Way before Crystal River was world famous for swimming with Manatee, it had a super rich history.
Fun Facts about Crystal River Florida
This tranquil community is known as the place “Where Man and Manatee Play.”
There really is a Crystal River in Crystal River, Florida. It is a six mile long winding waterway fed by 30 springs.
Crystal River is at the heart of the Nature Coast of Florida.
During excavations for the Florida Nuclear Power Plant in 1969, scientists discovered Rhinoceros and Mastadon bones, as well as the shells of an extremely large armadillo and a large land tortoise.
A very early industry in the area was the turpentine business
After the civil war, Crystal River became wealthy for growing citrus.
Other early industry in the Crystal River area included cedar mills.
The Dixon Cedar Mill was one of the largest industries in Crystal River, providing employment to many in the area, including women and African Americans.
Historians have claimed crystal river to be, “one of the richest phosphate deposits in the world”.
Things to Do When Visiting Crystal River Florida
Cruising around Crystal River
Sport Fishing – Crystal River is known for record breaking catches of tarpon, reds and trout.
The Crystal River State Archeological Site – 61-acre, pre-Columbian, Native American site has burial mounds, temple/platform mounds, a plaza area and a substantial midden. Things within the park: fishing, boat tours, museum, wildlife viewing.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park – They offer daily educational programs for: wildlife encounters, manatee, and alligator and even a hippopotamus.
Naber Kids Tour – factory of collectible dolls that have been made since 1970.
Howard’s Flea Market – Open since 1972 rain or shine, Howard’s is open. This flea market is covered. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday is Free!
Coastal heritage museum – the coastal heritage museum is located in the old Crystal River City Hall. The old city hall was built in 1939 and is listed on the national register of historic places. The coastal heritage museum is part of the Citrus County Historical Society based in the old Citrus County courthouse in Inverness. Admission is free.
Three Sisters Springs – It is a complex of three spring areas, with many vents and sand boils that help feed Kings Bay. These springs also constitute one of the most important natural warm-water refuges for the endangered Florida manatee.
Manatee Festival – Date: January 18 & 19 (Saturday & Sunday), 2014; Time: Saturday 9:00AM – 5:00PM, Sunday 9:00AM – 4:00PM; Cost: Donation of $4.00 per person, children 12 and under FREE. During the festival you can find: artwork, jewelry, live entertainment, boat tours, child activities (playground, educational games, climbing wall, bounce house)
- Heritage village – It consists of many Unique Gift and Specialty Shops, a charming Tea Bar and The Café on the Avenue. The town still carries the reputation of a Fisherman Village from days gone by.
Crystal River Florida Historic Facts
Long before Europeans came to the New World, native civilizations recognized the resources of the Crystal River area and left signs of their presence, some of which have been excavated and made accessible to visitors.
The Deptford culture lived here from 500 BC to 300 A.D, then the Weedon Island culture from 300 to 900 AD, and finally, the Safety Harbor culture from about 900 A.D. until perhaps 1400 A.D.
Following the Second Seminole War, settlers were encouraged into the area due to the passing of the Armed Occupation Act of 1842 by the United States Federal Government. Twenty-two men filed for patents for land in Crystal River.
By the mid-1800s, families began to settle in the Crystal River area.
Early settlers to the area had found wild citrus trees growing in abundance, thanks in part to the Spanish explorers who had brought oranges with them on their ships.
By the time of the Civil War, Florida was an important source and supplier of food and other goods. The Union was aware of this, and soon after the war began, the Union Navy blockade the entire coast of Florida.
However the “Big Freeze” of 1894-1895 destroyed most of the citrus groves in the county.
Crystal River had been part of Hernando County since its inception in 1843.
By the late 1800s, the area along the west side of the county was growing rapidly, and the citizens of the area began to see a need for a new county with a county seat that was easier to reach. In 1887, Hernando County was divided into three parts: Pasco County, Hernando County, and Citrus County.
Although it was not of the scale of Florida’s larger Civil War battles at Olustee, Natural Bridge and Marianna, the Battle of Crystal River was fierce and bloody.
In 1888, the railroad reached Crystal River.
Phosphate was discovered in 1889 in the east side of Citrus County.
The phosphate industry would boom in Crystal River and Citrus County until 1914, when it could no longer be shipped due to World War I.
Crystal River became a town in 1903. It was official incorporated as a city on July 3, 1923