Old Venus, A Florida Ghost Town
by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)
Old Venus Florida Cracker House
Take US-27 north out of Moore Haven and it won't be many miles before you come to Palmdale, a sign on the road, and a little bit further is the road that leads west to Old Venus.
Venus is a place name on the Florida map about an hour's drive east of Fort Myers or Punta Gorda. Most folks in this part of Florida call it Old Venus, but I don't know why.
Maybe there was a Venus that burned down and was replaced by a New Venus, and the former town was referred to as Old Venus. It will take a true historian to solve that riddle.
There isn't much to see in Old Venus these days. A couple of weathered old Florida cracker houses, a shed or two, and the silence I've only known in the great Florida wilderness.
In Old Venus, the only sounds are the wind rustling through the palms and pines, and the singing of the birds. There is still a lot of this old Florida wilderness around, but one has to get away from the coasts to find it.
I don't imagine Old Venus was ever a very large town. It was probably just another of Florida's forgotten places, maybe a sawmill town that existed only long enough for the lumbermen to exhaust the then seemingly inexhaustible stands of pine and cypress that filled this area on the western edge of the Everglades.
A couple of people still live in Old Venus, but the place is as quiet as a cemetery. It is a reminder of the Florida that intrigued me back in 1960 when I first arrived in the Sunshine State.
Old Venus is north of Palmdale, about 3 miles west of US Highway 27. Palmdale is a spot in the woods with a few scattered homes. The area is north of Labelle, via State Road 29, and north of Moore Haven via US Highway 27.
This lonely place is in the heart of the vast land holdings of Lykes Brothers, one of Florida's pioneer and still active agricultural giants.
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