brits settled a roughly 40 mile area along the St. John’s River with dozens of small farms and plantations. It is found today along the Bartram Scenic Highway, on Florida SR 13, running south from Julington Creek to Spuds, intersecting with SR 207.
Schafer’s book uncovers an area of Florida that famed naturalist William Bartram in his Travels chose to ignore, favoring instead an idealized, pristine wild Florida untamed by people. It is also less-known history that will enrich my next driving trip to the area, and maybe yours too!