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Enterprise, Florida

Benson Springs
Unincorporated community
Brock House in Enterprise, Florida - Circa 1875
Brock House in Enterprise, Florida - Circa 1875
Location in Volusia County and the state of Florida
Location in Volusia County and the state of Florida
Country United States
State Florida
County Volusia
Elevation 20 ft (6 m)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code(s) 32725
Area code(s) 386
GNIS feature ID 282231[1]
All Saints Episcopal Church
Enterprise Evergreen Cemetery - Established in 1841
The Brock House in 1876

Enterprise is an unincorporated community in Volusia County, in the U.S. state of Florida, and its former county seat. Situated on the northern shore of Lake Monroe, it is flanked by the cities of DeBary and Deltona. Enterprise was once the head of navigation on the St. Johns River and at various times, the county seat for three counties: Mosquito, Orange, and Volusia.[2] In 2006 Volusia County government approved a historic overlay which designates Enterprise as an "area of special concern" as a historic village. This ensures that any development must follow strict guidelines and establishes a historic district within the community.[3]


  • History 1
    • Early 1.1
    • Nineteenth century 1.2
    • Recent 1.3
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4



In 1565, Georgia moved in to fill the void left by native Florida tribes.

Nineteenth century

Following the acquisition of Florida by the United States in 1821, the Seminoles had conflicts with settlers and troops throughout the Seminole Wars. In 1835, they burned Palatka, a major port on the St. Johns River, then the major artery into Central Florida. Consequently, "Fort Kingsbury," a stockade defense, was built in 1838 at Enterprise in the area of Thornby Park, across the lake from "Fort Mellon", built in 1836 at Mellonville (now Sanford).

To displace the Seminoles, in 1842 the Armed Occupation Act was passed, granting 160 acres (0.65 km2) to settlers who would clear, cultivate and hold 5 acres (20,000 m2) for 5 years. Over 200,000 acres (800 km²) south of Palatka were opened for development. One of more than 1,000 who applied was Cornelius Taylor from San Pablo (now Mayport), a former timber agent and first cousin to General Zachary Taylor. In 1841, he and about 20 others founded "Enterprise" at Fort Kingsbury, which had been abandoned after 6 weeks, and filed for homestead the next year.

Taylor built an inn atop the shell midden to attract visitors traveling by shallow-draft steamboat from Palatka, the furthest upstream ocean-going vessels could navigate. orange groves were planted, a gristmill established, together with a sawmill to cut Southern live oak, prized by the U.S. Navy for warships. In 1843, Enterprise became county seat of "Mosquito County." It was renamed "Orange County" in 1845, with the county seat moved to Mellonville. An epidemic believed to be smallpox claimed Taylor's oldest daughter and 9 slaves in 1842, and he left in 1847.

In 1851, Jacob Brock bought land a mile west of the original settlement, where he built a wharf and laid out streets and lots. A steamboat captain with "a notable reputation for the lavish and original nature of his profanity," he had transported to Enterprise many invalids seeking the climate and sulfur springs believed to be curative. In 1854, he completed The Brock House, a 2 12-story hotel with accommodations for more than 50. Enterprise became county seat of "Volusia County" that year, and Brock operated the first regular steamboat passenger service from Jacksonville to Palatka, expanding to Enterprise.

It was a 206-mile (332 km) trip aboard the Darlington, which departed Jacksonville at 8:00 AM on Saturday, timed to receive passengers discharged from ocean-going ships. It would arrive and spend Sunday in Palatka, from which it departed at 5:00 AM on Monday morning, docking at Enterprise that evening. Only by daylight did prudent captains navigate the narrow, crooked upper part of the St. Johns River. Crew members had to watch for snakes, slithering aboard out of Spanish moss in overhanging trees, and also for alligators, shot before they could tangle with the paddlewheel. Soon, an additional danger would imperil the waterway—the Civil War.

The Yankees. The marines were reportly glad to get away as soon as their boats were supplied. They took with them 2 black males and 3 black females from their stop in Enterprise, and 2,000 pounds of sugar from a refinery, which was then demolished, about 2 miles (3.2 km) farther downriver on the east side of DeBary Creek.

Following the rebellion, the state experienced a boom in tourism, and Enterprise became a fashionable resort and sportsmen's paradise for fish and game. "No dreamland on earth," wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1873, "can be more unearthly in its beauty and glory than the St. Johns in April." Sold and renovated in 1876, The Brock House was then the most famous hotel in the state, with guests including President Ulysses S. Grant, President Grover Cleveland, General William Sherman, Jay Gould and members of the Vanderbilt family. Others came from England, France and South America. In 1877, Enterprise was incorporated.

Another notable visitor was (Samuel) Frederick deBary of New York City, a wealthy importer of champagne and other French wines. After staying at The Brock House in 1870, he would buy 400 acres (1.6 km2) to the west in 1871 and build "DeBary Hall," a mansion and hunting lodge. Acquiring much more land, deBary planted orange groves and pecan trees. In 1876, he established the DeBary Merchants Line, a steamship company contracted to carry mail from Jacksonville to Enterprise. He contributed money to build the Gothic Revival All Saints Episcopal Church, completed in 1883. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The Atlantic Coast, St. Johns & Indian River Railroad in 1885 linked Titusville with Enterprise, from which ran a spur line to the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railway at Enterprise Junction in present-day DeBary. But in 1888, Florida experienced an epidemic of yellow fever. The population of Enterprise dwindled, and DeLand became county seat. The freezes of 1894 and 1895 wiped out the citrus industry in much of the state, including the deBary groves. Enterprise voted to de-incorporate in 1895. Its distinctive midden, once featured on the city seal, would disappear, the shells used to pave streets and sidewalks.


In 1924, the Florida East Coast Railway branch was abandoned in the 1950s, its track removed in the 1970s. Dismantling the George E. Turner Power Plant began in 2007, and was completed in February 2008. Today, Enterprise struggles not to be absorbed by Deltona.

See also


  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  2. ^ Pleasant Gold, History of Volusia County, Fl, p. 72–74
  3. ^ "Enterprise Historic Overlay Plan", Volusia County Growth Management Department, DeLand, Florida, 2006
  4. ^ Barbara Purdy, "Excavations in Water-saturated Deposits", The Florida Anthropologist V. 47, number 4, p. 326
  5. ^ Jerald Milanich, Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe, p.177–180, 228–231

External links

  • Enterprise Historical Trail
  • Enterprise Preservation Society
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