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

Orange Belt Railway

Orange Belt Railway Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, January 31, 2016
1. Orange Belt Railway Marker
The Seminole Wekiva Trail has been built for the most part on the roadbed of the Orange Belt Railway. This railroad was the lifeline of the area from Sanford to Lake Apopka from 1885 through the early part of the 20th century. Starting at Lake Monroe it tied together what is now the western part of Seminole County with stops at Sylvan Larke, Paola, Island Lake, Glen Ethel, Groveland, Palm Springs (all farming settlements along the Longwood Markham Road), as well as Granada (as this area was called), Forest City, and Toronto, a distance of 18 miles. By 1888 the line extended to Pinellas Point, on the Gulf of Mexico. At that time it was the longest narrow gauge railroad in the country, extending for 117.68 miles, a status it held until 1897.
(Continued on other side)
(Continued from other side)
Peter A. Demens, the prosperous owner of a sawmill in Longwood, was the driving force behind the building of the railroad. In 1885 he took over the charter of the Orange Belt Railway just underway in Lake Monroe, in payment for cross ties from his mill. The charter
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gave permission to build a railroad from Monroe (now Lake Monroe) to Oakland on the south shore of Lake Apopka, a distance of 35 miles. It was completed in November of 1886. A man of vision and optimism, Demens overcame grave financial difficulties to extend the line to the Gulf coast. This was accomplished in 1888 after a series of contractual and financial crisis were averted with help from the meat-packer Phillip Armour and Philadelphia financiers. Point Pinellas, the southern terminus of the line, was given the name St. Petersburg in honor of Mr. Demens' native city in Russia. In bankruptcy in 1893, the line became part of the Plant System and was renamed the Sanford and St. Petersburg Railway.
Erected by Seminole County Historical Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1885.
Location. 28° 40.979′ N, 81° 23.823′ W. Marker is in Altamonte Springs, Florida, in Seminole County. Marker can be reached from North Street west of Larson Drive when traveling west. Marker is located off in the Seminole County Softball Complex along the Seminole Wekiva Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Altamonte Springs FL 32714, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Altamonte Springs (approx. 1.4 miles away); Florida Honors and Remembers our POW’s and MIA’s
Orange Belt Railway Marker Reverse image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, January 31, 2016
2. Orange Belt Railway Marker Reverse
(approx. 1˝ miles away); Seminole County (approx. 1˝ miles away); The Altamonte Hotel (approx. 2˝ miles away); Altamonte Chapel (approx. 2.6 miles away); Forest City (approx. 2.8 miles away); Historical Winwood (approx. 2.8 miles away); The Senator II (approx. 3.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Altamonte Springs.
Orange Belt Railway Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, January 31, 2016
3. Orange Belt Railway Marker
Location of marker in softball complex.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 11, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 643 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 11, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 16, 2024