Woodbridge, Florida (Seminole County)
Woodbridge was a town settled by black laborers in the 1880s. The area has continued to survive, but passed by and forgotten into the present day (2019). Hard to access, off to the side of 17-92 and Maitland Blvd, its main road is Mechanic Road and it is one of the few areas still with dirt roads in that part of the county.
The settlement is tightly tied (and often overlaps) with the white settlement of Mayo. The South Florida Railroad essentially separated the two settlements. It runs north and south, with Mayo on the east and Woodbridge on the west.
Woodbridge was to be the crossroads of two separate railroads. The South Florida Railroad is the north to south line that still exists, the SunRail follows this route. There was to be an east-west line as well, but it only lasted a few years. At first it was to be a part of the Alabama, Florida & Atlantic Railway that would run 633 miles to Montgomery, Alabama. Funds dried up and plans were scaled back into the Apopka & Atlantic Railroad that would connect Apopka to the east coast via Woodbridge.
The beginnings of it was built from Woodbridge/Mayo Station (near Lake Seminary and 17-92), along the southern shore of Lake Seminary, and it ran west to Forrest City (near the modern day Target). It never made it all the way to Apopka. It only operated for a few years, between 1885 and 1888. The line only had one train engine running with two passenger cars, one combination car, three platform cars, one boxcar, and one observation car.
The main road through the center of the old community is Mechanic Street. Only it doesn’t look like any main road you’ve ever seen, especially one that sits smack in the middle of suburban sprawl all around it. But somehow this tiny area has been able to survive development and modernization. Sometimes the residents to the area resent it and get angry at government. But to a historic minded person, it’s kind of special!
Located on the north side of South Street is the old cemetery for the town, which is actually well north of the originally platted Woodbridge.
New Salem Missionary Baptist Church
This church is one of the last remaining symbols of the old black community of Woodbridge. This is not the original building or original location of the church.
The congregation was originally founded in 1891 and services were hosted in the home of one of the members. In 1929 an unpainted wood-framed church building was constructed.
Old Plat Overlaid on Modern Day Map