Newsletter -- March/April, 2003.

The Society membership meeting for March will be a trip to DeBary Hall in Volusia County. We will meet at the Bronson-Mulholland House at 8:00 A.M. on Saturday, March 29th to travel to the Debary Hall historical site. The admission fee to the site is $3.00. Frederick DeBary, a prominent wine importer and sportsman from New York City built DeBary Hall in 1871. This Italianate architectural style mansion has an extensive two-story veranda, floor to ceiling windows and five-ranked facade with central hall. In its prime, this majestic residence welcomed visitors who arrived by steamboats owned and operated by Debary that traveled the nearby St. Johns River. Please plan to join us for this outing that promises to be a fun and educational trip. We plan to have lunch at the Holiday House restaurant in Deland upon completion of the tour. Mark your calendars now to join your fellow Society members on this trip.


The first in a series of lectures on Palatka history as part of the celebration of Palatka's sesquicentennial will be hosted by your Society on Friday, March 21st at 5:30 P.M. at the Larimer Arts Center, 216 Reid Street. Your Society's secretary, Larry Beaton, will present the program. Larry, a fourth generation Palatka resident, will speak on the Great Palatka Fire of 1884. Larry has done extensive research on the history of the fire and the events immediately preceding and following the fire. Please plan to join us for this interesting and informative program. The Society will serve light refreshments immediately following the program.


We hope this is not one of our better-kept secrets, but your Society has a web site. You may access it by going to or The site contains information about the Society and includes news and photos of recent Society events.


You may have discovered that the Bronson-Mulholland House is closed for renovations. The City of Palatka received a $40,000 grant from the State of Florida to do much needed replacement and repair of the eastern porches of the House. We plan a reception co-hosted with the City of Palatka when the work is complete. Please look for details in an upcoming newsletter. The Putnam Historic Museum remains open during this work. If you have not visited the Museum recently, please take the time to do so as we are always changing our displays and adding new items of interest.


As we mentioned in our last newsletter, your Society is working with Southern Heritage Press in St. Petersburg to publish a pictorial history of Putnam County. We are looking for unique photos that have not previously been published. Please allow us to copy photographs of your community to be a part of this publication. Contact Larry Beaton at 386-329-0811 if you have something that you think would make a good addition to this book.


The community of Florahome started in 1899 when the Etoniah Canal and Drainage Company drained the prairie at the edge of town, making vast fertile acres available for farms.