Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Brockelman Brothers (January 20, 1928)


Dublin Core


Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Brockelman Brothers (January 20, 1928)

Alternative Title

Chase Correspondence (January 20, 1928)


Windermere (Fla.)
Chase and Company (Sanford, Fla.)
Chase, Joshua Coffin, 1858-1948
Citrus fruit industry--Florida
Tangerine industry
Orange industry--Florida
Freezes (Meteorology)
Grapefruit industry


An original letter of correspondence between Joshua Coffin Chase and Brockelman Brothers, Inc. Topics discussed in the letter include the Isleworth Grove property, the 1894-1895 freeze, the varieties of citrus crops at the grove, the 1928 harvest, the irrigation system in the Lake Butler area, and the Chase packing house.

Chase & Company was established by brothers Sydney Octavius Chase and Joshua Coffin Chase in 1884. The company sold insurance and later invested in storage facilities and fertilizer sales. Chase & Company was known mainly for its agricultural interests and maintained a series of citrus groves throughout Central Florida. The company was based out of Sanford and became one of the city's largest employers into the early twentieth century. By 1886, the Chase brothers purchased several citrus groves to expand their business, including Isleworth Grove in Windermere, Florida. Isleworth Grove covered a total of 1,300 acres along the Butler Chain of Lakes. Between 1894 and 1895, Central Florida was hit by several freezes and most of the citrus crop was destroyed. Chase & Company did not grow citrus crops again until 1904 when Joshua came back from an extended stay in California. Between 1894 and 1900, different types of pesticide equipment was created, including equipment driven by steam, machines, and horses.Randall Chase joined in the family business soon after his brother, Sydney Chase, Jr., did in 1922. Randall became the president of Chase & Company from 1948-1965. The Isleworth property stayed in the Chase family until 1984 when Franklin Chase, the son of Sydney Chase, sold the property to famed golfer Arnold Palmer.


Chase, Joshua Coffin


Original letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Brockelman Brothers, January 20, 1928: box 49, folder 20.84, Chase Collection (MS 14), Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Date Created


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Brockelman Brothers, January 20, 1928.

Is Part Of

Chase Collection (MS 14), box 49, folder 20.84, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Isleworth Collection, Citrus Collection, Chase Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Is Referenced By

Folder referenced in Chase Collection finding guide, http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/chase.htm.




417 KB


2-page typewritten letter






Isleworth Grove, Windermere, Florida
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Ocoee, Florida
Riverside, California

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Economics Teacher
Geography Teacher


Entire Chase Collection is comprised of four separate accessions from various donors, including Cecilia Johnson, the granddaughter of Joshua Coffin Chase and the children of Randall Chase.

Rights Holder

The displayed collection item is housed at Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Rights to this item belong to the said institution, and therefore inquiries about the item should be directed there. RICHES of Central Florida has obtained permission from Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida to display this item for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project

Digital Collections (UFDC), University of Florida


Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

Warner, S.C. "Development of Marketing Citrus Fruits in Florida." Florida State Horticultural Society vol. 36 (1923): 198-200.
Hopkins, James T. Fifty Years of Citrus, the Florida Citrus Exchange: 1909-1959. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press: 1960.
"Joshua Coffin Chase (1858-1948)." Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Copyright 2012. http://floridacitrushalloffame.com/index.php/inductees/inductee-name/?ref_cID=89&bID=0&dd_asId=960.


Chase Correspondence, Box 49, folder 20.84

January 20, 1928.

Brockelman Bros.,
Fitchburg, Mass.


The Isleworth Groves owned by the Chase Investment Company and located at Isleworth, a station on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, about fifteen (15) miles west of Orlando, contains in the tract over a thousand acres, of which five hundred acres are planted to citrus fruit.

The attention of Mr. S. O. Chase and Mr. J. C. Chase, who make up the Chase Investment company, was attracted to this location thirty-seven (37) years ago, owing to its immunity from frost damage. The Seminole Indians who occupied this territory realized that it was warmer than elsewhere, as the region was known to them as “Ocooee”, or “warm place”.

The freeze that visited Florida in the winter of 1894-95 that practically annihilated the Florida orange industry, did less damage at Isleworth than elsewhere in the State. At that time the property comprised 750 Seedling trees. Those were brought back into bearing and the additional acreage has been developed by degrees since 1904.

The owners used care in selecting for planting the very best obtainable varieties consisting mostly of Dancy Tangerines, Pineapple Oranges, Valencias and Grapefruit. Prof. A. D. Shamel of the United States Department of Agriculture, now stationed at Riverside, California, was the first to call the citrus industry’s attention to propagating with buds selected from trees with an established record for producing the largest crop of the best fruit. Isleworth was fortunate in being benefited by this knowledge, and the owners feel that they have the very best strain of the various varieties produced commercially in Florida.

The assortment of varieties gives them the benefit of a long shipping season.

We are now winding up our tangerines and mid-season oranges and picking on our pineapple oranges. At the same time we are moving grapefruit on orders from our regular customers. Towards the end of February, 1st the First of March we start moving our Valencia oranges, and make our final shipment of grapefruit, consisting of the Marsh Seedless variety.

Isleworth Groves are one of the largest acreage under one fence, and ownership, in Orange County. Owing to the fact that the tract is surrounded by lakes, of which
Lake Butler is the largest, it has been possible for the owners to install an irrigating system so that water can be applied when needed, and the trees are maintained in a flourishing condition. The fruit is never permitted to become stunted from lack of water.

The packinghouse is equipped with the latest and most up-to-date machinery, which includes a pre-cooling or cold storage plant. When the fruit is packed it is held twenty-four (24) hours in these rooms until all of the heat has been removed, and is then loaded into refrigerator cars at the door, thereby insuring good condition on arrival and prolonging the life of the fruit while it is in the hands of the jobber, the retailer and the consumer. All of the fruit is treated with a solution of borax which acts as a preservative and eliminates any decay germs that some times attack fruit.

In the near future we will have aerial photographs of the property and expect to include one of these cuts in every box that goes forward.

We appreciate the order you have favored us with thru our Boston representative, Samuel J. Shallow Company, and feel sure that when your patrons’ attention is called to the superior merits of Isleworth brand of fruit it will result in your becoming one of our very best distributors in your territory.

We are now in position to take care of a limited number of straight cars of Florida mid-season oranges, pineapple oranges, grapefruit and Valencia oranges. There may be one, two, or more cars of late tangerines which will be ready for the market in February.

Yours very truly,


Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

2-page typewritten letter


Chase, Joshua Coffin, “Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Brockelman Brothers (January 20, 1928),” RICHES, accessed April 25, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/2699.