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Brewster | Photo © 2007 Jim Pike

The Town of Brewster

Location Class:
Built: 1910 | Abandoned: N/A
Status: Disappearing Town
Photojournalist: David Bulit
Brewster - Photo Courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection
Photo Credit: Florida Photographic Collection, 1920s – The Brewster power plant

The town of Brewster was founded in 1910 to accommodate the workers at the time who spent the day working at the nearby phosphate mine. Operated by American Cyanamid, the mine was located hours away from the nearest town. The town was built and expecting all the workers to live there, the needs of the town’s people were met, including schools, a movie theater, medical clinic, post office and swimming pool. As segregation was an issue at the time, whites lived in a section of town located south of the mine while blacks lived in a section to the east.

In the 1960s, the company planned to close the mining town and offered the workers a choice; the townspeople can buy their houses and move or the house would be demolished. Many bought their houses at low prices and moved to the nearest towns of Ft. Meade, Bartow, and Mulberry. The town was officially closed in 1962 and though much of the town was demolished afterward, the drying plants, shops, main office, and chemical plant remained. In 1976, a mine was built in Fort Lonesome and the few functioning structures in Brewster were moved there.

The deed to the town was turned over to the state of Florida for a partial payment of a judgment made against American Cyanamid for environmental damages.

In 2008, it was found that the company that owned the property, Mosaic Co., a phosphate and potash producer, had fenced in the smokestack and surrounding structures with barbed wire. Sometime later, bulldozers and trucks were sighted in the fenced-in area.


David Bulit is a photographer, author, and historian from Miami, Florida. He has published a number of books on abandoned and forgotten locales throughout the United States and continues to advocate for preserving these historic landmarks. His work has been featured throughout the world in news outlets such as the Miami New Times, the Florida Times-Union, the Orlando Sentinel, NPR, Yahoo News, MSN, the Daily Mail, UK Sun, and many others. You can find more of his work at davidbulit.com as well as amazon.com/author/davidbulit.

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