We invite you to explore Historic Arcadia and experience the rich heritage of northwest Florida's milling industry and community. Historic Arcadia encompasses 42 acres spanning two different properties located within the footprint of the original Spanish land grant.
Between 1817 and 1855, the mill site developed into a multi-faceted operation that included a sawmill, a lumber mill with planing and lathing machines, the Arcadia Pail Factory, a shingle mill, textile mill, an experimental silk operation, and one of the first railroads chartered in territorial Florida. Arcadia also included a thriving industrial village of mixed ethnicity including enslaved African Americans, Anglo-American laborers, and Anglo-American owners and managers. The site’s historical significance extends beyond its antebellum roots including a few small Civil War skirmishes, the Arcadia Farms period during the late 19th to early 20th century, the Great Depression, and the historic preservation movement that protected the site during the 1960s.
Historic Arcadia seeks to promote life-long learning, community engagement, critical thinking, and historical and cultural understanding within a broad context. Visit Arcadia to explore and enhance your local educational experience beyond UWF campus borders.
Arcadia Needs Your Help!
In recent years, Arcadia’s legislative funding was vetoed so now our success depends on the support of private donors. Arcadia provides a unique experience for the community through interactive, indoor and outdoor exhibits, year-round public programming, and educational field trips for grades K-12.
If you are interested in our giving initiative that includes a complimentary family membership and much more, check out our Dig Deep to Help Arcadia page!
Are you related to Arcadia?
We are compiling a database for the descendant community of Arcadia! We are looking for people related to those who lived and worked at the mill including descendants of the enslaved African-Americans, overseers, and owners. Common names for Arcadia include Simpson, Forsyth, Overman, Bushnell, Twitchell, Willis, Ahrens, and Creary.
If you know or think you might be related to our site, please fill out this form and let us know!
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What plant is nicknamed Old Man's Beard?
Spanish moss is nicknamed Old Man's Beard after a legend about a Spanish explorer getting stuck climbing a tree.