beulah baptist church
Serving Christ Since 1913
Beulah predates the Civil War, and the small community was settled before Winter Garden came into existence. Yet, all that’s left of the name are the road, a church, a pioneer cemetery and a lake. The community has been absorbed by Orange County.
The Beulah Settlement, originally called the Reaves Settlement, was carved from the wilderness about five miles south of Lake Apopka.
In January 1860, the Bartlett B. Reams family arrived in the area from Merriweather County, Ga., according to a book written by William Freemont Blackman about the history of Orange County. Also traveling with Reams were the W.C. Roper and Andrew Jackson Dunaway families — in a caravan of 28 horses and mules, five wagons, two carriages and one buggy.
The Reaves family, including Daniel Asbury and Rawlins Lowndes Reaves, settled there in 1867 and owned much of the property in the community, according to an article written in 1934 by Winter Garden’s first mayor, A.B. Newton.
The community also boasted the only schoolhouse in the area.
The community continued to grow and develop until the 1880s and 1890s, when rail lines were extended to the north, leading to the birth of Winter Garden and its growth explosion.
Beulah might have lost its foothold as an up-and-coming town, and it might have lost many of its original settlers to Winter Garden, but there is still evidence of the pioneer community with the names Beulah and Reaves scattered throughout the community, which is less than one square mile.
Beulah Cemetery is nestled among large oak trees just west of Lake Beulah.
West Orange County’s pioneer children had to travel to Beulah for their education, as the Beulah School, established in 1860, was the only formal educational facility in the area for decades, and students attended until the Orange County School Board closed it in 1946.
A log building matching the original Beulah church was built as a school for the surrounding areas.
Classrooms were divided into older and younger classes, and both had combined grade levels.
One teacher in the early 1900s would on occasion take her little boy to class with her, according to one Orange County history account. The child, Elmer Badger, who played and crawled around his mother’s desk as she taught, grew up to be a dedicated schoolteacher in West Orange County.
The schoolhouse at Beulah served as the center of the settlement’s social activities, before there was an Oakland, Ocoee or Gotha.
When the school was closed, the school board sold the school buildings to the Baptist church for $1, and the church used the timbers from the old school to build the parsonage.
Lake Beulah is located just east of the Beulah Cemetery and at one time, supplied water for agriculture.