In March of 1894, a group of Spiritualists - mainly from upstate New York - formed the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp meeting Association. In January of the following year, George P. Colby, a nationally-acclaimed Spiritualist lecturer, donated thirty-four acres of his Volusia County land to the Association for holding their annual meetings.
The site was named Cassadaga after a Spiritualist community near Buffalo, New York. The founders of Cassadaga aimed to establish an educational center where the highest truths of Spiritualism could be taught.

They pledged to do this not only for their friends in the South, but also for those Spiritualists who wished to escape the rigors of northern winters. Following these humble beginnings, the Spirituals' mission to establish institutional roots in Florida encounters numerous obstacles to its success. These difficulties included accusations of fraud by locals, insufficient funding, and periodic rivalry between opposing factions within the Camp.
Yet in the end, the Spiritualists at Cassadaga overcame such adversities. And, unlike many other secular and religious communities founded in the nineteenth century, the Camp has managed to endure well into the 1990s. To be sure, at the dawn of the new millennium the future seems promising for Cassadaga.

John J. Guthrie, Jr.
Daytona Beach Community College