The Fellsmere Tribune announced “the close of the greatest and most complete drainage proposition in Florida.” The Fellsmere Farms Company had begun its massive land development project that planned to drain 118,000 acres of land at the headwaters of the St. Johns...


Dredging projects began to deepen the channel of the river to enable deeper draft ships to reach the port of Jacksonville. These dredging projects led to Jacksonville becoming one of the major ports on the East Coast and the establishment of the city-owned Port of...

Late 1800’s

Logging was a major economic activity along the St. Johns River. The Wilson Cypress Company in Palatka became one of the largest cypress mills in the world producing 80,000 feet of lumber and 60,000 shingles daily.

1894 –1895

The “Great Freezes” destroyed much of the citrus industry in north Florida and a major source of cargo shipped by steamboats to Northern destinations. This ended an era that established the St. Johns River Valley as Florida’s first citrus empire.


Henry Flagler completed construction of the first railroad bridge across the St. Johns, shifting commerce and tourism away from the river.


The famous composer, Frederick Delius, composed Florida Suite inspired by the St. Johns River and his experiences living on an orange plantation (Solano Grove). The second movement of the Suite is titled “By the River.”


Seven steamboat lines operated out of Palatka, rivaling Jacksonville as one of the major port cities along the St. Johns River. Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant took farewell voyages on steamboats down the St. Johns, and President Grover Cleveland enjoyed a...


Mrs. W.F. Fuller obtained samples of the South American plant, the water hyacinth, at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans and planted them along the shore of her home on the St. Johns River. Within a decade, the water hyacinths...


Stowe published “Palmetto Leaves” that included stories about the river, like the one about her picnic on Julington Creek. One of the most famous schooners in American history, America, was purchased by a Brit, re-named the Memphis, and served as a Confederate...


Harriet Beecher Stowe and her husband establish a winter home in Mandarin along the St. Johns River.
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