Backstory and Context
Lukas Nursery began with the start of the Lukas family, a young Czechoslovakian couple. Paul Lukas and Mary Klimek. Searching for better life and opportunities, they met in Cleveland, Ohio and married in June 1908. Together, this young couple and several other immigrant families like Mikler, Dinda, Duda, Jakubcin, Stanko would create a farm life that would help Oviedo blossom. Working hard, they left the industry life of the city for farming. Even though the industry could’ve been rough they took that chance.
The Duda family would help the most in making Oviedo blossom with their huge Celery farms that helped the economy grow in this little town. Lukas helped with the celery industry and founded the church that would become the private school of Saint Lukes.
With the six other families, they moved to Florida, hoping it’s rural flatlands would be the perfect place to start their new life careers. They began farming in 1912, In what would later be known as Seminole County. Naming the area “Slavia” as a nod to their European heritage and creating a place to worship, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. The church really helped Oviedo blossom.
The men worked deep in
Lightwood Knot creek. Working with black laborers to wrestle cypress stumps
from the swampy surrounding. These immigrant families however were paid little
to no attention by the current residents of Oviedo who were forgetful of the
many years of hardships of their town being built by foreigners. The residents
paid no attention to these small families that would ironically blossom to the town’s
main income. Instead the town had been drawn to political concerns.
With their Six children, Paul and Mary worked hard, not just farming, but also selling produce, and even repairing shoes to make ends meet. Soon, their work paid off, allowing Paul to purchase more land to expand their crops. To also grow celery which is one thing Oviedo was famous for.
Lukas Nursery was the product born from Paul Jr’s, Paul’s son and whom took over after his father’s death, search for steady work in the field of agriculture. With his siblings joining him, The nursery went from a company consisting of small 50 one-gallon cans of wood ornamental plants and a old chicken house to spanning two and half acres with field grown plants, potting machine, shed, and of course. An official sign. Providing a community with their services from since Oviedo was first created. Crops, plants and the “Butterfly Encounter”.
This Nursery really helped what made Oviedo blossom. Its vast farms helped with jobs during the great depression, making this small town grow even more. Eventually there were more and more people moving here. The farms grew more crops and suddenly the whole town blossomed into what we have today. Also, now Lukas Nursery is almost Oviedo’s “main attraction.” Hosting events in the fall and little farmer markets. Also having its huge butterfly encounter and birds. Growing butterflies and letting them live in a vast garden. It’s truly amazing if one decides to go.
Adicks, Richard, and Donna M. Neely. Oviedo, Biography of a Town. Oviedo Historical Society, 2007