The Village of Florida
The Village of Florida, N.Y., had its beginnings 300 plus years ago in a highly fertile, ancient lake basin.
In a grant of land, called the Wawayanda Patent of 1703, a large area was called the Florida Tract.
A hamlet located at the intersection of two free-flowing streams in the early 1700s was originally named Brookland.
The name of Florida was officially given to this populated, industrial area in the 1760s. Florida, in Latin, Floridius Aetas, means land covered with red flowers.
The second earliest Presbyterian Church in Orange County was established in 1741. During the Revolutionary War, Florida became an important corridor for troop and supply movement from Newburgh to Philadelphia and beyond.
As social, commercial and industrial entities flourished, Florida became a thriving 18th and 19th century community. Among the diligent farm-working families came prominent doctors, lawyers, merchants, craftsmen, etc.
Most noteworthy was William Henry Seward, Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He is most noted for negotiating the treaty to purchase Alaska from Russia. His father, Samuel Sweezy Seward, established Seward Institute in 1848, and it still thrives today as a public school.
In 1946, Florida became an incorporated village. Florida in the 21st century is a vibrant, growing, productive community.
Memorial Plaque Dedication for
as appeared in the Warwick Valley Dispatch 7/27/16
At its annual meeting on Saturday, July 16, the Florida Historical Society (TFHS) dedicated a Memorial Plaque for Raymond Green. In 1989 TFHS was started by a group of local residents who wanted to record local history and eventually became a group dedicated to preserving, protecting and presenting the history of the Village of Florida and surrounding area. Ray Green was a Charter Member of this HIstorical Society.
TFHS, along with many community members are grateful to Ray for leaving his ca. 1840 house, contents and property to the Historical Society. Over four generations of the Green family have left the house and contents glowing with history. The house at 13 Bridge Street in Florida, will be used to present history for the public to view. Thank you Ray!
Photo above from left to right: Alan Griffith, Sid Griffith, Jean Green Griffith (Ray's sister), Leah Griffith, Seth Griffith and Karen Griffith Maxwell.
Article written by Gary Randall
Great Holiday Portraits!
2016 Holiday Photo Shoot a SUCCESS! Please enjoy a sampling of the photographs from our Holiday Portrait sessions for Christmas 2016. We look forward to repeating this great event in December of 2017!
In 1989 we began with a small group of interested people who appreciated the history related to the Village of Florida and the surrounding area. We were also concerned with the recording, preserving, and sharing of this unique history.
After a tedious process, we were chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 1994.
The Village of Florida allowed us to use a shed on village property, which was converted into a Greek Revival-style museum for the display and protection of historic items, donated primarily by community members.
Mr. Raymond Green, a founding member of the Florida Historical Society, hoped that his family home could become a museum honoring the history of the Village of Florida. At his passing, Ray bequeathed the Green family home to the Florida Historical Society. This became the "new" home for our Society.
Birthday celebrations honoring William Henry Seward in May have given the Historical Society, school children, teachers and community members the chance to get together to celebrate local history.
Our published book, Florida, Orange County, an Early Look at its Faces, Places and, Winding Staircases was our proudest achievement to date.
Our motto says, "Dedicated to Preserving Florida's History." We will continue to pursue that goal.
Short History of our Society
Note: Upcoming Events
SEWARD DAY: The 4th Grade History Tour will be held during April 3-7.
RENOVATION OF THE CHILDREN’S BEDROOM: The furniture has been moved out and the ceiling tile is down, revealing the old plaster ceiling.