NAME: Welchton
COUNTY: Marion
CLIMATE: Fine, Hot in Summer
COMMENTS: Silver Springs Shores now is in the middle of the Welchton site. Location: 6 miles N.W. of Lake Weir on Hy 464 (Maricamp Road)
REMAINS: Little to none
In 1884 a little town was conceived to cultivate grapes on 7000 acres of pine land betwen Ocala and Candler. It was located on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Founded by a gentleman from the North by the name of Captain John M Welch. He erected a three story, 40 room hotel, and a Post Office. Approximately 200 Italian immigrants came to Welchton to farm the orchards. Apparantly the houses were much better built than the normal pioneer construction by using ovelapping sides rather than the vertical boards. The general store provided the hardware, dress material, food, and all the other essential goods for the area however, some did prefered to shop in nearby Ocala. Everyday the Atlantic Coast Line train would stop at the hotel and the passangers would disembark and and take a noonday meal. The grapes did not fair well in the area since little was known about the preparation that the local soil required. With the failure of the grapes many left. After this the general store and hotel closed. The remaining residents subsisted on normal Florida crops including citrus. The 1895 freeze wiped out most of that crop. The Post Office closed in 1898 and moved to Candler, just to the south. After the development of Welchton failed Mr. Welch reportedly ran a restaurant around 1910 at the corner of Broadway and Osceola in Ocala. Submitted by: Mike Woodfin