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The Incredible, Historic Town of Eatonville, Florida


The town of Eatonville became incorporated this week in 1887. The history behind this Central Florida community is incredibly fascinating.

Located just a few miles north of Orlando, Eatonville was founded by three Union officers: Captain Josiah Eaton, Captain Lewis Lawrence and another officer whose name is unknown. Captain Eaton and the other two officers developed the land around Lake Maitland, thus establishing what we all know today as the City of Maitland. Many people were hired to help clear the lands and a community popped up beside Maitland where these workers lived.

Many of these workers were newly freed slaves who labored at clearing land, planting crops and citrus groves, and helping to build houses, hotels and the railroad system. In a few years, some of these workers became community leaders, businessmen and respected citizens of the newly developed town of Maitland.

By 1887, the African-American settlers in Maitland became interested in establishing their own town. An all-African-American town appeared to have initially been a dream of Joseph E. Clarke, but he was unsuccessful in his attempts to purchase land for that purpose.

AuthenticFlorida, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Aug. 17, 2018