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Port Orange in Volusia County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Dunlawton Sugar Factory

Great Expectations:

 
 
Great Expectations: The Dunlawton Sugar Factory Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, August 13, 2010
1. Great Expectations: The Dunlawton Sugar Factory Marker
Inscription. These are the ruins of people's dreams, left by successive landowners, free workers, and slaves. Hoping to make sugar in the nineteenth century, they faced isolation, hurricanes, and dispossessed Seminoles. Some lost money in their ventures, and others lost more.

A blending of family names - Dunn and Lawton - gave this spot its familiar label in the 1830s. Actually, the plantation's story began earlier, in 1804, when an immigrant from the Bahamas received a 995-acre land grant on the west side of the Halifax River. Patrick Dean produced cotton and sugar, but the War of 1812 disrupted his operations and he died violently in 1818, possibly at the hands of an Indian.

The ruins we see today are associated with later landowners: the Andersons in the 1830s and the Marshalls in the next decades. Sarah P. Anderson and her sons (who moved from the Tomoka River country) acquired the plantation in 1832, adding coquina works, machinery, and outbuildings. Seminole raiders soon sent that investment up in smoke.

Dunlawton's next hopeful planter arrived in the 1840s along with a skeptical wife and her energetic brother. South Carolinian John J. Marshall expanded the factory, bought more equipment, and started making sugar, with mixed success.

A stunning tragedy ended this family venture, but Marshall's
Marker close-up: Dunlawton photo from 1885 image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 31, 2011
2. Marker close-up: Dunlawton photo from 1885
own wife had never harbored illusions about the Florida frontier. When her brother's cane crop failed in 1851, Maria Hawes Marshall announced that things were turning out "like all the rest of his great expectations." Soon the Marshalls had gone and the old sugar house was evolving into a different kind of fantasy site.

[ Photo ]
The Dunlawton factory after its sugar-making days. Built to enclose a cane crusher, juice-cooking kettles, and a sugar-drying room, this structure stood until the end of the nineteenth century. When the wooden features collapsed, machinery and stone ruins remained.
Photo (dated 1885) courtesy of the Halifax Historical Museum, Daytona Beach.

[ Photo ]
Exploring the ruins, about 1900. Dunlawton's life as a sugar plantation was much shorter than its time as a community gathering point and a Florida curiosity.
Photo courtesy of the Port Orange Historical Trust/Harold and Priscilla Cardwell.

Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.
 
Erected by Volusia County and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.
 
Location.
Marker close-up: Dunlawton photo from around 1900 image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 31, 2011
3. Marker close-up: Dunlawton photo from around 1900
Visitors pose for a photo amidst the machinery.
29° 8.47′ N, 81° 0.351′ W. Marker is in Port Orange, Florida, in Volusia County. Marker is on Old Sugar Mill Road east of Herbert Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. The marker is on the grounds of the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens. Marker is at or near this postal address: 950 Old Sugar Mill Road, Port Orange FL 32129, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sugar Making (here, next to this marker); Dunlawton's Building Blocks (a few steps from this marker); The Most Dangerous Chieftain (a few steps from this marker); From the Boardwalk (a few steps from this marker); Spanish Mills and Bongoland (a few steps from this marker); Telling Dunlawton's Stories (a few steps from this marker); Living on the Edge (a few steps from this marker); The Roof (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Port Orange.
 
More about this marker. The marker features diagrams of the following:
sugar canes
mill machinery
shipping barrels

The marker also features the logos of Volusia County and the Florida Heritage program.
 
Regarding The Dunlawton Sugar Factory. As noted by the marker, the name of Dunlawton originated from merging "Dunn" and "Lawton". "Dunn" was
Great Expectations: The Dunlawton Sugar Factory Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, August 13, 2010
4. Great Expectations: The Dunlawton Sugar Factory Marker
Mill ruins appear in the background.
Sarah Anderson's maiden name, while "Lawton" was the name of the family from whom the Andersons bought the plantation. Sarah Anderson came from the Tomoka Plantation (in north Volusia County), which she inherited from her mother. After her husband died, she and her sons sold the Tomoka property and bought the old Patrick Dean plantation from Charles and Joseph Lawton.

The site was listed with the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 under the name Dunlawton Plantation--Sugar Mill Ruins (# 73000606).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the story of the Dunlawton Plantation and Sugar Mill Ruins, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Categories. AgricultureIndustry & CommerceSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian
 
The Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, August 13, 2010
5. The Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins
The roof was added in recent years to shelter the ruins, and its shape resembles that of the structure's original roof.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 639 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.   2, 3. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.   4, 5. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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