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Sugar Mill Ruins of New Smyrna

This historic ruin was once thought to have been a chapel built by Christopher Columbus.

In the late 19th century a famous travel-writer of the time named Bradford Torrey suggested that what we now call the Sugar Mill Ruins were not part of a sugar mill plantation, but were in fact the remains of an old chapel (perhaps constructed by Christopher Columbus). This legend persisted until 1950 when the examination of artifcats confirmed that the site was not a Spanish mission or chapel.

The truth behind this historic site is just as fascinating. The sugar mill was erected as part of the Cruger-dePeyster Plantation in the early 19th century. The structure stood until 1835 before being burned and destroyed by Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War. OnĀ August 12, 1970, the Sugar Mill Ruins were added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The 17-acre historic site is located just outside of New Smyrna Beach – roughly one hour from Orlando. The grounds not only feature the ruins of the coquina sugar mill but also a hiking trail through the lush wilderness that surrounds the ruins. There are informational signs explaining the site’s history as well as picnic tables and restroom facilities available. Admission is free and there is ample parking.

Check out more fascinating historical sights near Orlando here.