Demens Sawmill

The factory was built somewhere around 1880. It was owned by P. A. Demens & Company, the corporation of railroad man Peter Demens. It was located where the SunRail overflow parking lot is today, on the block between Warren Avenue and Bay Avenue at Myrtle Street. It filled the entire block all the way to Olenader Street on the east.

The 1884-85 State Gazetteer and Business Directory stated that Longwood’s chief industry was a sash, door and blind factory. This was P.A. Demens & Co., owned and operated by Peter Demens.

Demens obtained the contract to build railroad station houses for the South Florida Railroad from Lakeland to Dade City. He also supplied labor and materials for some of the buildings at Rollins College in Winter Park.

Another Demens contract was for railroad ties for the Orange Belt Railway, chartered in April of 1885. It was to run from Lake Monroe to the south side of Lake Apopka, but the organizers were unable to pay Demens the $9,400 for the rails and instead conveyed the railroad to him. Demens then took the rails he had used on a narrow gauge line he had along W. Bay Ave. and completed the line to Oakland in November of 1886. The line reached the Tampa Bay area in June of 1888, and the community there was named St. Petersburg in honor of his hometown.