ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Crystal River, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Crystal River, Florida
Crystal River, Florida
The beautiful river that gives the city its name is
seen here from the top of an ancient Indian mound at
Crystal River Archaeological State Park.
Crystal River, Florida
Noted for its relaxed coastal
flavor, numerous historic
sites and stunning natural
setting, Crystal River is a
jewel of the Florida Coast.
West Indian Manatee
Manatee watching is popular
with visitors to the Crystal
River area. The creatures are
commonly seen in the winter.
Crystal River Mounds
This huge platform mound is
one of six ancient Indian
mounds at Crystal River
Archaeological State Park.
Crystal River, Florida - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Clear Water, Manatee & History
Crystal River Preserve
The boat tours from Crystal
River Preserve State Park are
a great way to learn more
about the heritage and
ecology of the Crystal River
Nestled in a stunning environment of crystal
clear springs, marshes and scenic vistas,
Crystal River is one of the most historic
communities on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

A playground for West Indian Manatee and
other wildlife, the river from which Crystal
River takes its name has been named an
Outstanding Florida Water. It was the river
itself that first brought humans to this
beautiful section of the Florida coast.

Although it was the presence of fine groves of
Southern red cedar in the area that brought
the modern city of Crystal River to life, the
area has been inhabited for thousands of
years. In fact, the community is home to one
of the nation's most important archaeological

Crystal River Archaeological State Park is a
National Historic Landmark that preserves a
complex of six Native American mounds. The
site has long been recognized as one of the
most significant in the nation and there are
clear indications that the inhabitants were
part of a highly advanced culture.

Visitors today can explore the mounds, see
ancient stone pillars erected by the Indians
who lived there and take in phenomenal
views of the Crystal River from the top of the
largest mound.
Please click here to learn
more about Crystal River Archaeological
State Park.

During the Civil War the Crystal River was a
major port for blockade runners. These sleek
schooners and sloops, usually privately
owned, slipped in and out of the river to
smuggle cargoes past the warships of the
Union Navy.

Although they were generally out-gunned by
the warships offshore, the Confederate
troops and volunteers watching the Crystal
River could sometimes be quite aggressive.
On June 29, 1862, they decoyed one of the
blockade ships to send a small boat with
eight men into the river. Once the Federals
were out of sight of their vessel, they were
ambushed by Confederates. In the fight that
followed, five Union sailors were killed, the
officer was mortally wounded and two others
were captured.
Please click here to learn
more about the Battle of Crystal River.

In the years after the war, the great stands of
Southern red cedar in the area attracted the
attention of industrialists and Crystal River
became a major source of quality wood for
pencils, furniture and cabinets. The industry
gave birth to the modern community, which
over time has settled into a charming
existence as a beautiful coastal city. Home to
just under 4,000 people, Crystal River
attracts visitors by the thousands.
The city is set in one of the most pristine
environments in all of Florida and eco-
tourism is big business for the entire area. Of
particular interest to many visitors are the
West Indian Manatee that come into the
Crystal River and other nearby springs and
streams to escape the colder waters of the
Gulf of Mexico during the winter months.

These huge magnificent creatures, once
called sea cows, are believed (somehow)
responsible for the stories once told by
sailors of mermaids. Peaceful and slow
moving, they graze on grass and vegetation
and are astounding to see.

Numerous tour companies operate from
Crystal River and the surrounding area to
help visitors get up close and personal with
the manatee. Nearby Homosassa Springs
Wildlife State Park is also a great place to
learn about the manatee.
Please click here to
learn more.

Another great place to get up and close with
Florida's natural ecosystems is the Crystal
River Preserve State Park, which borders 20
miles of the Gulf Coast. The park offers boat
tours spotlighting the heritage and ecology of
the area.
Please click here to learn more.

Crystal River is located at the intersection of
U.S. 19/U.S. 98 and State Road 40, one hour
southwest of Ocala.
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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