Gamble Plantation dates to 1844 when north Florida planter Robert Gamble moved to south Florida and established a sugar planation along the Manatee River. Gamble Plantation Historic State Park preserved his mansion house and an important archaeological site where remains of outbuildings and slave quarters associated with this plantation are located. The house itself is remarkable in that it is preserved as there are non others remaining in south Florida. Also nearby are the preserved remains of Gamble's sugar mill.
Gamble plantation was sold in 1858 and its use in the years up to the end of the Civil War is a bit uncertain. The Gamble sugar mill was destroyed in 1864 by the United States Gulf Blockading Squadron. It is alleged that Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin sought refuge here during his escape from the United States following the collapse of the Confederacy in 1865.
Because of the association of the Gamble Plantation and mansion, in 1925 the United Daughters of the Confederacy purchased the mansion and 16 acre site for use as a Confederate Memorial. The UDC is properly credited with preserving this important historical landmark.
Although the site is now operated by the State of Florida Parks Service, its acquisition by the state provided that it would continue to serve as the Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial. The house is furnished an open for tours, and a visitor center provides useful background for your visit. The ruins of the sugar mill are a short drive away.
The visitor center is open 9:00 to 11:45 AM and 12:45 to 5:00 PM Thursday through Monday (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's day). Guided tours of the house are given 6 times daily. Admission is free.
The Florida Public Archaeology Network is dedicated to the protection of cultural resources, both on land and underwater, and to involving the public in the study of their past.
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