Have you been to FITZVILLE in Orange County, Florida lately? Perhaps you have and didn’t even know it! Known also as FITZSIMONS, this once-upon-a-time CitrusLANDrailway depot was a stop on FLORIDA MIDLAND RAILWAY.
The station was described as being eight (8) miles west of LONGWOOD; two (2) miles southwest of a LAKE BRANTLEY; and three (3) miles east of APOPKA, these mileages according to a published list of 1892 Florida Midland depots. Identified as FITZVILLE by the railroad, the official Orange County map of 1890 shows the railway’s stop as FITZSIMONS.
Fitzsimons of 1890 Orange County, Florida
Heading west today via Highway 436 toward Apopka, the Fitzsimons Railway Station would be roadside today, southeast of Lake CORTEZ and across Highway 436 from BORDER Lake after crossing the Orange - Seminole County line.
Highway 436 follows the train’s right-of-way in this region. The red star on our map below pinpoints the one-time Fitzsimons depot.
Star pinpoints location of Fitzsimons Depot
The station was named for John F. FITZSIMONS, a Buchanan, Virginia lumber dealer. By 1885, John Fitzsimons operated a mill, preparing lumber for shipping north, in the vicinity of where the railway station was located. His land encompassed Border Lake, all of Lake Cortez, and stretched north to VOTAW Road.
By 1906, much of the land surrounding FITZSIMONS was sold by the State for unpaid taxes, including a parcel west of and adjacent to Lake Cortez, described as including the “right-of-way of the Florida Midland Railway.” Unfortunately, no sign of the Florida Midland Railway, or the one-time Fitzsimons depot, is visible in this region today.
The railroad was a vital component in settling central Florida, and that’s why CitrusLAND will be celebrating 19th century depots all year long. Stay tuned, much more to come!
References, as always, are available upon request to [email protected]