VIP-studded ribbon-cutting ceremony
LONGWOOD, FL, UNITED STATES, January 16, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — The East Lake Historical Society’s 10th Annual Heritage Festival will be held at Rock Springs Run State Reserve this year to coincide with the official launch of the Historic Ethel Trail on Saturday, March 9.
The combined free event will include exhibitors with displays from local organizations and crafters, children’s activities, historical memorabilia, as well as food and music. The Historic Ethel Trail will be officially opened with a VIP-studded ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by guided walks along the 1.5-mile wheelchair-accessible loop and tram rides for the mobility impaired.
“We are delighted to partner with the Wekiva Wilderness Trust in launching this exciting historic trail as part of our 10th annual Heritage Festival activities,” said Maureen Miller, president of the East Lake Historical Society.
The Historic Ethel Trail winds through the heart of what was once a sprawling post-Civil War township at Rock Springs Run State Reserve with a station, store, post office, cemetery, and one-room school. Twelve interpretive panels along the way describe the history of Ethel and what life was like back then.
“Almost nothing was known about Ethel until two headstones were found by accident in a remote pasture,” said Philpott, President of the Wekiva Wilderness Trust, the volunteer nonprofit group that supports the work of the Wekiva River Basin State Parks which includes Rock Springs.
“That discovery led to a 10-year research project that has unearthed a treasure trove of information about Ethel which flourished between 1870 and 1920, and the 3,000-acre pre–Civil War Delk Plantation, the largest in central Florida, around present-day Kelly Park,” he said.
Guided tours will be conducted twice a month, but visitors can now do the walk themselves with a self-guided brochure available at the trailhead. School groups are also being encouraged to visit to learn more about their local history.
There are plans to reconstruct two homestead cabins, based on a photograph of a one-room cabin built at Ethel in 1888. One will be a small museum and the other will be furnished – sparsely – as it would have been around that time.
The East Lake Historical Society is a non-profit organization located in Sorrento, dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich history of the East Lake community. Since its establishment in 2008, the society has worked tirelessly to collect, document, and exhibit the history of the area through various events and programs.
For more information contact:
Maureen Miller, President East Lake Historical Society, 352-735-1702
Maggie Fisher, Festival co-chair and East Lake Historical Society Curator, 352-383-3404
Don Philpott, Wekiva Wilderness Trust/Friends of Ethel, 321-477-8442
Don R Philpott
Wekiva Wilderness Trust
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