History and Culture
This 7,360-acre preserve has one of the few remaining mature forests in Florida and has one of the finest examples of the climax mesic hammocks remaining in Florida. The limestone outcrops and extreme changes in elevation provide conditions for many species of hardwood trees. Sinkholes, steephead springs, ponds, and small lakes dot the landscape. Blues Creek, Turkey Creek and Cellon Creek all enter San Felasco from outside the park boundary and flow through the park, finally dropping into swallows, which drain back into the aquifer.
Historically, the preserve has been used by Native Americans for thousands of years. Artifacts found here indicate that aboriginals inhabited the area since at least 8,000 B.C. Change came to the American Indian culture with the introduction of the Spanish mission system controlled by the Franciscans and Jesuits. Within San Felasco is believed to be the mission site of late 17th- century San Francisco de Potano. Potano was the name of the Indian culture living in the area at the time of the Spanish settlement of Florida. Later the area was the scene of a brief skirmish between the Seminoles and the Florida militia during the Second Seminole War. (1835 – 1842) Col. John Warren and his men along with the aid of a cannon fought off a party of Seminoles in an hour-and-a-half-long battle.
The source of its name, San Felasco has been traced to the consistent mispronunciation of “San Francisco” by the Indians and early settlers.