The Tungston Plantation of Capps: a plantation with its own town

Susie Reams
ECB Publishing, Inc.

In Jefferson County, there once was a plantation that was its own town...
The plantation was located in Capps, Fla., just a couple of miles south of Monticello. It was the Tungston Plantation, but before the 1970s, Capps wasn’t always known as Capps.
The Tungston Plantation was very popular and eventually grew as its own town, a town that would be named after the plantation it surrounded, Tungston.
The Tungston Plantation was one of the largest plantations in the United States that belonged to single ownership. The Tungston Plantation was owned by Everett P. Larsh, who was an industrialist from Dayton, Ohio and the plantation was managed by L.H. Crampton.
Tungston encompassed about 16,000 acres and half of the plantation was filled with tung oil trees. These type of trees originated from China and every part of the tung trees are poisonous, even though they are used to help treat skin conditions. Not only was tung oil used to waterproof, create paint and varnishes and could be found in a variety of different products, but during WWII, Tung Oil came in good use.
The other 8,000 acres of the plantation made up of cucumber crops, various gas stations, factories, mills, tung nut storage tanks, a large horse stables, a cafe, a bowling alley and houses. There was, also, an airstrip used by one of the first crop dusters in the Southeastern United States. The crop duster would fly over cucumber crops and fertilize the fields. If you search Capps on Google Maps, you can still see where the airstrip for the Tungston Plantation used to be.
Until the 1950s, the production of tung oil trees was at its highest peak – but it all went down from there.
There were competitors from all the United States, competitors that produced cheaper oil seeds, such as soybean or canola, synthetic oils, and the shifting prices eventually led people to choose different types of crops.
Additionally, the winters of the 1950s and 60s were very cold, with temperatures that resulted in hurting the orchards all over the country – including the tung orchards in Capps.
Contributing to the downfall of the Tungston Plantation were a series of hurricanes from the 1965 and 1969, which finalized the death of Tungston Plantation's industry.
Over the years after the plantation was shut down, all of the buildings, machinery and tung storage tanks were demolished. The area was replaced by crops, cow or horse pastures and timberlands.
Today, there is nothing left of the once-so-popular Tungston Plantation, except for the resemblance of an airstrip and few tung oil trees. It is nothing but a ghost town.