Walk up and down the streets of St. Cloud, Florida and you will pass many homes dating to 1910. But if you venture to Lakeshore Blvd. a lovely two-story home dating to 1887 greets you.
The Disston Land Company stopped meeting the notes on the mortgage of the St. Cloud Sugar Mill after July 1895 and the sugar mill laid dormant between 1897, and 1901. In 1900, all the mill machinery was sold to Sabal Bros. of Jacksonville but not actually removed from the area. In January, 1901, it was resold to the Redo Brothers of Mexico for a reputed $75,000. John Garrity, who had been in charge of the machinery, serving mainly as a watchman, resigned from the Disston operations and was hired by the Mexican company to supervise the machinery’s relocation. He crated and marked each piece of machinery, which filled between 50 to 60 railroad cars and weighed between 800-1000 tons. It was transported via railroad to Tampa, loaded aboard a Dutch schooner which set out for the long trip around Cape Horn to Mexico. There had been reports the vessel sunk near Cuba, and later near Cape Horn but an outbreak of smallpox on board had forced the captain to land at a small harbor in Chile where the crew was quarantined, thus delaying the journey.
While segregation was a major issue in many places, the tensions between blacks and whites in Osceola County were much less. There weren’t as many restrictions in place, making integration much smoother for the county. Blacks and whites lived close to each other, and in some cases, even worked together. One place in particular that did not discriminate with employees was the Disston Sugar Mill.