Interlachen Historical Trail
1....Print this file.
2....At its end, click on "rules" to see a copy of the trail rules, print it, and then click where indicated at the end of the 3-page rules and patch order form to get back to the list of Florida trails.
3....If you want a hand-drawn map showing the locations of all of the sites, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Steve Rajtar, 1614 Bimini Dr., Orlando, FL 32806.
4....Hike the trail and order whatever patches you like (optional).
WARNING - This trail may pass through one or more neighborhoods which, although full of history, may now be unsafe for individuals on foot, or which may make you feel unsafe there. Hikers have been approached by individuals who have asked for handouts or who have inquired (not always in a friendly manner) why the hikers are in their neighborhood. Drugs and other inappropriate items have been found by hikers in some neighborhoods. It is suggested that you drive the hike routes first to see if you will feel comfortable walking them and, if you don't think it's a good place for you walk, you might want to consider (1) traveling with a large group, (2) doing the route on bicycles, or (3) choosing another hike route. The degree of comfort will vary with the individual and with the time and season of the hike, so you need to make the determination using your best judgment. If you hike the trail, you accept all risks involved.
This house was built for Mr. Freeborn, the cashier of the first Interlachen Bank, which existed in Interlachen from 1890 until 1896. In 1905, he sold the home to Joseph W. Stock, a teacher and, for many years, the principal of the local school. Mr. Stock left the home to his son, Joseph C. Stock, who also was a teacher as well as a farmer. He raised his four sons there with his wife, Priscilla. The home left the Stock family for the first time in 95 years upon the death of Mrs. and then Mr. Stock. It is now the home of Frances Whittier who has restored it to its former beauty.
The back yard originally extended north to Lake Chipco, until SR 20 was built. Mrs. Whittier is trying to keep the old fashioned character of the homes along SR 20 by opposing the plans to widen SR 20 through Interlachen to four lanes of traffic.
Lawyer Hugo Friedlander had this home built in the mid-1800s with unusual corner windows. After the local economy failed in the 1890s because of a freeze which killed most of the local citrus groves, he gave the house to his housekeeper, a black woman named Alice Mason, and then he left Interlachen. The Masons lived in a house nearby at the time, which was later torn down for the construction of SR 20.
When they lost that home, they moved into the one which Mr. Friedlander had left them. Later, the home was used as rental property and after many years it stood abandoned was was allowed to deteriorate. In 1985, another lawyer named Timothy Keyser bought it and moved it 100 feet or so from its original location just off Grand Ave. He had it restored and it now serves as a law office for Mr. Keyser and his partner. When the front door needed replacement, he had a Gainesville stained glass artist produce a replica of the original.
This community is named after William H. Mann, who arrived here from Illinois in October of 1883.
This cemetery was established in 1884, with the earliest gravestone being that of Mollie Abraham Hester (1884). Other early burials include George W. Wyman (1897), William H. Munger (1885), Taylor W. Abrahams (1891) and Joseph M. Miller (1897).
This church first organized in 1912.
This church organized in 1926. Is sanctuary underwent a major remodeling in 2004.
This church organized in 1910, and its new sanctuary opened on July 9, 1931, while Rev. J.F. Finkley was its pastor.
This is believed to be the oldest wooden frame schoolhouse still in continuous use as a school in Florida. (An older wooden school in St. Augustine is now a shop.) It was built in 1890 and its style is Classical Revival. Oscar F. Balston designed the school, which was planned to be an academy with dormitories to attract winter visitors. That plan was not carried through.
The land on which it sits was purchased from George W. Hastings, who owned the eastern third of Interlachen. Mr. Conover owned the western third and the Railroad Company owned the land in between. Mr. Hastings was sure that the city of Interlachen would grow and flourish as long as there were churches and a school so he saw to it that they were established.
In 1936-37, the Public Works Administration built a separate two-room building called the Annie C. Jones School, since Ms. Jones did the most fundraising for its construction. It was a modern classroom building with blackboards on one side of the rooms and windows on the other. Classes moved to that building, and this one was converted to a cafeteria. The Jones School burned down in 1941, and this building was then converted back to classrooms, and another classroom was added to it.
The county built a concrete block school in 1955 with four classrooms, and the old school building was once again converted to a cafeteria. Later, the old building was converted back to three classrooms for elementary school students. When a new elementary school was built in Interlachen, the old school was incorporated into the high school campus and it is still in use as a classroom at Interlachen High School.
The school was restored to its original style thanks to a grant, which the late Sid Martin helped to obtain.
The first library in Interlachen was started in the Congregational Church in about 1893, and was used mostly by members of the Sunday School. Later, it was taken over by the church's Sunshine Society and moved to the Coburn house. It was then moved to Ruth Jones' house and then, shortly before World War II, it was moved to Interlachen Hall. The Public Works Administration paid Sue Bates to be the librarian there, until the P.W.A. was dissolved.
The library then sat idle for years and the books were given to the Interlachen School, and then to the Melrose School Library. It opened once again in Interlachen Hall in the early 1960s and remained there until this new library opened.
The present library site was donated to the town by the following members of the Simpson family: Howard, Jean M., Michael and Ola Jean. The Friends of the Library organization worked long and hard to bring a "real" library to Interlachen and are very pleased with this fine, new state of the art library.
This church was founded in the mid-1940s when local Baptists began holding services in Interlachen Hall. In 1948, a building was bought from Camp Blanding and moved here, to land donated by Roy Martin. At one point, part of the membership left and formed the Faith Baptist Chapel. As the church grew, more buildings were added. The congregation currently has the largest sanctuary in town and many programs and large funerals are held here.
This body of water was originally called Blue Pond, and that was the name given to this nearby settlement in its earliest days. The town then was called Wilcox, after a man who built the first log cabin near here in about 1862.
The residents of the area met on December 19, 1887, and decided on the name of Interlachen, a Scottish word meaning "between the lakes". They had a metal seal made which Elihu Vedder, an artist from Rome, Italy, had designed. Incorporation took place on January 24, 1888.
Charles A. and Elizabeth Brush arrived in Interlachen in 1882. Mr. Brush served as the railroad agent. By 1883, he and his wife had opened a two-story general store, which included the post office. They operated the store until 1931.
The building was very impressive. Not only was it large, it also had some of the earliest plate glass windows, which were just being developed at the time. They were so modern and unusual that an article about them was printed in a Jacksonville newspaper.
Mrs. Brush served as postmaster for 40 years, and was succeeded by her daughter-in-law, Martha Brush, who served for another 25 years. The post office was moved to another location in 1951. The building has been the home of several businesses, including the doll and art studio called High Jinx, a restaurant and a consignment shop. It is now the home and business of a carpenter and it is hoped that it will soon be restored to its former glory.
At this site was a store owned by the Gillette family, which sold fresh fruits and vegetables along with building supplies and even coffins. It changed ownership several times. At one time it was an antique store called The Olde Buckeye Store. It also housed a ceramic shop as well as its last tenant, the Fleet Reserve Association.
The old building burned down in 1982. Arson was suspected. The new building erected on that spot is still the home of Fleet Reserve Association Branch 183. There is a monument in front of the building to honor Bleeker Lattin who lost his life on the ill-fated ship, the USS Arizona, when it was sunk at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.
Victor Motes had a meat market, grocery and dry goods store at this location, which he ran until he died in 1942. For a short time, the medical office of Dr. Hazen occupied the building, but for the most part it remained vacant until it was purchased by Roy Martin, who had it torn down.
Members of the local volunteer fire department built the Dickerman Building on this site in the early 1960s. It was so named because Mr. Dickerman purchased the land and donated it to the Volunteer Fire Department. It was originally meant to be a recreation center for the area youth but the town offices, which were located in Interlachen Hall, which was in need of repair, were soon moved here. There was a nice kitchen and meeting hall in the Dickerman Building along with the town offices and the office of the police department.
For many years, the Dickerman Building bustled with activity as organizations met and had speakers, cakewalks, bingo games and many other public gatherings. The town council voted to not allow anything but town business to take place at Dickerman Hall and the kitchen was removed some time ago. The back room is still used for Town Meetings and a polling place for Precincts 48, 49 and 50. The police department was moved away when the town built the police their own building on SR 20.
Interlachen was founded in the late 1870s when Dr. O.S. Whipp of Everett, Pennsylvania, built a log cabin on Lake Chipco, then known as Blue Pond. Soon the post office and the Florida Southern Railway Company ticket and telegraph office were located in Blue Pond (which later was named Interlachen). The first building the town bought was a store that had gone out of business. It was bought in 1888 and was used as the town hall.
The building burned down in 1891 because the town began impounding animals, which had been allowed to roam free. Interlachen had turned into a very prosperous citrus raising area and the animals were trampling the young trees and eating peoples' gardens. A wooden fence was built adjacent to the town hall, and anyone whose animals were rounded up had to pay to get them back. This made the owners very unhappy.
The building burned to the ground one night in 1891, and it was rumored that someone had tried to burn the fence and the fire got out of control.
Interlachen Hall was constructed in 1892 and served Interlachen for many years as its town hall. After the town offices moved to the Dickerman Building, the Interlachen Library was located here. By 1993, the library had been relocated to a new structure and Interlachen Hall became the home of the Historical Society of Interlachen, Inc. The Historical Society has been helping the town in its efforts to have the Hall restored with a museum downstairs and an auditorium upstairs. The Hall has recently been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, thanks to years of work by the Historical Society.
This park is dedicated to an Interlachen resident, Robert H. Jenkins, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam. There is a large monument describing Jenkins' bravery in battle, located between the Fleet Reserve Association and Interlachen Hall.
The park was formerly the right of way of the Florida Southern Railway, which later became the Atlantic Coast Line. Passenger service was discontinued by 1957, with the freight trains continuing to run to transport sand. By 1959, the six daily trains were reduced to two, and by the 1990s the tracks were removed. A caboose was located in the park in memory of the town being started because of the railroad.
The Methodists built their own sanctuary in about 1889. In the early years, the Congregational Church helped get them started by not holding services one Sunday per month, and by sending over teachers for the Methodists' Sunday school classes. Separate Sunday school rooms were added in about 1930, a new parsonage in 1950, and a recreation building in 1956.
The old parsonage, known as the Essie Leonard Parsonage, was converted to an educational building after a new home for the minister was built at another location in 1979. The church now has a large, two-story, Sunday school building and a home that was donated next door is used as a thrift shop.
In 1904, Margaret King sold this land to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph DeTilla. They died in 1920 and 1921, and are buried in Pineview Cemetery. The house was inherited by their daughter, Alma, who had married Edward Walker in 1920.
Alma Walker died in 1977 and the house was purchased by Timothy Keyser. He sold it to contractor Mark Keohane, who moved the house to the back of the property, added two rooms, and restored it to close to its original appearance. He and his wife, Trish, lived in this as their first house.
The first sanctuary of this church was built in 1895 and burned down in about 1942. The congregation used the old German Baptist (Dunkard) Church in Keuka until the present structure was built in about 1950.
This congregation began conducting masses in 1958 in the concrete block garage of Mr. and Mrs. John Travers on Washington St. The garage was converted into a chapel, and then the congregation moved to a chapel in the home of John Sabini. This church was built in about 1964 and a rectory was added five years later.
A community located in this direction was named after Kueka Lake, New York, and was developed in about 1882 by the Keuka Land Company just after the Southern Railway was built.
Many of the settlers were members of the Church of the Brethren, a German Baptist denomination which dates from 1708. They advocated temperance and opposed war, supporting the simple life and plain dress. Most moved here from Illinois in 1882. Their church was deserted by 1938.
Mr. Krill built this large, beautiful home. He and his family lived here until he lost his fortune in the freezes of 1895-96. He sold the house to Gov. David Long, the law partner of Charles Francis who lived on the next street.
Ben and Sadie Richards bought the house after World War I. After Ben died, Sadie rented out the apartment at the end and she continued to live in the house until she was 95. In 1979, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Larsen from New Jersey purchased the lovely, large home where they live with their family.
In the 1880s, Charles Francis, Jr. owned a large orange grove here, called the Francis-Long 100 Acre Grove. Francis also maintained a large garden, summer home and guesthouses on Lake Lagonda. Mr. Francis raised birds which won awards as far away as the Florida State Fair in Tampa. Some of his exotic birds were kept on display in an aviary adjacent to the railroad depot. Mr. Francis' house was later the home of Mrs. Anna Nicosia.
George W. Hastings could be called "The Father of Interlachen", as it was he who envisioned the town as a thriving community. He started a rose nursery between Lake Lagonda and Lake Chipco on Prospect Ave. in the 1880s. He also built the three-story Lake View House Hotel, the first and the smallest of three hotels in Interlachen. It could accommodate 50 guests. After the other hotels burned down, the Lake View House was joined by private homes, which took in boarders to accommodate people who visited Interlachen.
In 1890, Hastings opened a seed store in conjunction with his nursery, in front of the hotel. The seed building burned down in 1910 after Mr. Hastings moved his Hastings Seed Company to Atlanta where it is still in business.
Fredric Holford bought this land from the state, and in 1888 sold it to his son, George. A home was built during the ownership by the Holfords and through the years has been the home of several prominent citizens, including mayor Ernest J. Buteux, mayor Howard J. Lattin, and librarian Sue Bates, who took in boarders.
The house was modernized over the years. Lynn and Mary Lou Dawson, who have restored it to its original appearance, bought the house in 1979.
Prof. Woodbury visited this town in 1883 to consider starting a church. A committee met at the George W. Hastings home on February 6 of the following year to plan the construction of a church building.
That year, the Synodical Missionary of the Presbyterian Church visited and talked of building a Presbyterian church. At the time, they had received 26 pledges toward the construction of a Congregational church, and Hastings offered two lots for the sanctuary and parsonage.
This church erected in 1884-85 is the oldest in Interlachen. In the early days, it welcomed people from any recognized Protestant denomination, who often later formed their own congregations and built their own churches.
This cottage was built by Mr. Langerwish himself for his family. It was next owned by John Pelo and then occupied by three sisters. One of the ladies, Mrs. Little, bought the house. The Good Neighbors Circle of the Congregational Church was started in this house.
The house stood vacant for a long time after a previous owner died, until it was purchased and lovingly resoted by Mary Brant. When Mary left the area, the house fell on hard times and has recently been bought and is being remodeled by Dave and Joanne Whittaker.
Black Florida, by Kevin M. McCarthy (Hippocrene Books 1995)
Centennial Program, (Interlachen Historical Society 1988)
Guide to Florida's Historic Architecture, (University of Florida Press 1989)
The River Flows North: A History of Putnam County, by Brian E. Michaels (Taylor Publishing Company 1986)
Click here for a copy of the trail rules.