Thursday, July 28, 2022


Royal Park

I'm riding west on CR222 to Royal with a club C ride led by Dave and Cindy Taylor. Just before the end we turn left onto CR235 and ride down to Royal Park on the left. The park is the site of the original Royal schoolhouse and grounds and we are here today for a talk about the history of the community of Royal.

The community, originally called Picketsville, was founded in 1865 following the Civil War when General Sherman's Field Order No.15 allocated 40 acres of land to all Freedmen (former slaves). Freedmen from the Old Green Plantation on the Withlacoochee River moved to the area, claimed the land and managed to keep it despite the fact that later in 1865 President Andrew Johnson rescinded Sherman's order.

SLBC club members learn Royal's history
By the late 1880s the community was known as Royal, and established industries were farming, logging, and naval stores. In 1874 the first one room school was built and by 1891 there was a US post office called Royal. Royal today is one of the rare communities where many of the 1,200 residents are descendants of freed slaves and proudly live on the 40-acre parcels their ancestors first settled 150 years ago.

Royal Park was created following integration when students in Royal were transferred to schools in Wildwood. The old school building was torn down and the grounds used to create a park with recreational and community facilities. All that remains of the school is the old cafeteria which was renovated and is now a community center and museum.

Cycling through it, Royal might not look like much but it is rich in history and one of Florida’s oldest African-American communities.

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