Welaka, FL


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Welaka is a town situated on the St. Johns River in Putnam County, Florida. The population was 586 as of the 2000 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 estimates, the town had a population of 604. The town is part of the Palatka Micropolitan Statistical Area.
It is not known when the area was first settled, but the nearby Mount Royal archaeological site is a possible remnant of a Timucua Indian village from ca. 1250 to 1500 AD, and may have a connection to the town of Enacape, an important center of the Utina tribe.
The settlement was originally a 500-acre tract purchased by James William Bryant in 1852 and was known as Mt. Tucker. Prior to the war, there were large orange groves and cotton plantations. In 1860, Welaka's population was slightly over 100. At the end of the Civil War, fewer than 20 remained. The town grew again and was incorporated on June 21, 1887 and Welaka was affirmed as the town's name; the name Welaka is said to have been derived from the word local American Indians used for the St. Johns River. By the 1880s, Welaka had become a resort town, marketing itself to visitors seeking medicinal cures from the mineral water of the local springs. The Welaka Mineral Water Company was incorporated in 1907.