So, with that said, here is my contribution for this week….
"C" is for a Citrus Baron
"C" is for a Castle
On a Florida island called Merritt’s Island, where Kennedy Space Center now resides, is an old orange grove that was planted by a pioneer citrus grower named Douglas Dummett.
Dummett planted wild sour-orange trees that probably originated with the Spanish, and grafted cuttings from sweet orange trees that were transplanted in this grove on Merritt’s Island. These orange trees survived the famous 1835 freeze.
After Dummett died, his grove was sold in 1881 to an Italian nobleman Eicole Tamajo, Duke of Castellucia. We’ll just call him the Duke.
The Duke married Jennie Anheuser of the Budweiser beer family. The Duke built Jennie a two-story mansion using lumber salvaged from the Santa Cruz, a wrecked sailing ship. The ship’s mast was used for the center posts of the two spiral staircases in the mansion.
After a domestic squabble, the Duke partitioned the house into two parts, one for him and one for Jennie. That must have been one hairy squabble because he later moved back to Italy and died in 1892. Hope he didn't leave her behind to fend for herself and to ward off the mosquitos. Can you imagine no screens in those windows and all those blood sucking mosquitoes? Shiver!!!
I have always known this wooden house as the Dummitt Castle. My father would take us over to the island when we were children and let us play in the abandoned Castle and grounds. We picnicked there often.
My father once told me that there were tunnels from the house to what was once slave quarters, but I have never seen them or heard any other stories about these so called tunnels.
Through out the decades Dummitt Castle was sold to various individuals and groups and was finally moved from its original location at the request of NASA in 1964. It burned down in 1967. Another piece of history lost.
So if a man’s house is his castle, would this man’s house be half a castle?
Please don’t forget to stop by Jenny Matlock’s blog (off on my tangent) and check out more stories about the letter “C”. You can get there by clicking here: