An old timer once said Pine Castle is more of a state of mind than an actual place. I suppose that's because it's so hard to define in terms of physical or geographic boundaries.
The original Pine Castle was a private residence, erected by a fellow named Will Harney who came to this little corner of heaven from Kentucky in the years immediately following the Civil War.
Harney was a poet by nature and training, and composed many tributes to the idyllic virtues of the Central Florida frontier. In truth, though, he endured all of the many hardships our pioneer settlers encountered in those days. Even worse, he lost his young wife very soon after staking claim to land on Lake Conway south of Orlando. Deeply saddened, but undeterred, this single father tamed his homestead lands and erected a castle using the native pine trees. Dubbing the structure his "Pine Castle," he used it in the by-lines of the various articles he wrote as a correspondent for northern newspapers interested in the area.
Within a matter of just a few years, the name of "Pine Castle" wasn't just being applied to Mr. Harney's home, but to the entire neighborhood. (It was, after all, the most striking landmark between Orlando and Kissimmee!) Basically, that encompassed the modern cities of Edgewood and Belle Isle, and all the pockets of unincorporated Orange County that surround the Conway chain of lakes.
The people who settled the area around the original Pine Castle were a neighborly lot. They came together to work for the common good. Republican and Democrat. Baptist and Methodist. Yankee and Cracker. It didn't matter. The classic example of this community spirit was the old Union Church, erected in 1900. Just about EVERYBODY in Pine Castle had a hand in its construction, and it was used by all congregations.
In 1915, the early settlers voted to formally incorporate the Town of Pine Castle. These founders were:
Rev. Dr. George Thomas Bennett (1858-1944)
Eugene Blume (1872-1933)
Edward D. Evans (1893 - ?)
Henry L. Funk (1893-1927)
Clinton C. Hall (1858 - ?)
Bert Oscar Hansel (1891-1960)
Edward Wesley Hansel (1883-1947)
Rufus Jackson Hansel (1884-1948)
William Mather Hansel (1859-1946)
John F. Harris (1869-1951)
Charles H. Hoffner (1855-1931)
Charles F. Johns (1867-1947)
Frank Arnold Kauffman (1883-1971)
Augustus C. Knudson (1881-1945)
Charles Livengood (1870 - ?)
Frank Livengood (1872 - ?)
Paul Macy (1868-1948)
Fred E. Mann (1885-1949)
John William Matchett (1863-1931)
Solomon Frank Phillips (1858-1939)
Fred M. Preston (1874-1928)
John J. Reeves
Dr. David C. Roney (1855-1923)
John C. Schnarr (1851-1919)
Fred Scholhamer (1850-1918)
Jeremiah B. Smith (1886-1957)
Charles Jefferson Sweet (1876-1960)
Albert W. Tanner (1887 - ?)
Charels V. Tanner (1857-1926)
John H. Tanner (1881-1959)
James G. Tyner (1880-1969)
William Wigman (1879-1936)
Many years later, in 1974 to be exact, an annual festival sprang-up in Pine Castle to celebrate that pioneer spirit.
Pioneer Days' next Board meeting and planning session is scheduled for Thursday, September 18, 2014 (6:30pm) in the council chambers at:
Edgewood City Hall
405 Larue Avenue
Edgewood, FL 32809
As always, this meeting is open to the public. We welcome visitors, especially folks who are interested in getting involved!
Join us as we mark Pine Castle's centennial in 2015!
William Morgan, Chairman
Tommie Hosier, Secretary
Doug Doudney, Sunday Services
Tana Porter, oral history project coordinator
An annual family-oriented, community-sponsored/planned event promoting the living history of the Pine Castle area thru demonstrations and other educational opportunities for attendees.
Copyright 2014 Pine Castle Pioneer Days, Inc.. All rights reserved.