Sugar Mill Chapter, NSDAR, organized in February 1989, became the namesake of “Sugar Mill Gardens”, also located in Port Orange, Florida. The history of the area dates back to 1804 when Patrick Dean of the Bahamas received a grant of 995 acres from the Spanish Government, wherein a plantation and sugar mill was established. The Sugar Mill was used for sugar processing until it was partially destroyed in the Second Seminole War of 1836. It was rebuilt in the late 1840’s and was later used to process salt from seawater for the Confederate Army during the War between the States. The Sugar Mill lay almost forgotten until 1936, when the owners donated their remaining 12-acre tract to Volusia County. After World War II, it became know as “Sugar Mill Gardens”, a place of quiet beauty with enormous live oaks. When placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1973, only the coquina ruins of the ‘factory’ and some rusted machinery remained.
The property was donated in 1963 to the County of Volusia by J. Saxton Lloyd and operated since April 1988 by the non-profit Botanical Gardens of Volusia, Inc. It is operated and maintained by a group of very dedicated volunteers.
Throughout the property, historical markers and plant identifiers give the casual visitor a taste of its history. A recent addition is the “Pioneer Garden” which recreates a typical 19th century garden using native Florida herbs and medicinal plants that were available to settlers of that era. The Sugar Mill Gardens provide an inexpensive, wholesome family environment where you can stroll through trails, view the reconstructed sugar mill and statues of dinosaurs, watch butterflies, and learn more about flora and fauna native to Florida. The Gardens are open all year round to residents and visitors.
A tour of Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens can be seen at:
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