The History of Port Orange, FL​

The History of Port Orange, FL

Early Beginnings

Port Orange, with a unique and rich history, begins its story with the Timucuan and Seminole Indians, and the New Smyrna Colony in 1768. This area, known for its wild and challenging environment, attracted explorers and settlers aiming to establish themselves.

The Plantation Era

In 1804, Patrick Dean received 995 acres from the Spanish Crown, creating the Dunlawton Plantation. Despite hardships, such as destruction by Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War in 1836, the Dunlawton Sugar Mill still stands as a testament to this era.

A New Community Emerges

After the Civil War, Dr. John Milton Hawks, an abolitionist, and other Union Army officers founded Port Orange. They brought 500 freed slaves to settle along the Halifax River. Although initially named Orange Port, the town was renamed Port Orange in 1867. The community faced economic challenges, leading to a significant decrease in population by 1869. However, the African-American heritage of the area, known as Freemanville, remains an essential part of Port Orange’s identity, with landmarks like the Mount Moriah Baptist Church.

Port Orange Today

Modern Port Orange, encompassing 29 square miles and home to over 56,067 residents, has transformed from its historical roots in citrus, lumber, boat building, oystering, ranching, and farming. Today, it is a vibrant city with gated communities and commercial development, still holding onto the historic remnants of its past.

For more details, visit the City of Port Orange official website.