Historic Markers Across Florida

From the Boardwalk

Marker ID:  
Location: 950 Old Sugar Mill Road, Port Orange, FL
County: Volusia
Coordinates: N 29° 8.475    W 081° 0.343
  29.14125    -81.00571666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


From the Boardwalk

Welcome to Dunlawton's boardwalk - a modern structure offering views of the former sugar factory while reducing foot traffic inside. (More on the nineteenth-century floorplan can be found in an interpretive panel near the ruins' south side.) Today's raised walk enters the sugar works through a passageway between two rooms:

To the right was the engine room. It enclosed a pair of steam boilers (one now gone); a horizontal steam engine; and a cane crusher, or mill, with engine-powered rollers and pan for catching juice. The coquina chimney created a draft for boiler fires.

To the left was a boiling room for processing cane juice. Its chimney provided a fire draft under two lines of kettles. After removing impurities at the start of the kettle trains, workers transferred the gradually thickening liquid from one kettle to another - then into wooden cooling troughs. The crystallized sugar was packed in barrels and drained in the purgery, or drying room.

What was it like at Dunlawton's sugar factory? Smoke-filled, busy, and loud. A pall hung over the site as smashed, dried cane stalks fueled the fires. Slaves fed new stalks into the crusher, hoping not to catch their hands. And the ground shook for hundreds of yards around as the giant machine rattled and banged. No wonder the plantation's owners lived near the Halifax River, away from the operation.

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