Homosassa
Population (2020)
2,299
Area (Square miles)
8.33
Year founded
Abt 1835
Year incorporated
N / A
Being one of the oldest towns in Florida, Homosassa has a long and storied history. Locals frequently refer to the older, historic portion of the town as "Old Homosassa", differentiating it from the much more populated area to the east known as Homosassa Springs. Old Homosassa clings to its charm and historic roots, where as Homosassa Springs is a more recent commercial center anchored by U.S. Highway 41 traffic and the popular Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Originally inhabited by Native Americans as early as 12,000 years ago, the area around the Homosassa  River known now as "Old Homosassa" was opened for homesteading by the Federal Government's Armed Occupation Act of 1842. William Cooley was one of the first who took advantage of the offer, playing a prominent role as pioneer, timber merchant, and the area's first Justice of the Peace. In 1846, he sold his land holdings to David Levy Yulee, who established a large plantation and sugar mill. Yulee was, for the most part, an absentee owner who depended on slave labor to clear land and operate his plantation. He served as United States Senator from 1845 until 1851 and again from 1855 until 1861. The remains of his original sugar mill can be seen at the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Parkk, located on West Yulee Drive in Homosassa.

Homosassa's agricultural industry and growth was interrupted by the Civil War. Union forces destroyed the sugar plantations and many of the structures in Old Homosassa, never to be rebuilt. David Yulee sold his holdings in 1864 to land developers who had plans to subdivide the area and sell property to northerners interested in Florida land. Multiple attempts by several different development companies never resulted in much success.

Ever since the turn of the century, and continuing today, Homosassa is primarily dependent on its fishing industry - both commercial and sport fishing. A number of marinas, fish camps, and resorts cater to the needs of tourists - offering boat and kayak rentals, bait and fishing supplies, and professional fishing guides.

One of the big attractions to Homosassa is the almost constant presence of West Indian Manatees. Homosassa Spring is the source of the Homosassa River located at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Another somewhat odd attraction to the area is "Monkey Island" - a tiny island in the river that serves as home to a family of spider monkeys. Monkey Island can be viewed from a boat, or from the seawall at the Monkey Bar at Florida Cracker Resort.
 


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