Matheson History Museum

 

 

 

 

Formerly an American Legion Hall the Matheson History Museum located at 513 E. University Avenue in Gainesville. The Matheson family early settlers to Gainesville since the 1860s. A photograph of the first store on display shows the first Matheson Dry Goods store in downtown Gainesville. Stop and visit a replica of the Matheson Dry Goods Store and see what people bought in the 1870s. Dr. Frederick Humphreys a Homeopathic Physician founded Humphrey’s Specifics in the mid-1840s. From mild powder cures to curing infant diseases like colic and slow growth.A timeline of events inside the exhibit hall from the British Period to when Florida becomes a territory. During territorial times, John Bellamy a plantation owner from Monticello built the Bellamy Road and Jacob Rhett Motte, an army surgeon during the Seminole and Creek Wars wrote about life in the harsh frontiers of Georgia and Florida.A current exhibit includes posters illustrating the search for Ponce de Leon and the fountain of youth. Take a swim in the springs at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, Warm Mineral Springs in Sarasota and Wakulla Springs near Tallahassee. Before theme parks, people visited Silver Springs and took a ride on the glass bottom boat. A clear view of the springs while watching sea life looking down at the glass in the center of the boat. Silver Springs now a state park.

Posters describe Native American names given to rivers, lakes, counties and cities. Check the website for upcoming exhibits in the museum.

The Museum Shop sells tin cans as collectables, books about Florida, a map of Alachua County circa 1824. Margaret Tolbert’s prints for sale an artist based in Gainesville.

Matheson House

Chris Matheson’s Office

Augusta Matheson Painting
in the dining room

 

 

 

 

 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places Matheson House Georgian Architecture built in 1867 by James D. and Augusta Matheson. Our docent took us on a tour of the house describing in detail the history of each room. Original furnishings throughout the house except the bed and wardrobe in James and Augusta’s bedroom. During his lifetime, Chris their only surviving son became an attorney, Presbyterian Minister and a mayor. After becoming a Presbyterian Minister, he married Sarah Hamilton, and they lived in Oklahoma for twenty years. Sarah a teacher and missionary taught the Native American Children. They moved back to Gainesville where he served as mayor of Gainesville for 8 terms.

After Chris’s death, Sarah traveled around the world for forty years. Collectables around the house serve as a remembrance of the trips taken. Serving as a missionary in South Korea for 2 years teaching children English. Sarah deeded the house to the history museum after her death.

Tison Tool Barn

The Tison Tool Barn built in the 1990s. It serves to house the many tools made in the 1850s. Before automobiles, the cast-iron horse trough outside the barn used to water horses and mules outside the courthouse in the 1880s. The trough donated to the museum.

Battle of Gainesville Site

Gainesville founded in 1853 and named after General Gaines who served in the Seminole Wars. During the Civil War the skirmish in downtown Gainesville and the Battle of Gainesville occurred. The Confederates lost the skirmish to the Union Troops but won the battle. The docent pointed out the site where the Battle of Gainesville occurred.

While visiting the museum let the docent know that you want to visit the house. I recommend the museum, tool barn and house, so much history in Gainesville. Free admission to the museum donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.

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Myakka River State Park

 

 

 

 

Myakka River State Park includes 37,000 acres located at 13208 State Road 72 in Sarasota created by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. Enjoy the 7-mile scenic park drive and admire the abundance of trees and plants. Stop at the Myakka River Bridge and look down at the alligators basking in the afternoon sun, a good photo opportunity.

Pick up a park map at the ranger station before hiking or biking the trails. Bring a camera or a pair of binoculars while hiking you may encounter different species of animals. Before launching your canoe or kayak on the Upper Myakka Lake or Myakka River stop by the visitor center and pick up a brochure of the birds of Myakka River State Park. Spend the night in an historic log cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Take a leisurely ride on a tram that has been in operation for 50 years as the guide takes you through the Oak and Palm Hammock and dry prairie. Describing tasty Hearts of Palm known by Southerners as swamp cabbage as a delicacy from the Sabal Palm. The Scottish people early settlers to Sarasota brought their flower the Scottish Thistle the national symbol of Scotland. Our guide describes the early pioneers who took the bark from a Willow Tree made tea and used it as a pain reliever. Listen to the story about the Cow hunters but don’t call them cowboys who took six months to drive their cattle up the St. Johns River to Cowford. Cowford renamed Jacksonville after Andrew Jackson.

Inside the Visitor Center, watch a movie about the construction of the park by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Wetlands encompass half of the park. Marshes, Forested Wetlands, Rivers and Lakes all part of the ecosystem. Life size mounts of Ducks, Wading Birds and the Panther an endangered species all found inside the center.

Bring a picnic lunch, sit at one of the picnic tables, relax and look out at the Upper Myakka Lake. Stop at the gift shop and browse the many items for purchase. Sealife sculptures created with sand and clay by Kevin Rowley, artist and sculptor.

Myakka River State Park one of the oldest state parks. I recommend visiting the park so much to see and do. Visit the website for fees and hours of operation.