Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve | THEODORE ROOSEVELT AREA

Willie Browne donated the Roosevelt Area land in 1969

Willie Browne donated the Roosevelt Area land in 1969

The Theodore Roosevelt Area is one of four land units in Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve that are owned by the National Park Service, the others being Fort Caroline National Memorial, the grounds of Kingsley Plantation, and the Cedar Point natural area. The land was originally donated to the Nature Conservancy in 1969 by Willie Browne, a man who had lived on the property his entire life. He admired Theodore Roosevelt for his conservation efforts, and his only request when donating the land was that it be named after the former President. The National Park Service acquired the land in 1990 for the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

William and Eliza Browne purchased the land in 1889, and though they later moved away in the early 1900s, their two sons, Willie and Saxon, remained and spent their entire lives on the property, making their livings fishing, farming, and running a sawmill. Saxon died in 1953, while Willie lived until 1970. Though the property was worth over a million dollars to developers—who made many offers to the Brownes—they lived in a small house with no modern conveniences and donated the land for free so it would not be developed.

The property is the largest of the National Park Service land units in the Timucuan Preserve, but only a small part of it is accessible via three trails: the Spanish Pond Trail, the Willie Browne Trail, and the Timucuan Trail. The area has its own parking lot that allows access to the Willie Brown Trail, as well as a couple of picnic tables and a modern restroom facility. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. See the Hiking Trails web page for details on the trails.

Along the Willie Browne Trail is the site of his former cabin and the Browne family cemetery where he, his parents, and his brother Saxon are buried, plus a few of their neighbors.

Willie Browne cabin site in the Theodore Roosevelt area of the Timucuan Preserve

Willie Browne cabin site in the Theodore Roosevelt area of the Timucuan Preserve

Browne family tombstone, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Browne family tombstone, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

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Last updated on April 16, 2022
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