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Plantation Paradise | Photo © 2018 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

Plantation Paradise

Location Class:
Built: 1952 | Abandoned: 2004
Status: Under Renovation
Photojournalist: David Bulit

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Plantation Paradise, 1960s postcard

Born in Philadelphia in 1919, Harold “Jake” Emminger came to Florida during World War II as an Air Force captain stationed at MacDill Air Force Base. Upon leaving the military, he decided to remain in Florida and founded Plantation Paradise in 1952, located just south of Lake Placid.

Plantation Paradise, often referred to as Pineapple Plantation, was a fruit stand and gift shop. For over 50 years, locals and tourists were lured by the golden pineapple sign outside the shop to enjoy homemade preserves, frosty pineapple juice, and other delicacies. According to Emminger, pineapple toothpaste, wine, and candy were the biggest sellers among the 200 tourists who stopped in daily.

Business slowed down in the 1980s and was made worse when a freeze severely damaged Emminger’s 15 acres of pineapples, forcing him to import pineapples from Mexico instead. In 1985, he married Virginia McKenna and moved to Parrish, about 80 miles away from Lake Placid. But that didn’t stop him as he commuted to Plantation Paradise to continue his reign as “The Pineapple King”. This was around the same time that the Placid Tower also closed down due to low ticket sales.

He continued working there until his retirement in 2004 at the age of 85. He later passed away in 2008. The fruit stand has sat empty since his retirement with postcards laying strewn about the shop, the backs containing various recipes such as key lime pie and pineapple margarita. The golden pineapple still stands outside along the highway with an osprey has used to build its nest.


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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