In the early 1900’s, the town of Rutland, Florida primarily served as a base for the cypress logging industry. Rutland had 75 homes, a population of 300, town hall, church, mayor, sheriff and even a jail. The lifeline of the town was the railroad spur that came to a stop in Rutland on the land that is now Thousand Palms RV Resort.
Cypress logging was a booming industry during this time period. The logs were cut and floated downstream on the Withlacoochee River to a destination where the campground now stands. The logs were then dragged by mules and oxen up a logging trail to the rail station and transported via rail to the Cummer and Sons Cypress Company mill about 40 miles South in Lacooche, Florida. As the logging industry slowed, Cummer and Sons moved out of the area bringing an end to the cypress logging in Rutland.
In the 1950’s, a Mr. Thomas purchased a 70 acre tract of the former rail spur which is now where the campground stands. The parcel consisted of a 35 acre section to the west including 700 feet on the Withlacoochee River which has now become Sumter County’s Rutland Boat Landing. Mr. Thomas split the parcel with his brother Leman Thomas who, with his wife Edna, packed up their family and belongings and moved from Kentucky to Rutland in 1951. Leman donated 7 acres of the east parcel which is now occupied by the First Baptist Church of Rutland and by County Road 249. Leman and his family moved into an old brick house that was already on the property and built his workshop from sheet metal and railroad ties left by the old logging camp. The Thomas brothers dug two farm ponds, one on each parcel. They also dug a canal to the river using the trail which had been used many years prior by the loggers. Leman’s brother, the original purchaser of the property sold the west parcel in theh 1960’s to Colonel Jack Carpenter and his wife Betty.
Colonel Carpenter developed this land into a campground they called Carpenter’s Camper’s World which opened for business in July of 1964. The campground was permitted for 95 sites, mostly for tents, but did include 12 permanent trailers. The campground was advertised as “The Most Beautiful Campground in Florida” and offered canal access to the river, a pond stocked with bass, bluegills and catfish and a freshly dug swimming hole. It was also self-sufficient with it’s own drinking water plant and wastewater treatment facility. The Carpenters operated the campground until April of 1972 when it was sold to the Olmen brothers from Minnesota. After Colonel Carpenter sold the property , he went on to become president of the Florida Campground Association.
Don and Bob Olmen operated the campground for 5 years and then in 1977 sold it to Scrako, Inc, a family corporation. This family owned and managed Camper’s World for the next 30 years. During this time period, Leman Thomas sold the eastern parcel to his daughter and her husband with the stipulation that he and his wife could continue to reside on the property. Leman Thomas passed in 1991 and the property was sold to Nicholas Hinds.
In 2002, the Florida Department of Transportation started plans to expand State highway 44 to four lanes. As part of the construction, DOT, through the use of eminent domain, took over many acres of the land on the north side of both parcels. Mr Hinds decided to sell the remainder of his parcel to Schrako who recombined the original eastern and western parcels. Although now missing from the original tract would be the church property, County Road 249, the loss of the northern edge to DOT and 10 acres Schrako donated to Sumter County to build the boat landing. As of 2004, the original 70 acre tract now consisted of a total of 40 acres.
In 2007, Schrako sold the entire 40 acre property to Central Florida Resort Property Management who renamed the campground Thousand Palms RV Resort.