The village of McIntosh dates to the early 1800s, when John H. McIntosh “squatted on property here” and thus would lend his name to a town not yet born, according to Beverly Dodder of the Friends of McIntosh. In 1830, Nehemiah Brush bought 4,000 acres from an old Spanish land grant. Early settlers came by boat up the St. Johns River to Palatka, about 60 miles away, and gradually drifted to this lakeside spot. But as with many rural towns, it was the railroad that brought settlers and then development. The Brush heirs donated land for creation of the narrow-gauge Florida Southern Railroad; later the Seaboard Railway Co. established a depot.
McIntosh remains much as it was in the 1930s, and The McIntosh Historic District includes 68 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, this small town of under 500 residents lures thousands of guests each year to the shores of Orange Lake, north of Ocala. With its quaint antique shops and fishing camps, it presents a vision of the Sunshine State as it was, plus an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy it in the present.