Thursday, April 6, 2023


In 1882 John A. Cole and his family (black Americans) returned to the US from a village called Santos in Brazil where their plan to start a new life following the American Civil War did not work out. On their return they purchased land east of todays CR328/301 crossroads where they farmed and harvested timber - and called it Santos.

By 1887 the Santos population was 47, the Florida Transit and Peninsula Railroad had arrived and business was "booming". By 1890 they had a railroad stop, lime rock mining and farming industries, two general stores, a Masonic Lodge, a post office, a barber shop and a moss gin where Spanish moss was processed for stuffing furniture and mattresses.

The Felder Well (now dry) was their water source and community center. Two schools taught kindergarten through 8th grade and spiritual needs were met by three churches and non-spiritual needs by Agnes Collins' two "juke joints" where you could find moonshine and music.

Allen Kendrick, a young teen in the 1930s depression era said people in Santos "didn't suffer for lack of employment, just wages. They didn't pay you hardly nothing, but you sure could work,"

The canal required a half mile wide strip of land to be cleared

The Santos community was dispersed in the mid 1930's when the federal government appropriated the land it occupied for the Cross Florida Ship Canal. Its homes, stores, churches, businesses, industries and jobs were eliminated by clearing, dredging and construction. The fate of many small communities that got in the way of the Ditch of Dreams.

The "Crusher" cleared trees, the undergrowth and probably the communities in its path.

For information on the route and Santos today click here: