Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot

This navel and oranges packing headquarters is right before the railroad crossing of S County Road 3 on Lake Winona Road, De Leon Springs, Volusia County, Florida.

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot
Bob White Oranges

The main packaging building is sporting a saw-tooth roof. These ridges block some sunlight and help protect workers and machinery. The design works best with natural light so it will fill a factory. This allows for more efficient use of daylight before the times of modern electric lighting.

The buildings are part of the National Register of Historic Places and was added to the register in 1993.

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot
Stacked chaos of wooden crates at least 30 years old.

Empty wooden crates are scattered, disheveled and strewn about the factory floor. The water tower still stands, without purpose. Slowly becoming covered with ivy.

Currently, it remains on Florida’s list of Eleven Most Endangered Historic Sites by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s. As these buildings give insight of the early development of Florida’s citrus manufacturing and production.

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot
Water tower covered in vines.

Orange Fever was Florida’s own version of the Gold Rush and hit those interested hard. The beautiful summer and warm year round climate with its delightfully fertile lands; brought many here to jump in on the citrus market.

Theodore Strawn was buying up vacant grove plots to give his go on this thriving market. It wasn’t without its shortcomings though which included : early freezes, insect infestations and a saturated citrus market as everyone got into the ‘game’.

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot
Black and White Photograph from the 1920’s.

Mr. Strawn began a citrus packing company in De Leon Springs in 1882. Below, a photograph from the early 1900’s can be seen of wagon cars being filled with crates of oranges. This saw-tooth building was built in 1921, after the original packaging house burned down. It was designed to be fireproof boasting wall panels of stamped copper alloy steel.

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot
Rusted valves and hard to read pressure gauge.

In 1983, a large and catastrophic freeze decimated the citrus industry in the DeLeon Springs area. The trees were killed; ruined right down to the stumps. This led to the closure of the Strawn and Bob White Citrus Packaging Plant.

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot
Dangerous pesticides inside!

This complex was very vast in the early days offering a gas fill up (picture 1), barn buildings for storage and pesticides, a sawmill, machine shop and smithy, filtering / packaging buildings and more.

Though preservation is voiced by many, the owner of the area buildings wanted to seek demolition for it in 2009. It remains standing as of 2019.

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot
Broken windows are a theme with every remaining building here.

In 2008, a fire destroyed the machine shop. In 2010, a fire destroyed one of the larger out buildings and damaged a few more. The area is in a state of serious dis repair and under continuous threat from elements, vandals and arsonists.

UPDATE : The iconic Chevron gas pumps have since been removed or destroyed, their fate is unknown.

Where is the abandoned and historic Strawn Packaging House District located? You can find it with these coordinates. 29.138519, -81.359935.

Strawn Citrus Packaging Plant and Fuel Depot
Aerial view of 5707 Lake Winona Road

Photographs by Dan Tantrum/Flickr. Licensed under CC.

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