Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins in Port Orange, Florida.

Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins Virtual Tour

Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins of Port Orange, Florida.

Dunlawton Sugar Mill Plantation’s history began before Florida became a state in 1845.  Originally, Florida was divided and  sold into large land grants and estates from Spain. The mill and gardens are located on a 12 acre portion of a 995 acre land grant awarded to Patrick Dean on August 31st 1804. Dean grew sugar cane, cotton, and rice, and possibly indigo. In 1818, he was reportedly killed by a renegade Indian or slave.  The plantation eventually passed into the hands of John B. Bunch McGrady as an inheritance.  He was an officer in the British Navy and had no interest in farming so he sold the land to Charles and Joseph Lawton for $3,000 dollars.


View the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins in Google Maps.

Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins in Port Orange, Florida.

Dunlawton Sugar Mill Historical Site.

Sarah Petty Anderson (Dunn) inherited the 450 acre Tomoka Plantation (just north of Ormond) from her father. After her husband died in 1830, she and her sons sold the Tomoka property and used the proceeds to buy the Dean Plantation.  They filed a fictitious name for the purchase combining her maiden name Dunn with the name Lawton creating the name Dunlawton Plantation.  The price was $4,500, and was finalized on May 3rd, 1832. They produced sugar and molasses until December 1835, when the Second Seminole Indian War began.

During the War, 1835-1842, the mill was burned down.  The Anderson family received no money after the war to help rebuild the mill so it was abandoned until John Marshall bought it on September 18, 1846.  John Marshall rebuilt the plantation and it was again productive from 1849 until 1853.  Several different managers failed to run it productively and it eventually returned to the Marshall family.  It was burnt down again in 1856 during the Third Seminole Indian War.  In 1862 it was a camp headquarters for the St. John Rangers during the Civil War. Throughout the war, the kettles were used for the production of salt for food preservation and ammunition. The property was finally sold to William Dougherty in 1871. Between 1871 until 1904 the property was divided and sold off in smaller lots.

The ruins, added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on August 28th 1973 are now part of the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens. The botanical garden includes, large concrete sculptures of dinosaurs and a giant ground sloth, a gazebo, and plantings of grasses, flowers, bushes and native plants under a canopy of oak trees. It is also home to the Confederate Oak, which was named after a legend that Confederate soldiers would frequently sleep under it.

360-degree panoramic of the Confederate Oak at the Gardens

360-degree panoramic if the Giant Sloth Statue

360-degree panoramic of the Triceratops Statue

360-degree panoramic of the Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Statues

For more information about the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens visit their official website.

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