The New Smyrna Mill in Central Florida (also known as the Cruger and DePeyster Sugar Mill) was built around 1830 and is situated on a 17 acre historical site. It was a major sugar and syrup processing location that burned to the ground during the Second Seminole War between the Seminole Indians and the United States.
The Sugar Mill Ruins evoke a time long ago when the Seminole Indians fought the settlers, ending the area’s molasses and sugar industries.
Above are the huge sugar kettles in which the crushed sugar cane was reduced to a thick syrup by slow heating.
The walls are built from coquina rock which is widely found in this area. Coquina rock is a sedimentary rock consisting of cockleshell and shellfish – basically beach sand. When first quarried, coquina is extremely soft. This softness makes it very easy to remove from the quarry and cut into shape. When the stone is first quarried it is much too soft to be used for building. In order to be used as a building material, the stone is left out to dry for approximately one to three years, which causes the stone to harden into a usable, but still comparatively soft form.
This image is of the Purgery Room, where the sugar was left to cure.
This is the west wall of the ruins. The whole ruins was lit by these very large arched windows. The coquina stone workmanship is beyond belief. The coquina rock is quite prevalent in this area as it is found everywhere and quarried fairly close to what ever was being built. These days coquina is used primarily as ornament in landscapes.
This is believed to be “the rocker arm” from the sawmill at the ruins. This would have had one end attached to the flywheel of a steam engine, a pivot point mount in middle and the other end attached to the blade. The system would have worked like a reciprocating saw.
To give you a better idea as to how this worked, this is the way that the historians believe the saw mill was constructed
The Ruins were placed on the National Registry of Historic Places on 08-12-1970.
Shooting and darkroom printing and toning information can be found here:-
Hope you enjoy this small peek into Florida’s young history.
Have a great weekend 🙂
Stay tuned for more images from New Smyrna Sugar Mill Ruins.