History of Dunlawton
The Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens are a historic site and park located in Port Orange, Florida. The gardens are open to the public and include one of the oldest standing mills in Florida. Built in the early 1800s, it sits close to the ocean and is chock-full of beautiful green gardens and nature trails.
In the 1800s, Dunlawton was known as the "Dean Plantation", because of its owner, Patrick Dean. The plantation and surrounding areas grew sugar, cotton, rice, and perhaps indigo. The name of the area was later changed to Dunlawton. The name Dunlawton comes from Dunn, the maiden name of a later owner, Sarah Petty Anderson, combined with Lawton. The land had many owners over the course of the 19th century.
The mill was used to process sugar cane into sugar, molasses, and rum. It operated on and off until the early 1900s when it was abandoned. It remained in ruins until it became a tourist site in 1939.
From the year 1949 to 1952, Dunlawton was an amusement park called Bongoland. Bongoland also featured an Indian Village, animals, a train, and a monkey named Bongo. It was also during this time that concrete dinosaurs were built, and they are still there today for people to enjoy. Today, visitors can tour the mill, see the gardens, and learn about the history of sugar production in Florida.
Today, locals and tourists alike visit the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens to see the full-size stone dinosaurs, sundial, and other exciting features. Visitors generally take a self-guided tour of the property. They can revisit history as they walk around the gardens or see the old sugar mill ruins. A nature walk through Dunlawton's lush botanical gardens includes many unique and beautiful plants such as azaleas, magnolias, succulents, palm trees, ferns, and all sorts of tropical vegetation. The rarest type of sundial, a human sundial, is also in the gardens. It is here where a visitor can stand next to their current month's tablet and raise their arms up. Their arms cast a shadow that reflects the current corresponding hour. Watching butterflies in the butterfly garden is also a favorite for visitors of the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens.
The mission of the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens is to educate people and gardeners about the different types of vegetation that can grow in the area. They also hope to preserve the history of the sugar mill and plantation for future generations. The sugar mill and gardens are open from sunup to sundown.