In the early 1850s, Archer was known as Deer Hammock. In anticipation of the arrival of Florida’s first coast-to-coast railroad, the Florida Town Improvement Company surveyed Deer Hammock, established lots and streets, and renamed the town in honor of James T. Archer, Florida’s first secretary of state. David Levy Yulee, a resident of Archer, built and operated Florida’s first trans-state railroad, which traveled from Fernandina to Cedar Key through Archer. Yulee later became Florida’s first United States senator.
Rail has played an important role in Archer—it was once known as the crossroads of Florida because two major railroads, the Coastline and Seaboard, intersected in Archer. Maddox Foundry, Archer's oldest and largest employer (established in 1905), has been a beneficiary of rail service.
Today, Archer remains a small, rural, laid-back community that continues to farm watermelons, blueberries, row crops, and cattle while providing a comfortable country way of life. Even with this life style, Archer has been fortunate to have had a long lasting history with both industry and the railroads.