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Secretary Detzner Announces the Designation of Highlands Hammock State Park on the National Register of Historic Places


Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today Highlands Hammock State Park has been listed on the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.

"This National Register listing recognizes Highlands Hammock State Park as one of the foundational properties of the state parks system," said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. "Originally developed by the Roebling family and later expanded to include the Florida Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, this park set a pattern for park design and management throughout Florida."


Highlands Hammock State Park is located near Sebring in Highlands County. The original core of Highlands Hammock was constructed by John and Margaret Shippen Roebling in 1930. The Roeblings built a number of major elements, including a water control system, vesper field, road and trail system and cottages.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched his "New Deal" plan to employ millions of workers. Part of that plan was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a federal civic works program that employed young, unmarried men to build roads, bridges, parks, and buildings. The CCC was run in a military fashion with units of men deployed to projects, in contrast to the Works Progress Administration which focused on similar projects local to worker's homes. The CCC built the Florida Botanical Gardens and Arboretum during the 1930s. Prominent landscape architects assisting the CCC on this project included Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., William Lyman Phillips, and Charles Raymond Vinten, who also worked on the Roebling portion of the park. In 1939, the two adjacent parks were merged into Highlands Hammock State Park.

The park is also significant for its association with Carol Beck, who worked at the park from 1949 to 1965. She was a botanist and naturalist at Highlands Hammock before becoming the first chief naturalist for the Florida Park Service. Beck was the first female field employee hired by the parks and became instrumental in shaping state park policies for interpretation and conservation. Today, the entirety of Highlands Hammock State Park is a significant naturalistic park, preserving a variety of Florida landscapes from old-growth hammock and cypress swamp to open pinelands. A greenhouse and arboretum constructed by the CCC are still present, along with a significant concentration of New Deal-era Rustic architecture. Learn more about Highlands Hammock State Park or plan your next visit at

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About The National Register of Historic Places The National Register of Historic Places is a list maintained by the National Park Service which includes historical or archaeological properties including buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts, that are considered worthy of preservation because of their local, statewide and/or national significance. Nominations for properties in Florida are submitted to the National Park Service through the Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources. Florida has over 1,700 listings on the National Register, including 295 historic districts and 175 archaeological sites. There are more than 50,000 sites contributing to the National Register in Florida. For more information, visit For more information about the National Register of Historic Places program administered by the National Park Service, visit


About The Florida Department of State's Bureau of Historic Preservation

The Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) conducts historic preservation programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, preserving and interpreting the historic and cultural resources of the state. The Bureau manages the Florida Main Street Program, and under federal and state laws, oversees the National Register of Historic Places program for Florida, maintains an inventory of the state's historical resources in the Florida Master Site File, assists applicants in federal tax benefit and local government ad valorem tax relief programs for historic buildings, and reviews the impact that development projects may have on significant historic resources. For more information, visit