Astor, Florida is an unincorporated village on State Road 40 as it crosses the St. Johns River. It is on the west bank of the river in Lake County. Its population in the 2020 census was 1,595.
The unincorporated settlement along the east bank is in Volusia County and is officially known as Volusia. Most folks call both sides of the river Astor.
The roots of modern day Astor go back to 1874 when William B. Astor, Jr. bought 12,000 acres of land along the river and named it Manhattan.
Astor was a descendant of the extremely wealthy John Jacob Astor, American's first multi-millionaire.
Early settlers in Manhattan came by steamboat down the St. Johns River. Astor built a church, school, botanical garden and cemetery.
He followed up with a sawmill and hotel and built the St. John's and Lake Eustis Railway to Eustis and Leesburg.
When William Astor died in 1892, the residents said to hell with the name of Manhattan and renamed the town Astor.
Astor's children inherited the Florida land but had no interest in developing it, so the properties were sold.
The expansion of the railroads in central Florida put a real crimp in steamboat travel on the St. Johns and the town began a quick decline.
The last major construction in town was the bridge across the St Johns River in 1926.
Astor has a large network of man made canals that provides access to the St. Johns River for its many fishing oriented residents.
The entire area called Astor is within the boundaries of the Ocala National Forest.
A major attraction in Astor for years was the Blackwater Inn. It was noted for its good seafood and great river views from the main dining room downstairs and Williams Landing on the second floor.
The restaurant changed hands and and has reopened under a new name, Drifters Riverfront.
It is the headquarters for boat rentals and boat tours, and is near local lodging facilities.
Many Astor residents commute either west to the larger Lake County towns or east to the Daytona Beach area for their jobs.
The community also relies heavily on ecotourism and is a popular destination for fishermen, hunters and boaters.