Lake Jesup

Lake Jesup is the largest lake in Seminole county Florida. Undoubtedly stolen from the Native Americans, Lake Jesup was the most interior trading post on the St. Johns river once upon a time; the edge of wilderness and the interior of Florida.

Soldiers relocating Native Americans

But hardly anyone knows or thinks about Lake Jesup's history, not the important, factual history anyway. The only thing anyone really thinks about Lake Jesup is about the alligators. And there are so many alligators to think about.


Legend has it that Lake Jesup houses more alligators than any other body of water in the entire state of Florida. The story goes like this: When central Florida had its boom, and was being built-up in earnest, any alligators that developers came across were put into Lake Jesup. As a shallow back-water swamp lake, Lake Jesup was the perfect place to keep unwanted gators; a sort of alligator Alcatraz. So with every new sprawling suburb each creek, pond, and Cypress swamp that was drained and conqeuered, another alligator was added to Lake Jesup.

By the time that Winter Springs was developed in the late 50s on the southern shore of Lake Jesup, as the last suburb at the edge of swamp and hammock country, the alligators were too numerous to count. They're easy to find virtually anywhere alonglake, in the water, on the banks, bathing in the sun or lurking around the Cypress knees; at the top of the food chain and secure in their position as Winter Springs' native population.

You can always tell someone who isn't from Winter Springs by the way they react to the gators.


Driving across the 417 bridge which bisects the lake, with their faces pressed against the window amazed at the dozens and dozens of gator heads down in the lake.

"Wow," they might say pointing to each and everyone, counting, "how many are there?"

"Dunno... a lot"

Or the shock newcomers sometimes express when a house-pet goes missing, eaten by a gator.

"Isn't that terrible," they might say sadly, "why they do something about those gators?"

"Naa, they're just gators, gotta be careful."

Lake Jesup

In many ways the gators are a source of pride, a badge for locals. We don't mind those gators, despite whatever real or imagined dangers they represent. After all, all those alligators were put there against their will once upon a time. The least we can do is respect the only true locals left.