transcribed by Anza Bast
(member of the Genealogy Club of Osceola County)
Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, September 3, 1909, front pg.
Is Well Named, for Prosperity Can Be Found in Every One of Its Sixty Thousand Acres.
Within the past two years many colony schemes have been launched in this state, most of which have proved successes, as the soil of Florida is usually of that character that will produce abundantly of all fruits, vegetables and field crops, but there are portions of this state that are peculiarly adapted to those industries, as the soil is so productive that five acres are more than enough to produce fruits or truck sufficient to provide the necessities of a family and net a handsome revenue in addition.
It is in one of these portions of the state that Prosper Colony has been located, and the projectors have well named it, for much prosperity awaits those who are so fortunate as to acquire five or more of its acres and town lots in the town of Taft.
Prosper Colony comprises a tract of sixty thousand acres, and begins about five miles to the west and north of Kissimmee and runs to within a few miles of Orlando, and the main line of the Atlantic Coast Line Railway and the Florida Midland Railway run through it, the first named almost its entire length from north to south, and the latter road on its western border, which will give ample shipping facilities to those purchasing farms in any section of the colony.
The hard marl road now being constructed between Orlando and Kissimmee, and of which there is none better or more durable in the United States, runs directly from the Colony's northeast to southwest corner, a distance of about fourteen miles, and will be of invaluable service to the colonists who desire to take their produce to the markets of Kissimmee or Orlando for shipment to northern and western markets.
The soil of Prosper Colony is of different varieties, but is mostly of the much and hammock formation that is best suited to fruit and vegetable culture, while there is a considerable amount of the land that is perfectly suited to citrus culture, being of the high sandy formation, the character on which the successful orange groves in this state are planted.
The altitude of Prosper Colony varies from thirteen to forty feet about the average water mark of Lake Tohopekaliga at Kissimmee, the increase in altitude being from south to north, a fact which guarantees it against overflows and the drowning out of crops in case of continuous heavy rains such as have fallen in Florida this spring and summer. A representative of this paper took a buggy trip over the sight of this colony this week, the day following one of the heaviest rains of the season, and after a month in which considerable rain fell almost every day, and can speak authoritatively when he says that after going its entire length from south to north and return he failed to see one hundred acres that contained any standing water whatever, except the small cypress ponds, which the projectors do not intend to include in the five or ten acre tracts sold, and every acre was subject to cultivation within a few hours after the heaviest rains ceased falling.
The reason for that condition lies in the fact that the entire tract is thoroughly drained by two large and deep creeks - Boggy creek that runs from west to east and empties into East Lake, and Shingle creek that runs directly through its center from north to south and empties into Lake Tohopekaliga - with many smaller streams whose meanders are such as to form a thorough drainage for almost every acre of land that the Prosper Colony people place on the market.
This section of Florida produces a greater variety of fruits and vegetables than any other section of this most favored state, and as the soil of Prosper Colony is the equal of any and superior to many portions, it will not be an overdrawn statement when we say that oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, bananas, plantain, peaches, pears, strawberries, pineapples, sugar cane, tobacco, rice, Indian corn, barley, rye, buckwheat, cassava, avacado [sic] pears,, pawpaws, persimmons, plums, mulberries, blackberries, raspberries, figs and guavas; beans, cabbage, squash, tomatoes, okra, celery, eggplant, beets, cucumbers, lettuce, cauliflower, sweet and white potatoes, watermelons, canteloupes [sic], citrons and peanuts will grow there in the greatest abundance.
In less than a mile of the town of Taft is the famous Shanibarger banana farm, from which was gathered last season more than fourteen bunches, and which will produce at least half as many more this coming season. Banana culture is considered one of the safest as well as one of the most lucrative industries to engage in, as it requires little care or cultivation, and is absolutely certain in yielding a splendid crop. The reason that banana culture is so remunerative an industry in which to engage is that the land used is of practically no value for anything else, as it is necessary to plant the trees immediately alongside of water or in low, marshy places, and thousands of trees can be planted on a very few acres, every tree producing a bunch of nice developed fruit.
Within a mile of this banana farm is growing as fine a field of rice as ever grew on the famous South Carolina marshes, being at present fully five feet high and having well developed heads. It will yield fifty bushels to the acre, and at prevailing prices will net a handsome revenue to the grower. On this same farm was growing almost every variety of garden truck as well as fruits, which demonstrated that with little care a five acres in Prosper Colony could be made to yield the same competency that in the north and west it required hundreds to do. Here land is made to produce every month in the year, whereas in the colder climes it is one and only one crop each twelve months. Here failures are rare; in less favored sections they are of common occurrence.
The cultivation of flowers is not one of the least of the many advantages that will be found awaiting Prosper Colony purchasers, as one of the finest gardens in the state is located immediately in the town of Taft, the property of Mr. and Mrs. D. B. Spahler. To describe the number and variety of the plants and flowers in this beautiful garden would require more space than can be allotted this article, but we state that a sight of it will repay any who care to visit the home of this most hospitable people, and is an evidence that floral culture could be made a lucrative industry in that place.
The town of Taft, the town the projectors are laying out and in which each purchaser of a ten acre farm will be given a lot is located immediately on the main line of the Atlantic Coast Line Railway midway between Kissimmee and Orlando, and is situated on a high plateau and in the center of a magnificent forest of giant pines and oaks, being so located as to be ever fanned by the gentle breezes from the many beautiful lakes surrounding it, which will make life one continuous pleasure, for the germ of disease can find no resting place in so blessed a locality.
The size of the lots in Taft are 60x120 feet with alleys 16 feet wide, which is ample room for the building of any business house or average dwelling, and the town will be so laid out as to give every purchaser of the first three thousand farms a lot in the main portion of the city.
The land the projectors have reserved for the site of a park fronts the railroad and is eighteen hundred feet in length by three hundred feet in depth, along which will run the principal business street. The projectors will not dispose of any lot fronting this park to persons other than those agreeing to erect buildings in keeping with a first class and up-to-date little city, as it is their desire that Taft be a model town both in appointment and appearance.
The terms on which farms and town lots are sold in this colony is, $10 down and $10 a month - $200 being the price charged for a ten-acre farm and town lot, a warranty deed to issue when final payment is made. A town lot is give with two five-acre farms.
The conditions of sale of farms and town lots in Prosper Colony differ from those usually in force in colony projects, in that purchasers are shown the exact ground they are buying, and are permitted to purchase as many farms and town lots as they may desire, while in most schemes of this character it is a sight unseen proposition - pay your money and take a grab at the bag. In Prosper Colony the person who buys number one farm gets number one lot, and so on through the three thousand farms that have been placed on the market.
One of the best features connected with the opening up of this vast area of land for colonizing purposes, and one which will add very materially to the welfare of this immediate section, is that the projectors - Mr. B. Beacham of Orlando and Mr. W. L. Van Duzor of Kissimmee - are men whose every interest lies in the development, the prosperity of this state, men who have for years been a party to every advanced step made in this section, and who will turn every dollar of which they may become possessed into the channel for the good of Osceola and Orange counties. They are home men, and have accumulated enough of this world's goods to carry to a successful conclusion any proposition they may undertake. With such men at the helm of such a meritorious enterprise, its complete success is assured. There are already a few colonists located in Taft, among whom are Mr. and Mrs. Carter, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Mr. and Mrs. Lennington, all of Champaign, Ill., and a more intelligent, refined and optimistic body of colonists never have or ever will settle in Florida.
Copyright 2007: Anza Bast
Doanted to the Genealogy Club of Osceola County for posting on their website