DeBary Florida, Benson Junction and Ox Fibre Brush Company
by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)
Ox Fibre Brush Company
Back in the 1970's I was wandering around the back roads near DeBary, Florida, and came upon an old abandoned factory on the west side of US 17-92 on Benson Junction Road. It was west of where present day Dirksen Drive meets the highway on the south side of DeBary.
There were no fences around the building and no signs warning away trespassers, so I entered and began looking around. It was obvious this was an old broom factory that made brooms out of palmetto plant fibers. There were boxes of whisk brooms scattered around, and ledgers and invoices on the floor indicated that this had been the Ox Fibre Brush Company.
It was ghostly in that old plant; you could almost hear the voices of workers and the hum of machinery in the gloomy silence.
Subsequent research informed me that Ox Fibre Brush Company had several plants in addition to this one in Florida. In the 1950's they were the largest brush manufacturer in the world, making 500,000 whisk brooms and brushes per year. The little town where the plant was located was named Benson Junction. All that remains now is Benson Junction Road.
Like so many other American factories, foreign competition put Ox Fibre out of business. It couldn't compete with the cheap plastic brooms and brushes made in China and elsewhere.
The photograph above is from Wikipedia, and is originally from the State Archives of Florida.