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 afterwards, 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 judgement 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. Some time later, bulldozers and trucks were sighted in the fenced in area.







22 Comments

  1. My grandmother and grandfather met here, and were married here. My grandmother still has pictures and plots of Brewster, as well as some other documents and memorabilia.

    Please get in touch wtih me via e-mail if you are interested in any of this info.

    • Need an email to contact. Would really like to get a set of pictures.
      Thx.

    • I am the county coordinator for the FLGenWeb Project, Inc. -Polk County – I have a small page or 2 for Brewster and if you might consider sharing a few photo’s of Brewster for the site I would Love it- http://fl-genweb.org/decole/Polk/Brewster/Index.html – I included the URL for the Brewster page I have if you care to check it out-
      Thank You- Peggy

    • I am trying to find someone that lived in Brewster,Fl around 1946-48 by the name of Frances Freeman, that had a girl named Brenda L born around 1946-48. Do you have any information on this family? Thanking you in advance for any information you can provide.

    • Hi Josh my students complete a project study every year on Brewster. I’d love to share your grandmother’s story with them. Is there any way I could interview her?

    • I’m interested in information about brewster. Please get in touch with me at my email.

  2. My great grandparents ran the hotel in Brewster in 1920. I would love to find out if you have any old photos. Please contact me. sillymaxx at hotmail dot come

  3. Peggy – I have no problem with you using any of my pictures. Only…it has been so long I’m not sure what disc they are stored on. If you want to copy and paste the ones from this site or the ghosttowns.com site that is OK with me. That is if they are not too small. The B&W’s of Brewster are on the web but the most striking picture of the townsite was in the Mulberry Phosphate Museum. I’ll see what I can do with my files. Let me know.

  4. So is this place still standing? Or has it been demolished completely?

  5. I Was Raised In Mulberry And Use To Play In Brewster As A Teen! I’m A Freelance Photographer Now So I Went Down To Brewster Last Weekend! I Havn’t Been There In Years! I Got Some Very Cool Shots! The Gas Station And Bar Still Stand But I Couldn’t Find Anything Else! If You Would Like To See The Photos Please Go To Facebook “Charity Marie Freelance Photographer” Thanks :)

  6. I would like some more information on the houses moved. I think my house came from there. I have uncovered wood that has Amalyamated phosphate co. Chicora fla wrote on the back of the wood. Did they manufacture wood? It is tongue and grove but on the wall. House was built in 1928. Also name of Jennie Jackson under a piece of wood on the plaster walls. You can email me at bec8roy@gmail. Thanks

    • Hello, my husband & I just bought one of these homes. Built in 1928, came from Brewster, house sets now on East Street in Bradley Junction. I’m trying to find out any info or pictures or past ownerships. Any history is greatly appreciated.

  7. My Grandfathers family lived in Brewster in the teens and early twenties. He was born in a mining town called Pierce, that was nearby. When the mine swallowed the town the miners families were all moved to Brewster. My great aunt was born in Brewster.
    When the town was shut down, people were offered the opportunity to buy their homes and many of them did. They were mostly moved to Bradley.
    My great aunt used to talk about all the Germans that lived in Brewster. Mining was an ‘educated’ profession for the area and there were a lot of chemists and engineers living in the town. When the First World War broke out, the Germans were nervous about their status, so they burned the kaiser in effigy to show people where their sympathies lay.
    The entire town basically shut down in the summer for a week or two and everyone would load up on a train and go to what I think was an early resort at Saint James City on Pine Island. The men would net mullet and the women would sit on the beach and gut the mullet and put them in barrels of salt to preserve them. At the end of the week they would all go home and the salt mullet would be breakfast for everyone for the rest of the year. My grandfather said he woke to the smell of salt mullet frying every morning.

  8. Hey all, the town Of Brewster sounds like it was a great place to live and grow up. Many of you have great memories and sounds as if you would like to know more. Myself, my brother and a close friend have a small metal detecting club where we like to travel around Florida trying to find History. We look for period relics, dated coins and jewelry from the time a town was established to the time of its abandonment. We would like to look into coming to Brewster to search some of the area and see what we could find. We are looking for help from anyone who would know where we could detect. If we need some kind of permission, who would we speak to. We would be pleased to show what we found to anyone who would allow us to detect on their property. We abide to a national code of Metal Detectors who follow a strict set of rules for digging a property and the repair and cleanup of the area we search. If you have any information or you would allow us to detect your property please contact me at pressme10@yahoo.com. Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you soon.

  9. As of 2/22/2016 the bar and gas station are still standing but nothing else is left. Mosaic has a new facility where Brewster once stood and is actively mining in the area.

  10. Are they mining where the homesteads were. I notice there was white housing and negro housing sites. That is where I would like to metal detect.

  11. I can tell you that the negro housing area has been all dredged up.

  12. Was wondering if anyone knew what the old zip code was for the old town of Brewster I know it had a post office