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The 150 acres of Bulow Plantation Ruins stand as a monument to the rise and fall of sugar plantations in East Florida. In 1836, the Second Seminole War swept away the prosperous Bulow Plantation where the Bulow family grew sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. Ruins of the former plantation, a sugar mill, a unique spring house, several wells and the crumbling foundations of the plantation house and slave cabins, show how volatile the Florida frontier was in the early 19th century. Today, a scenic walking trail leads visitors to the sugar mill ruins, listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
The park has picnic facilities and an interpretive center that tells the plantation's history. A boat ramp provides access for canoes and small powerboats to scenic Bulow Creek, a designated state canoe trail. Anglers can fish from the dock or a boat.
Video: Hidden in a state park in eastern Central Florida's Flagler Beach, lie the mysterious ruins of a cultural artifact that dates to the 19th century. At its height, the Bulow Plantation covered more than 2,000 acres and produced crops such as cotton and sugar cane. Thanks, WUCF TV.
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The Old Beach Road, as it is called now, was the original road leading to and from the Bulow Plantation. During the 1800s products produced at this site were shipped by wagons and boats to locations such as St. Augustine. The Kings Road was built to connect St. Augustine and other Southern points like New Smyrna. Some sections of the original Kings Road are still visible today. The Old Beach Road, only one wagon wide, still serves at the plantation entrance bringing visitors from Old Kings Road into this beautiful state park. It is easy to imagine the rugged setting compared to modern day paved roads. Life back then, like the wagons transporting the sugar, molasses, and rum, moved at a slower pace.
In 1821, Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow acquired 4,675 acres of wilderness bordering a tidal creek that would bear his name. Using slave labor, he cleared 2,200 acres and planted sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. Soon after the plantation was established, Major Bulow died and his son John took over operations, the plantation prospered until the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. In 1836, the Seminoles burned “Bulowville” along with other plantations in the area. After the war, the plantation was abandoned. All that is left today are the coquina ruins of the sugar mill, several wells, a spring house, and the crumbling foundation of the mansion. The cleared fields have been reclaimed by the forest and the area looks much as it once did when it belonged to the Timucuan Indians, probably the first inhabitants in the area.
In 1954 a dedication ceremony took place and Bulow Ruins State Historic Site was brought to life. Today visitors can walk through the ruins of this massive mill site and admire the work of the aster stone masons and appreciate the rugged technology of the remaining stonework, which survived the fires that brought an end to an era.
Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park is one of four contiguous parks in the area. After visiting the plantation ruins stop by Bulow Creek State park and visit the Fairchild Oak, then continue south on Old Dixie Highway and stop in to see all that Tomoka State Park has to offer!
Getting Involved Opportunities:
Become a Volunteer!
The park is always looking for local individuals, corporate sponsors and groups to help with trail maintenance, administrative, exotic removal, park interpretation, special events, small park repairs and general maintenance support.
Trail Maintenance - Patrol our hiking trails and address any maintenance issues (vegetation, debris and litter removal) and upgrades as needed. They will also check trail markers for any damage or general maintenance needs. Must be able to work outdoors in varying weather conditions and be capable of using hand tools, possibly small gas powered landscape implements in a safe manner. Other skills and requirements may apply depending on the support needed. Training is offered as needed.
Exotic Removal - Identify exotics in the park and remove them by hand or with the use of herbicide (training provided). Must be able to work outdoors in varying weather conditions, be willing to learn to mix and apply herbicides and use hand tools safely and effectively. This volunteer will work closely with our on site park biologist and training will be provided.
Survey Volunteer - Other support might include helping to survey and map park areas for Invasive and Listed Species (work with park biologist), birding checklists and data collection (work with our park birdbanding group). Must be able to work outdoors in varying weather conditions and often requires a lot of walking on uneven and different terrains.
Park Maintenance - Perform small maintenance repairs to park equipment and facilities and preferably have experience in one or more of the following trades: carpentry, painting, minor construction, plumbing and electrical.
General Service Volunteer - May provide set-up/breakdown for park programs and special events, help to recruit new day use volunteers and event exhibitors by reaching out into the local community on the park’s behalf. We also need administrative support in our park offices on occasion.
Note: some volunteer positions may require a valid driver’s license and the use of on and off road vehicles (training provided if needed).
Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park is open Thursday through Monday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
$4.00 per vehicle. Please use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 8 people per vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
Picnic Pavilion Rental: $30.00 per day, plus tax.