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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Ocala in Marion County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

History of Santos Community

 
 
History of Santos Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, February 11, 2021
1. History of Santos Community Marker
Inscription.  In 1882, John A. Cole and his family established the community of Santos and named it for the town in Brazil where he and his family lived following the American Civil War. When Cole and his family returned to the United States, they brought along two Brazilian slaves, Benedict and Sirea, who adopted the family name. The Coles soon engaged in farming and the harvesting of timber on the land they had purchased. John A. Cole’s son-in-law, J.M. Liddell went on to operate a general store and post office in the community. Known descendants of Benedict and Sirea Cole were Rudolph and Lonnie Harshey, Jr.

As early as 1889, Santos was known as a flag station along the tracks of the Florida Transit and Peninsular Railway. A number of businesses served a population of over 100 people before the proposed Cross Florida Barge Canal displaced the town in the mid-1930s. Santos had two general stores, a post office, a school and several churches. Phillip Samuel owned a barbershop and a fish market was owned by Benjamin Samuel. Agnes Collins owned one of the two “juke joints” (night clubs). Santos was a hub for shipping
History of Santos Community Marker Kiosk image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, February 11, 2021
2. History of Santos Community Marker Kiosk
(Southeast 80th Street in background)
local produce and its rock-crushing facility supported the lime rock mining industry. Today, nineteen historic markers commemorate sites where Santos Businesses once stood.

The Felder Well, located at the corner of SE 73rd St. and SE 41st Ct., was the major water source and community gathering point. Roper Farm School provided education for grades 1-8, under the guidance of Professor H.R. Burrell as principal. Spiritual needs of the community were served by three churches: the Holiness Church, Calvary Baptist and the Methodist Episcopal Church, which later became known as Little Chapel United Methodist Church.

The game of baseball played an important role in lives of the Santos townspeople. The area featured a baseball diamond, which was part of the southeastern circuit of the Negro League Baseball in the 1890s. The Santos community’s baseball team played regularly against other regional teams and enjoyed occasional games against visiting Negro League teams.

The original baseball diamond was located nearby, but is now overgrown and on privately owned property. In 2003, the Historic Santos Recreation Committee and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails opened the Historic Santos Recreation Area to create a lasting legacy for the Santos community and a place where families
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can once again “play ball!”
 
Erected by Florida State Parks.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansParks & Recreational AreasSettlements & SettlersSports.
 
Location. 29° 6.363′ N, 82° 5.253′ W. Marker is near Ocala, Florida, in Marion County. Marker can be reached from Southeast 80th Street (County Road 328) 0.2 miles east of South Pine Avenue (U.S. 301), on the right when traveling east. Marker is mounted in an interpretive kiosk near the Historic Santos Recreation Area ballfield. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3550 Southeast 80th Street, Ocala FL 34480, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Canal Story (approx. ¼ mile away); Canal Building (approx. ¼ mile away); Canal Stopping (approx. ¼ mile away); Historical Perspective (approx. ¼ mile away); A Beautiful Place (approx. ¼ mile away); Great Depression Public Works Project (approx. ¼ mile away); Protective Perspective (approx. ¼ mile away); Opposition to the Canal (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ocala.
 
Also see . . .
1. Historic Santos Recreation Area. Located on the site of a historic African-American community, the recreation area continues
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to serve descendants of the original settlers. Many of the settlers were displaced in the mid-1930s to make way for the Great Depression era sea-level Cross Florida Ship Canal. (Submitted on February 14, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Cross Florida Barge Canal (Wikipedia). The canal was intended to connect the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at Withlacoochee Bay near Yankeetown, Florida. The canal was intended to save travel time and distance for shipping companies by avoiding the longer route through the Florida Straits and link Florida's inland waterways to both coasts. (Submitted on February 14, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Negro League Baseball. Negro League Baseball got its start thanks to the increasing popularity of two things after the Civil War: baseball and segregation. Negro League baseball enjoyed periods of success in the early 1920s and again after the Great Depression. However, Jackie Robinson’s integration of baseball in 1947 prompted a slow but irreversible influx of talent to the majors, and the remaining Negro League teams generally folded by the 1960s. (Submitted on February 14, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 58 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 14, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 3, 2021