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Enterprise, Florida – Central Florida’s Birthplace

by Kevin Finn

Kevin Finn

Kevin_Enterprise

Kevin Finn has called West Volusia home for more than 30 years. He has worked extensively to enhance the quality of life here. Kevin is a member of Friends of Thornby, The Enterprise Preservation Society Board of Directors, and is an avid history buff. He has collected many old and rare artifacts pertaining to the history of West Volusia County.

For more information about Enterprise preservation and history, visit the Enterprise Preservation Society.

Enterprise, located on the North shore of Lake Monroe, enjoys a wonderful, rich history.  Anthropologists say that Native Americans thrived in this area 6000 years ago.  Ancient shell middens located here have been studied and show everything from human bones to snail shells. The people hunted and fished here for centuries before modern man made this place home.

In the late 1830’s Fort Kingsbury was built in the area of Thornby Park as an outpost during the Second Seminole Indian War. Later, in 1841, Cornelius Taylor brought a group of about 50 people with him and founded Enterprise. They planted citrus trees and harvested Live Oaks for lumber to be shipped North on the St. Johns River.

In the 1850’s Steamboat Captain Jacob Brock built a 100 room hotel on what is now the Florida Methodist Children’s Home property. Heading out from the docks in Jacksonville, he ferried travelers from all parts of the world to The Brock House to enjoy the wonders of the new frontier of Florida.

Waters teeming with fish; trees bursting with fresh fruit; skies swarming with exotic birds; and the woods crawling with critters from deer to black bears made this a virtual paradise for the well-healed travelers. Green Springs, a large mineral spring, was thought to hold healing properties, so the sick and infirm came to soak in the Jade Green waters. Tourists to this day are amazed at the beauty of the spring.

As time passed, Enterprise became the center of activity for Central Florida. It became the Seat of Mosquito County, and for a brief time,  to Orange County and finally Volusia County. The county seat was later moved to DeLand.

Both Fredrick DeBary and Henry DeLand took steamboats to Enterprise before their towns were founded. People like the Vanderbilts, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and dignitaries from around the globe enjoyed vacationing here.

All Saints Episcopal Church was completed in 1883 and still stands to this day.

The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home has been operating here for over 100 years serving the needs of less fortunate children from across Florida.

With the development boom in the area, Enterprise faced extinction from the fast-paced growth of nearby cities. A small group of dedicated residents decided it was time to protect Enterprise and its rich history. The Enterprise Preservation Society was formed in 2000. Years of hard work and dedication have paid off with new laws intact to protect the historic and rural character that has been enjoyed here for over 170 years.

The Enterprise Heritage Center, a beautiful two-story schoolhouse built in 1936 is nearing completion and will be opened as a museum and cultural learning center for all to enjoy in 2014.

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