Historic Markers Across Florida

Dunlawton's Building Blocks

Marker ID:  
Location: 950 Old Sugar Mill Road, Port Orange, FL
County: Volusia
Coordinates: N 29° 8.476    W 081° 0.352
  29.14126666    -81.00586666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Dunlawton's Building Blocks
coquina up close

The ruins here include chimneys and other structures made of coquina, Spanish for "tiny shell." Quarried locally (and elsewhere in the Southeast), this native stone contains mollusk shell fragments and quartz sand, bound together by calcium carbonate. Centuries after the Spanish first used coquina in Florida, frontier Americans chose it for their sugar factory.

Visitors to this mill in the 1830s would have found tightly mortared blocks that looked white or pastel-colored. That's because coquina workers (likely free craftsmen and slaves) applied lime plaster to Dunlawton's structures. After Seminoles burned the Anderson plantation, this coating largely dropped off, leaving the blocks we see today.

By the 1850's, Dunlawton had a new owner and a new look. John Marshall acquired the lands in 1846, then enlarged his sugar works, adding limestone boulders (called bog rock) and slathering them with thicker mortar than the coquina masons had used. Cobbling together buildings and machines was a tradition here.

For your safety and Dunlawton's survival as a historic site, please stay off the ruins and avoid touching the coquina. Future visitors will appreciate your help, and so will Volusia County.

Erected by Volusia County and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.