“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sanford in Seminole County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)


Bookertown Marker Side 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, March 11, 2014
1. Bookertown Marker Side 1
Side 1

The first African-Americans arrived in this area in 1885 as laborers for two railroads, the Orange Belt Railway and the Jacksonville, Tampa, and Key West Railroad. Many of these workers helped construct the J. T. & K. W. Railroad bridge over the St. Johns River making continuous rail travel possible between Tampa and Jacksonville.

In the 1890s African-American farm and turpentine workers settled along the Orange Belt Railroad tracks just west of Monroe Station and north of present day Bookertown. The area’s first black school was opened in 1898 by David Henry Clay Rabun for 18 children of farm workers.

In 1906, Michael Mackenzie Smith bought a large tract of pine woods which included the land that became Bookertown. Smith surveyed part of this property into lots which he sold to black farm workers. By 1910 six houses were owned

Side 2
by African-Americans in what was known as “Monroe’s Colored Section”. In 1925, Reverend Henry Manning established the settlements first church nearby on Elder Road.

In 1926, The Sanford Development Company bought a large part of M. M. Smiths’s land around

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the Colored Section and surveyed it into parcels and platted streets for the purpose of establishing a place for African-Americans. In the same year, the county school board build the community’s first official school. In recent years this building has served as the community center. The streets were named in 1926 for distinguished personalities in African-American history.

The community derives its name from the famed Reformer and educator Booker Taliaferro Washington. However, since so many other places were named “Washington” the community was named “Bookertown”.
Erected by Seminole County Historical Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1885.
Location. 28° 49.565′ N, 81° 20.01′ W. Marker is in Sanford, Florida, in Seminole County. Marker is at the intersection of Moton Avenue and Douglas Street, on the right when traveling south on Moton Avenue. Marker is located in Bookertown Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sanford FL 32771, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lake Monroe Bridge (approx. 0.9 miles away); Woodland Park (approx. 1.1 miles away); Martin Luther King Jr. (approx. 2.3 miles away); Upsala Swedish Community

Bookertown Marker Side 2 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, March 11, 2014
2. Bookertown Marker Side 2
(approx. 2.4 miles away); Presbyterian Church of Upsala (approx. 2.9 miles away); POW / MIA’s Memorial (approx. 3.2 miles away); Korean War Veterans Memorial (approx. 3.2 miles away); F-15 Aircraft (approx. 3.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sanford.
Bookertown Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, March 11, 2014
3. Bookertown Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on January 27, 2017. It was originally submitted on January 27, 2017, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 845 times since then and 267 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 27, 2017, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 7, 2023