New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Cruger-dePester Sugar Mill
Over the years, this one-time sugar factory became a source of local building materials and myths. Salvagers carried off coquina blocks, and the massive machinery went to the Dunlawton mill, in present-day Port Orange.
Even so, enough remained to keep the New Smyrna landmark romantic and popular with visitors. In 1894, the Atlantic Monthly magazine published a story about the ruins by a well-known travel writer. Bradford Torrey liked the mill’s dreamy setting and wildlife, he also noted a curious claim—that the structure had been built as a chapel, perhaps “by Columbus himself.”
Torrey could laugh, but the Spanish story took root. Early postcards labeled this site as a “mission” or “convent,” and the ruins’ owner—Mrs. Jeannette Connor—promoted the Franciscan fathers story.
By 1941, journalist Charles H. Coe had seen enough. In a scathing critique of the "so-called Spanish mission," Coe rejected the origin and argued for a nineteenth-century sugar factory. Modern students of the ruins agree, but also credit Mrs. Connor with helping to
Erected by Volusia County.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Parks & Recreational Areas • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 29° 0.539′ N, 80° 56.446′ W. Marker is in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in Volusia County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Old Mission Road and Mission Drive, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 600 Mission Drive, New Smyrna Beach FL 32168, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sugar Making (here, next to this marker); A Stray Relic (here, next to this marker); Risky Business: (a few steps from this marker); Native Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Low-Tech Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Turnbull Grand Canal (approx. ¾ mile away); Old St. Rita Colored Mission Church (approx. 1.2 miles away); Site of Old Stone Wharf (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Smyrna Beach.
Also see . . . Sugar Mill Ruins. (Submitted on April 27, 2020.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 26, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 233 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 26, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.