Historic Markers Across Florida

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins

Marker ID:  
Location: At Old Homosassa on S. R 490, west of U. S. 19.
County: Citrus
Waymark: None


Yulee-Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site was once part of a thriving sugar plantation owned by one of Florida´s most outstanding historic figures, David Levy Yulee.

Yulee was born in 1810 on the island of St. Thomas in the British West Indies. The family had lived in Morocco, but David´s father Moses Levy came to St. Thomas in 1800. As a merchant and contractor for Spanish forces in Cuba, Moses prospered. He acquired an enduring interest in Florida, where he bought 36,000 acres of land in 1817.

Moses sent David to Norfolk, Virginia in 1819 for education in a private school. In 1827, David returned to Florida to work on his father´s plantation at Micanopy. Several years later he undertook the study of law in St. Augustine.

Interested in public affairs, David won election to the Territorial Legislative Council in 1837 and the next year was a delegate to the territorial constitutional convention. Elected to Congress in 1841, he became a U.S. Senator when Florida became a state.

Yulee had interests in agriculture and was a pioneer builder of Florida railroads. His Atlantic and Gulf Railroad, completed in 1860, connected Fernandina on the Atlantic to Cedar Keys on the Gulf Coast. A man of peace, Yulee made the hard choice in 1861 of serving in the newly created Congress of the Confederacy. After the war he resumed his interests in railroads until his death in New York in 1886.

His 5,100 - acre sugar plantation on the Homosassa River became productive about 1851. Manufacturing sugar cane products was an exacting, expensive matter. It required a boiler, steam engine, horizontal mill, and kettles. Yulee´s machinery was brought by sailing vessel from New York, then moved overland to be assembled at this site.

The mill operated for thirteen years, serving during the Civil War as a supplier of sugar products for Southern troops. In May, 1864, a Union naval force captured ammunition and supplies at the plantation and set a fire which destroyed Yulee´s home. The mill, located inland, escaped damage.

Today, the sugar mill of native limestone has been partially restored. It consists of a large chimney about nine feet square with an extending structure about forty feet long that housed the boiler. Beside the mill are parts of the grinding machinery. Interpretive signs guide visitors through the complex.

The site was presented to the Citrus County Federation of Women´s Clubs in 1923 by Claude Root and was deeded to the State of Florida in 1953.

Florida Department of Natural Resources