Discover natural Florida at Babcock Ranch
The Babcock story begins in the logging town of Ashtola, Pennsylvania. Mr. Edward Vose (E.V.) Babcock founded Babcock Lumber Company there in 1889. The company has since grown to be one of the largest lumber companies in the country. In 1914, E.V. Babcock founded Babcock Florida Company and purchased 156,000 acres of land in Florida. His son, Mr. Fred Babcock transferred 65,000 acres of this land to the state in the 1940's. Today, this state land is called Fred C. Babcock / Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area. The remainder of the property, some 90,000+ acres is known today as the Crescent B Ranch.
Originally the land was bought for its stand of longleaf pine and cypress, and logging was the main activity during the early part of its history. What is now Ranch headquarters was at one time the logging town of Rouxville-population approximately 200. The railroad ran through the ranch to provide shipping for the logging trade. Railway boxcars with the wheels removed provided homes for many of the residents.
The original ranch Commissary, still used today, included the office and family residence for the manager and the company store where employees purchased, clothing, and other necessities. The Commissary also included a doctor's office. The Babcock Florida Company medical plan covered most medical expenses. Employees paid 40 cents a month for health care-from birth to burial. For "2-bits" extra the doctor provided a haircut. An apartment for the school teacher, who drove the children of Rouxville to the Punta Gorda town school every day, was also located in the Commissary.
Babcock's Crescent B ranch encompasses a 90,000+ acre area. The ranch is considered an inland, upland, fresh water eco-system. It includes a variety of habitats such as: oak hammocks, pine woods, pastures, wet lands and the 10,000 acre Telegraph Cypress Swamp, so named because telegraph communication lines had to be routed around the swamp. Ranch land extends into Charlotte and Lee counties, in a 153 square mile contiguous block-six times the size of the island of Manhattan. Cowhands on registered quarter horses work the cattle herds much the same as in the past. Horses and dogs are still used today because cattle often roam into areas inaccessible to jeeps and trucks.
Babcock Ranch serves as an important base for agricultural companies. Tenant farmers harvest a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, squash, zucchini, beans, lettuce and watermelons. Bahia and Floratam sod farming is an integral part of our agricultural operation.