History of Farmton and Maytown

Before the Farmton property existed, the land was interlaced with two towns named Farmton and Maytown. These communities were linked to the progress of the railroad through Florida, and the development of the agricultural pursuits of turpentine, lumber and farming. Small farms and lumber and turpentining activities came and went on the land. A branch of the railroad, built in 1885, ran through the Farmton property and moved passengers, produce, seafood, and supplies from central Florida to Titusville which was a transportation hub at the time. Cypress was shipped on a railroad spur on the Florida East Coast Railway. Its heyday was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Changes in turpentine production and the railroad resulted in removal of service to these communities. The residents moved out and the communities disappeared over time.

The Origin of Farmton Tree Farm

In 1925, Miami Corporation officers visited the remote site around Farmton and Maytown in Volusia and Brevard Counties in central Florida looking for agricultural land. They found forty-five thousand acres that had been cut over by a timber company. The agent for the company reported that after the various commercial uses to which the land had been dedicated, there was practically no pine on the land, no pristine wilderness, and little forested land left.

The property had the advantage of the Florida East Coast Railroad running through the center of it, and one possible strategy would have been to drain and divide the land and sell off the property in smaller parcels to individual farmers. Miami Corporation purchased the tract, and studied whether to divide and sell off the land to farmers. Based on the assessment of the markets and the state of the land, Miami Corporation decided that the best use for the property would be to keep the land intact for forestry.

During the next thirty-five years, we bought adjacent parcels of land to create what is today known as the 59,000 acre “Farmton tract” or the “Farmton Tree Farm.” The origin of the name comes from the old town of Farmton, once located on the tract.

While native timber was the source of income from turpentining and timber cuts, Miami Corporation wanted to manage and steward the land even more proactively and responsibly. Just after World War II, the Board commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of managing the land for timber. Based on the review of the timber markets, active silviculture began in the early 1950s.

Photo Caption: Pictured above is a unique photo from the Florida State Archives circa the 1950’s.There were three original Florida Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission check stations in Volusia County: one at Maytown Road and Pell Road, the “North Station” near SR 442, and this station pictured on the Farmton property. It was located on Maytown Road East near what is I-95 today. The gentleman was an Officer for the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, which is now called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

From 1954 to 1967, fourteen million seedlings were planted, and cutting began in 1974. Since that time, Miami Corporation has been continuously planting and cutting slash pine in accordance with best management practice methods of forestry for the region. In wetland areas, cypress is harvested and regenerates on its own from sprouts and seeds, also in keeping with best management operations.

Miami Corporation’s vision for the property, which includes long term stewardship and commitment to the land, is the reason why Farmton’s silviculture, environmental resources, and unique attributes exist today.

In fact, Farmton Tree Farm is only one of Miami Corporation’s conservation efforts.  Our nearly century long history is steeped in the tradition of preserving cultural landmarks for future generations. To read a summary of our community efforts, click here.

 


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