This is the season in Central Florida when people drive Southeast from Orlando to the town of Christmas to mail their Santa letters and special packages. But Christmas, Florida, is not named just for holiday cheer – on Christmas day in 1837 2,000 soldiers started the construction for a fort to protect the area farmers from Seminole attacks.
Today there is a wonderful replica of that Second Seminole War fort filled with pioneer and Seminole artifacts developed by the Fort Christmas Historical Society and the Orange County Park Department. There is even a store with facilities and three large picnic pavilions at the well-designed complex.
Fort Christmas is more than just a wooden fort. The park contains a dozen Florida Cracker farmhouses dating from the 1870’s to the 1930’s. The rural setting makes the village appear to be realistic and several times each year major events are held to honor Florida’s past.
My favorite sites include a 1906 school complete with a delightful lunchroom and the 1917 Beehead Ranch House which has all the farm equipment needed to operate a frontier business.
If you are driving from Orlando to the Florida East Coast you might want to take a side trip off County Road 420 to see Fort Christmas.