Thursday, May 5, 2011

Alphabe~Thursday "C" is for Citrus Baron and a Castle

This week’s Alphabe-Thursday is all about the letter “C”. There are so many topics regarding the letter “C”, I wasn’t sure if I should continue on about my state, or pick something different. For two days now I have been sitting here, fingers poised over my keyboard drawing a blank. So I guess I will do another blip about my beloved Florida.

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:



Christine said...

Very interesting story, except for the mosquito part, that was a horror story for sure.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I love history and this was a great story! hugs, Linda

Anonymous said...

very interesting post
we visited florida a few years ago
loved it...went to some orange groves
take pride in your state...write on!!!

Tracy said...

what a piece of history thank you for sharing

Amanda said...

This was very enjoyable. Learned something new. :)

La said...

What an interesting post. I love Florida, too!

Sue said...

I loved all of this post except thinking about the mosquitoes.



from my wicked ways to turning a phrase said...

I LOVE unique bits of history and trivia. I've longed wondered just what I could do if I wasn't a well of useless knowlegde. lol thx for the lil bit of Fla. history. I love Tampa area btw I golfed on christmas eve there once AMAZING!! I was wearing shorts in 60 degree weather and both legs are covered in tattoos imagine the looks that got me hahahahaha.

taylorsoutback said...

Enjoyed learning about the Castle and its residents...that's what is so nice about Alphabe-Thursday - such a variety of topics and always learning!
Thank you for sharing.

Mary said...

What a great C post and what a shame the castle burned down! Half a castle has me chuckling :-)

EG Wow said...

Sooo interesting! Imagine having so much money that you could afford a castle...and then partition it to keep yourself away from your spouse. Just goes to show that having tons of money doesn't necessarily make you happy!

Jenny said...

Ames, what a fascinating home and history you shared here.

I love the idea of you playing in this as a child. With you imagination I can only conjure up the wild tales you came up with when you played there.

Thanks for an imagination invoking post. The tunnel idea just fascinates me.