AstorFlorida.com has a great article on the history of Astor. While not complete or comprehensive it will give you a good start in understanding the area.
This “likable spot of goodly fish”, this “garden of Eden” is today called ASTOR and is still here for those who thirst for the unspoiled wilderness. The water of the St. John’s rolling relentlessly along the evergreen shores of silent hammocks dotted with dreamy ponds and spellbound creeks are still harboring the famous prize-winning fish, the cautious bobcats, playful otters, clumsy black bears, shy wild turkeys and the rare Florida panthers. The slender osprey is Astor’s mascot bird, but standing on the shoreline you can see hundreds of egret’s, herons and water turkeys. You can watch the majestic flight of the bald eagle and enjoy flowers of many colors year round.
Surrounded by the huge Ocala National Forest, and settled into the restless onyx-band of our great river, Astor is indeed the precious jewel of Central Florida one has to see just once never to forget it again.