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Astor

The unincorporated community of Astor, Florida is nestled on the west side of the St. John’s River between Lake George and Lake Dexter. A census designated place of Lake County,

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Astor

The unincorporated community of Astor, Florida is nestled on the west side of the St. John’s River between Lake George and Lake Dexter. A census designated place of Lake County, Astor is a small vacation community about an hours’ drive north of Orlando. It is entirely contained within the boundaries of Ocala National forest, the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River, and the southernmost national forest in the continental United States.

Efforts to settle and develop the land along the St. John’s River were largely unsuccessful until 1874, when a wealthy New Yorker named William Astor, Jr. purchased 12,000 acres of land and undertook the establishment of a town he called Manhattan. Astor constructed a church, a schoolhouse, a botanical garden, a hotel, and eventually a railroad. Settlers arrived by steamboat on the river, and the town looked to burgeon into a prominent community. However, after William Astor’s death in 1892, his heir sold the family interests, and as steamboat travel was replaced by the quicker and more convenient travel by, the town quieted down and became something of a wallflower in the Florida economy. Its citizens renamed the community Astor in honor of its founder.

Today, Astor is largely reliant upon tourism. Situated on the shores of the St. John’s River, it is a popular spot for snowbirds from the north, as well as for fishing, hunting, and boating enthusiasts. Couched within the Ocala National Forest, it is a place of incredible natural beauty, with quiet camping spots, secluded hiking trails, and diverse wildlife. Astor is one of Florida’s hidden gems: a quaint, riverfront town waiting to be discovered and admired.

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