Barberville Pioneer Settlement

Watch out for bears as you drive along the scenic byway towards Barberville Pioneer Settlement. Buildings from the neighboring towns of Astor, Pierson, New Smyrna, Huntington, and Deland make up the Barberville Pioneer Settlement located at 1776 Lightfoot Lane in Barberville. Step inside the Main Office formerly the Bridge Tender’s house originally located in the town of Astor. Films about the scenic byway, and the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor. Artifacts displayed throughout the room.

Barberville Central High celebrated its 100-year anniversary listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Walk through the corridors of Barberville Central High a Frame Vernacular Architectural style. See how students were educated in the early part of the twentieth-century. An early classroom, auditorium, an early kitchen with modern appliances of the era, and a teacher’s lounge. General education classes as well as classes in making Candles, Weaving, and Spinning all crafts taught to the students. Articles of clothing and objects exhibited throughout the school.

The Hollenback family, father and son blacksmiths. The Tatum family early settlers to Barberville owned several businesses in Volusia County. The Tatum family also operated a school for minority children.





A Quarters House that people lived in while working for the turpentine industry. The post office originally located in the community of Huntington relocated to the Pioneer Settlement in the mid-1990s. Inside the Woodshop photographs of tools and a display table of different tools, a grinding stone used to sharpen the tools, and two styles of chairs. Art Nouveau and Art Deco two styles popular in the late 1890s and the early part of the twentieth-century displayed in the Pottery Shed. A turpentine still, a garden and the many buildings that comprise the pioneer settlement. Each building tells a story of early twentieth-century life.

Before leaving the settlement, stop in the main office for souvenirs. Handmade pottery, teddy bears, books on various subjects, and Christmas items. Workshops and demonstrations offered throughout 2019. Admission prices and hours of operation on the website.


Cracker Creek

Peacocks, chickens, and roosters were roaming throughout the surrounding area as we drove up to Cracker Creek located at 1795 Taylor Road in Port Orange. Cracker Creek a 20-acre site now a sanctuary once owned by Roland Johnson caretaker to the Gamble estate. All the buildings adjacent to the original cabin privately owned.

Embark on the Key Largo a pontoon boat at Cracker Creek Landing for a 1-hour boat ride on Spruce Creek. With Captain Larry at the helm and Jill as a guide she gave us an in-depth narrative of the area. Cracker Creek named for the early Spanish Cowboys.





In the late 1890s, James Gamble founder of Procter & Gamble bought 200 acres for use as a daytime hunting and fishing lodge for family and friends. Spruce Creek Airport originally named Spruce Creek Township Fly-In. A private airport once used as a remote field during World War II. Bill & Betty Russell Park a private park for residents of Spruce Creek the only access is by boat. Spruce Creek Preserve includes 2,200 acres of conservation land. Cruising toward the Williamson Bridge that the locals call Moody Bridge our guide pointed out the different trees that make up the Hardwood Hammocks and marshlands. Spanish moss also called Old Man’s Gray Beard found throughout the creek. Different species of Birds of prey, Jill pointing towards a Red Shouldered Hawk atop a tree.

Endangered Scrub jays, endangered Panthers, Herons, Alligators, and Bobcats some of the animals that inhabit the area and are seen during the spring. After the boat ride stay for a demonstration by Captain Larry of the different style of whips that the cowboys use.

Walk along the path to the Gamble Retreat and read the plaque about the replica of Snow White’s Cottage and adjacent structures. Pick up a brochure that lists the many services offered at Cracker Creek. I recommend the pontoon boat tour a very relaxing and informative tour. Admission prices and hours of operation on the website.


Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park





Wild horses and Buffalo graze on the prairie located at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park at 100 Savannah Road in Micanopy. Named after King Payne the Seminole Chief and dedicated a National Natural Landmark. Climb the 50-foot observation tower stopping halfway and looking outward to watch the animals as they graze. Be aware of wildlife crossings as you drive down the road to the Visitor Center.

Walk along the paved trails that surround the Visitor Center or hike through the many trails surrounded by different species of plants and animals. Bring a picnic lunch and sit on the ledge behind the Visitor Center while looking out at the prairie.

Watch a film in the Visitor Center about the prairie and the different species of wildlife. A timeline of early tribes, early settlers, and places. The Bobcat is elusive and alligators that live in marshes and other freshwater environments of Florida over 1 million strong.

Browse in the gift shop for t-shirts, and postcards. Books on eco-trips in Florida, Florida’s Indians, birds and snakes. Drive along a byway; visit a small town in “Best Backroads of Florida.”

I recommend the park but call the Visitor Center for hours of operation. Park hours and admission prices on the website.

Lilian Place Heritage Center

Lilian Place Heritage Center named after Lilian Thompson who lived in the house all her life located at 111 Silver Beach Avenue in Daytona Beach.

Take a tour throughout the Victorian house with a very knowledgeable guide. Each room including photographs depicts life in the 1880s when people lived a simpler life. Heart-of-pine floors throughout the house. An original fireplace in the living room. Original as well as donated furnishings. A hutch in the dining room given to the Thompson family by the Hotchkiss family. The Hotchkiss family early settlers from Chicago built the Queen Anne House next door to Lilian Place. Their son Eli Hotchkiss and two other men invented the stapler.

Descendants of the family lived in the house for 100 years then sold to people who opened a bed and breakfast inn for thirteen years. The house sold to the Heritage Preservation Trust in 2009 and opened as a museum.

Stephen Crane author of “The Red Badge of Courage” a civil war novel stayed at Lilian Place for 3 days after surviving a shipwreck on his way to Cuba in 1896 to cover the Spanish-American War. He left a copy of “The Red Badge of Courage” as a thank you gift. He wrote “The Open Boat” a short story about his shipwreck experience.

Our guide took us on a tour of the grounds. He pointed out that the Sabal and Date Palms part of the landscape are grass not trees. The Sabal Palm resistant to freeze and the Date Palm has an edible sweet fruit. The Live Oak can live up to four hundred years. The tree provides shade, and Native Americans used all parts of the tree. Stand along the water’s edge and admire the Osprey a raptor as they swoop down and grab their prey. Songbirds and wading birds dwell along the Halifax River.

Before the automobile, the Carriage House the same architectural style as the house used to house horses and carriages. A gift shop in its place sells homemade goods, Christmas items and books by local writers.

Due to security concerns, no indoor photography allowed. I recommend the house its one of the few historical homes in Central Florida. Admission prices and hours of operation on the website.

Enterprise Heritage Center & Museum

Enterprise Heritage Center & Museum located at 360 Main Street in Enterprise in a former school. Enterprise founded in the early 1840s by Cornelius Taylor from Virginia. Watch a film about the establishment of the town. In 2016, Enterprise celebrated 175 years of its founding. Eleven families of original descendants live in the town.

Steamboat travel the mode of travel in the mid to late nineteenth century. People boarded the Darlington or Hattie Brock in Jacksonville for a two-week trip down the St. Johns River to Enterprise. People stayed at the Brock House for the winter. Hunting and fishing some of the activities offered to guests as well as trips to Sulphur Springs because of the medicinal properties. Famous people that stayed at the hotel included a U.S. President, a former general of the union army, writers and European Aristocrats.

Captain Brock captured during the civil war for being a blockade-runner. His ships seized and he spent time in prison. His ships returned to him after the war, he then went back to Jacksonville and resumed his business ventures.

Our docent a descendant of one of the original families took us on a tour of the museum. Storyboards throughout the museum depict the many accomplishments of the early settlers. Dr. James Glass a judge from New York before he graduated from medical school then moved to Enterprise built The Thornby House and opened a practice. Throughout his career, he never charged a fee. Thayer & Sauls Store on Main Street owned and operated by William S. Thayer and John Sauls.

Paintings by Susan Furrie a local artist on display. Stop by the gift shop and browse the many items for sale. The book “The Story of Thornby” by Susan Walters, a local resident. Books by Marcia Meara and pen and ink drawings.

I recommend a visit to the museum, a lot of history in a small town. Free admission, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.


Wells’ Built Museum of African American History & Culture

Art Deco Furniture

Wells’ Built Museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places located at 511 W. South Street in Parramore an African American Community in Orlando. Watch a film about the Wells’ Built Hotel, the South Street Casino and the Paramore neighborhood. The renovation of the hotel began in 1999 and opened as a museum in 2001.

The Wells’ Built Hotel built in the late 1920s by Dr. Wells a general practitioner who had a practice in Parramore. He also built the South Street Casino a nightclub that also served as a community center.

Photographs of early residents and famous people throughout the museum that show the rich history of African Americans. Famous Floridians include Jonathan Gibbs, Secretary of State during Reconstruction after the Civil War and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune an educator who opened a college for black women in Daytona Beach.

People would relax in the sitting area at the Wells’ Built Hotel or listen to music at the South Street Casino. Some of the famous musicians that played at the casino included Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway and David “Panama” Watts a drummer.

Visit the museum and learn about the history and culture of African Americans. Admission prices and hours of operation on the website.

High Springs Museum

The town of High Springs founded in the early 1890s surrounded by three springs that contain the clearest blue green water. High Springs Museum located at 23760 NW 187th Avenue in High Springs.

Our docent gave us a tour describing in detail the diorama created to depict life built around the railroad. From the late 1800s until the 1940s, Atlantic Coastline Railroad was a central part of life in High Springs. An ice plant and oil depot businesses built around the railroad no longer in operation. The peanut mill owned by Golden Peanut Company is still operating. The Alabama Hotel catered to travelers and people who worked on the railroad. The hotel burned down twice and the owners decided not to rebuild.

During Prohibition, Skeet Esterlin the first woman mayor of High Springs arrested for making Moonshine Whiskey. After serving a jail term, she went back to making Moonshine Whiskey.

Railroad history in High Springs shown in pictures. Boardinghouses built to house railroad workers. A photograph of Alfred Davis, Jr. first African American train conductor. All photographs donated by local residents.

A cave wall exhibit that shows what an underwater cave looks like. A cave map illustrates the three caves in detail.

Hang your raincoat on a replica of a spike built by the local blacksmith. Train whistles, a model train, books on local history and other souvenirs all found in the gift shop. A great museum to visit for railroad aficionados. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.

Historic Dundee Depot Museum

Mr. Menzie an early settler moved to the area at the beginning of the twentieth century and named the town Dundee after his ancestral home in Dundee, Scotland. Postcards and other mementos of Dundee, Scotland displayed.Listed on the National Register of Historic Places the Historic Dundee Depot Museum located at 102 Main Street in Dundee. Built in 1912 the train depot served the Atlantic Coastline Railroad. Passengers purchased tickets at the train depot for travel throughout Florida, the Carolinas, Alabama and Virginia. A map of ACL Railroad shows the routes.

The railroad brought industry to Dundee. The Citrus Industry came to Dundee in the early 1920s. Photographs of landmarks built in the 1920s and 1930s. The railroad advertised special excursions to Florida for people to buy land or invest. People that arrived in Dundee stayed in The Highlands Hotel built in the early part of the twentieth century.





A special room dedicated to railroad memorabilia. Take a walk inside the caboose and see firsthand what is inside. Read about the history of the caboose; modern trains no longer have them.

Browse through the books on different topics about the town of Dundee. Relax in a Gazebo or bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the slow pace of a small town. Great sources of information found in small town museums. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.

St. Lucie County Regional History Center

Fort Pierce named after Lt. Colonel Benjamin K. Pierce who fought in the Second Seminole War. His brother was Franklin Pierce our fourteenth president. Chronicles of early life found in the St. Lucie County Regional History Center located at 414 Seaway Drive in Fort Pierce.

Walk throughout the museum while listening to an audio tour that gives a detailed history of the area. Named the Treasure Coast because of the 1715 Treasure Fleet that sunk during a hurricane. Many treasures at the bottom of the ocean from sunken galleons. Listen to the stories of the Ais people Native Americans who once lived along the Indian River. The tribe made up of 200,000 people wiped out due to diseases, the slave trade and war.

Many different tribes from Georgia and Alabama made up the Seminole Indians who spoke the Mikasuki language. Dugout canoes built to navigate the rivers to fish. They also hunted and grew crops. A diorama of a Chickee used as housing instead of log cabins. The U.S. Army fought three Seminole Wars from 1817 to 1858 that drove the Seminole Indians from their land in Florida to Indian Territory that is now Oklahoma. Some Seminole Indians fled to the Everglades a marsh surrounded by swamps.

Early settlers became commercial anglers. Fish houses and packing plants sprang up during that period. Many people built their own boats but by the late 1800s, boat builders opened manufacturing plants. Pineapple farms a cash crop until disease and the freeze of 1917-1918.

Pioneer families in Fort Pierce became ranchers, owned and operated a general store, grocery and meat market. Sheriff Carlton became St. Lucie County’s first elected sheriff. The Hill family opened the first photography studio. In 1903, The Binney family invented the Crayola Crayon that cost 5 cents a box and came in eight colors.

Browse in the gift shop for vintage postcards for sale from the United States and around the world. Books on Seminole Indians, Indian River Cooking and treasure hunting in Florida. Browse the circular for greeting cards illustrated by naturalists.

The Gardener House built in 1907 donated to the St. Lucie County Historical Commission in 1985. The floors made of southern pine and high ceilings for cross-ventilation. The cost of the house was $1200. Ask the docent to take you on a tour of the house. They’re very knowledgeable and give an interesting look into the life of the people of St. Lucie County. I recommend the museum a lot of history in St. Lucie County. Admission prices and hours of operation on the website.


Micanopy Historical Society Museum

 Micanopy Historical Society Museum a historical property along the Florida Scenic Byway. Formerly the warehouse of the Thrasher General Store located at 607 NE Cholokka Blvd in Micanopy. Micanopy became a town in 1821.

Early settlers traded with the Seminole Indians. Hernando DeSoto a Spanish explorer lived during the time of the Timuca a Native American Tribe. He led an expedition through neighboring towns. A map of his expedition exhibited. Items in the museum donated by the locals and some on loan. Stone tools used by the Timuca on display.

The Thrasher and Benjamin families’ early settlers to Micanopy owned and operated general stores. The Gainesville & Gulf Railway Co. that spurred growth came to Micanopy in the mid-1890s. Eventually the railway extended forty-eight miles.

In 1852, Doctors’ Cooper and Mathers opened a drugstore and an apothecary. Dr. James Baxter Bean, a dentist who graduated from Baltimore College of Dental Surgery opened a practice in Micanopy in 1860. During the Civil War, he served in the Confederate Army.

The Seminole Wars and the chiefs who led them. A history of and memorabilia from The Civil War and World War II. Florida became a state in 1845. Along the wall of the back porch hangs the Seminole Dugout Canoe from the 1700s.

A mystery novel, a book on the Third Seminole War and DeSoto’s Journey a few of the books for sale in the gift shop. Sara Karow Roess an artist’s drawings of William Bartram’s botanical drawings.

I recommend the museum the docent was very knowledgeable. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.