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.

 

Advertisements

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.

Halifax Historical Museum

Listed on the National Register of Historical Places the Halifax Historical Museum located at 252 South Beach Street in Daytona Beach. The 1910 building once a Merchants Bank until the 1929 crash.

A twenty-minute film narrates the history of Daytona. Before Daytona Beach became a surfer’s paradise, the Timucuans an ancient Native American Tribe resided in the area thousands of years ago.

The story of surfing in Florida began with solid redwood boards built in Miami in the 1930s. In Daytona Beach, photographs of winners of surfing contests. Gaulden Reed, who built a hollow surfboard, became a surfer and lifeguard.

Daytona incorporated in 1876 named after its founder Mathias Day. Lorenzo Dow Huston of Baltimore became the first mayor of Daytona in the same year. He served as county commissioner, superintendent of public schools and justice of the peace. Display cases filled with memorabilia and black and white photographs throughout the museum details the history of Daytona. Local residents donated all the items shown in the museum. Dresses worn by women in the 1860s show a dress worn by Mary Todd Lincoln’s sister Margaret at Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

Many opportunities opened to new settlers in the mid to late nineteenth century. Charles and Mary Burgoyne from New York City moved to Daytona. He served as mayor and president of Merchants Bank.

Famous African-Americans resided in Daytona. Howard Thurman, an African-American grew up in Daytona. He became a minister who co-founded a non-denominational church. He wrote books on theology, religion and philosophy. Mary McLeod Bethune founder of a school for African-Americans in Daytona Beach. Texas Alexander Adams, born in Sebring became a doctor and alongside Mary McLeod Bethune opened a hospital on the campus of the school.

The Racing Zone a history of racing in Daytona. The France family brought racing to Daytona.

A tricycle from the mid-1930s, toys, and a sewing machine manufactured in the late 1870s all found upstairs in Grandma’s attic.

Jewelry unique to Daytona, browse the books on the circular, and the gifts on a bargain shelf. Hours and admission prices available on the website.

Walk across the street and visit the Jackie Robinson Ballpark named after Jackie Robinson the famous Brooklyn Dodgers ballplayer. He played the first integrated baseball game in 1946.

Holly Hill History Museum and Education Center

Holly Hill History Museum and Education Center located at 1066 Ridgewood Avenue in Holly Hill. Holly Hill a city that encompasses only 4.5 square miles situated between Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach. William and Mary Fleming founded Holly Hill in 1901 and named the town after his ancestral home in Holywood, Ireland. Vet Cave owner of Cave’s Cigar Factory named the first mayor.

Early maps, a biographical account of the city founders alongside biographical accounts and photographs of early settlers throughout the museum. Dr. Carter a minister from New Jersey moved to the area in the late 1870s and formed a mission. In the late 1870s, Gibson W. Harris from Illinois moved to Holly Hill. He owned a grocery and mercantile store. In 1845, while a law student in Illinois he worked in the law office of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield. Holly Hill the early years photographed by E.G. Harris, Holly Hill’s first photographer. A picturesque view of Ridgewood Avenue in the late 1890s.Due to the popularity of the automobile motels became popular in the 1930s. Fifty-one motels built along Ridgewood Avenue through the 1960s. Some motels remain others have been turned into businesses.

A famous ballplayer Nap Lajoie who played with the Cleveland Indians inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937 lived in Holly Hill. James Calvert Smith, an artist who lived in Holly Hill until his death in 1962. Known for his famous mural that hangs in the museum of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.

Browse in the museum gift shop and purchase a painting by a local artist, jewelry, a limited edition throw pillow or coffee mugs. Take a book leave a donation.

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

 

St. Petersburg Museum of History

St. Petersburg Museum of History located at 335 2nd Avenue NE in St. Petersburg. A painting of Peter Demens a Russian immigrant who founded St. Petersburg. He named the town St. Petersburg after the town in Russia where he grew up. He also founded the Orange Belt Railway that began train service in the late 1880s. The railway served the towns of St. Petersburg and Sanford that carried freight and passengers.

 

 

 

 

Black and white photos of a bygone era. Formerly a spa, the “Fountain of Youth”, opened as an attraction. The railroad pier built by the Orange Belt Railway to bring in tourists. The bathing pavilion built by D.F. S. Brantley, a boat builder. The “Million Dollar” pier built in the mid-1920s a famous gathering place for locals.

African Americans helped build the Orange Belt Railway then settling in Pepper Town an early African American community. The early settlers held many different occupations and by the early 20th century were an important part of St. Petersburg.

Two men that became influential members of St. Petersburg. Mark Dixon Dodd, an artist who helped design and construct homes in the Driftwood Community. Known for paintings of coastal and architectural scenes. William L. Straub and his two partners bought the St. Petersburg Times. He remained editor for thirty-eight years.

“Schrader’s Little Cooperstown” the world’s largest collection of signed baseballs on loan to the museum. Dennis Schrader at 9 years old started his collection. A timeline of baseball beginning in 1845 when Alexander J. Cartwright credited with being the Father of Modern Baseball to 100 years of spring baseball. Al Lang, mayor of St. Petersburg brought spring training to St. Petersburg. All-American Girls, a professional baseball league formed in 1943 until 1954. Fifteen teams made up the league. Moses Fleetwood Walker, the first African-American baseball player. Rube Foster founder of the Negro League in 1920 that consisted of 8 teams.

A tribute to the American Soldier from the Civil War to the War in Iraq. Photographs along the walls depict the many soldiers through the war years. A four-part film about the Civil War and World War II. One film about women who visited their husbands and boyfriends in their encampments during the Civil War. A display of American Red Cross Uniforms during World War I.

I recommend the museum, an early history of St. Petersburg. Admission prices, hours of operation on the website.

After touring the museum, take a thirty-minute St. Petersburg Looper Trolley Tour around downtown St. Petersburg. Our trolley guide born and raised in St. Petersburg knows the entire city. He pointed out historical points of interest as well as the city parks that hold free concerts and other venues.

 

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.

Orange County Regional History Center

Before entering the history center stand outside and admire the classical-revival architecture formerly the home of the Orange County Courthouse. Orange County Regional History Center located at 65 E. Central Boulevard in downtown Orlando.

101Take an audio tour or walk throughout the museum and admire the many photographs and collectables of the many different people and their accomplishments. The St. Johns and Archaic people consisted of small tribes that lived thousands of years before the French and Spanish arrived in Florida. The Timucuans an early native people dwelled in Central and Northeast Florida. They built canoes, hunted and fished. The dioramas portray the Native Americans in their natural environment.

014024An exhibit displaying Jewish life in Orange County and surrounding communities that began 150 years ago. People in horse drawn carts arrived in downtown Orlando to shop in the dry goods store operated by immigrants from Europe. The oldest operating hardware store today opened in the mid-1880s in Kissimmee. Jacob Cohen an early settler helped write the first charter for Orlando in 1875. Photographs of a Purple Heart recipient from WWII and soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War. Commander Bernard Brender brought the Naval Training Center to Orlando in 1968.

A name known to the people of Orlando, Dr. Philip P. Phillips, a medical doctor moved to Orlando, bought citrus groves and owned two citrus packinghouses. He sold his assets and started a foundation, which is still in operation today.

075-1A history of African Americans during the Spanish and British Occupation, during slavery and after the emancipation. Washington Shores a black community, and the town of Eatonville, established in the 1880s still in existence today. A famous resident, Zora Neal Hurston, author and anthropologist lived in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. In January of each year, a festival honors her works.

084Some of the artwork exhibited from the Highwaymen African American landscape artists from Ft. Pierce who rode the highways selling their paintings.

Steamboats a popular mode of travel in the early part of the nineteenth century. Small towns boomed after the railroad came in the mid-1860s. After Henry Ford invented the Model T people hit the road. “Tin Can” tourists a name given to people who traveled to Florida in their cars, sometimes slept in tents and ate out of tin cans. Cabins for rent on a twenty-acre site owned by Henry Hand for people who didn’t like to sleep in tents.

The effect on Central Florida in wartime, NASA and astronaut memorabilia. A look inside the courtroom that is part of the museum tour. Stop inside the gift shop, books on beach camping and Florida, Arrowheads and Tektites. I recommend the museum, so much central Florida history to absorb. Admission prices and hours of operation on the website.

 

Museum of Winter Haven History

Early 20th century time clock

Museum of Winter Haven History formerly the home of the Woman’s Club listed in the National Register of Historic Places at 660 Pope Avenue in Winter Haven. Winter Haven, the early years depicted in photographs throughout the museum. Cabinets filled with memorabilia throughout the museum donated by the citizens of Winter Haven.

Winter Haven founded in 1890 elected Willie Smith their first mayor in 1911. The Eycleshimer, Inman and Harris families early settlers to Winter Haven. Envisioning a winter resort Peter Eycleshimer credited for naming Winter Haven. F.A.K. Harris and his wife Adele opened the first mercantile store. Frederick and Florence Inman opened the Florence Villas Hotel. Dan Laramore an early African American resident to Winter Haven became wealthy by acquiring orange groves and land.


 

 

 

 

Tourists would stay at the Florence Villa, Haven or Lake Region Hotel then board a steam-powered boat for a tour on one of the Chain of Lakes.

Cypress Gardens founded by Dick Pope in 1936, made famous by their ski shows, Southern Belles and Botanical Gardens. A room dedicated to Cypress Gardens mementoes. The Botanical Gardens all that remain of Cypress Gardens encompass 30 acres given to the people of Polk County to enjoy.

The docents longtime residents brought the history of Winter Haven to life with their stories. Admission is free, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.

Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science

American Mastodon

Sabertooth Cat

 

 

 

 

 

Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science located at 2201 Michigan Avenue in Cocoa. Exhibits throughout the museum portray different periods in Brevard County history beginning with the Paleo Hunters who lived during Florida’s Ice Age from 9,000 – 12,000 years ago. They used spears made of stone to hunt Mammoths and Mastodons. An exhibit of the tools on display. The Mastodon roamed in Florida between 10,000 – 12,000 years ago. The diet of the Mastodons consisted mainly of coniferous plants but the Mammoths ate plants but mostly grass. The Sabertooth Cat became extinct 11,500 years ago. The canine teeth shaped like a blade measured up to 7 inches.

 

 

 

 

The Taylor and Burnham families’ early settlers to Brevard County. Albert Taylor founded a bank and served as Cocoa’s second mayor. Grace Taylor taught herself braille and was the first braille transcriber in Brevard County. Captain Burnham an early settler from Vermont moved his family to Cape Canaveral in the early 1850s to live and work as a lighthouse keeper. The original lighthouse a 60-foot structure built in 1847. Construction of the 151-foot lighthouse started before the civil war but stopped during the war. Construction completed in the late 1860s.

Surfing has been popular on the Space Coast for one-hundred years. A map of all the surfing spots in Florida, the origins of surfing and a chronological account of the history of surfing.

A replica of a general store that sold everything from dry goods to horseshoes, coffee and perfumes. Early settlers to Brevard County worked in the turpentine, citrus, and tourism industry. They homesteaded and started their own orange groves. A Skeeter Beater made from hearts of cabbage used to swat the many mosquitos that the early settlers endured.

Steamships a popular mode of travel since the late 1820s. Passengers would board the steamships from Jacksonville to Titusville and dock at Titusville Landing or continue to Rockledge and dock at Rockledge Landing. Horses and wagons would take the guests to their hotels. After the railroad came in the mid-1880s, the train would take them directly to the hotel.

The Hubble Space Telescope launched in orbit on April 24, 1990 by the Space Shuttle Discovery. Atlantis the fifth and last orbiter to service the telescope in 2009. Posters along the wall describe in detail the Hubble’s features. The telescope named after Edwin Powell Hubble an astronomer who made important discoveries in astronomy.

Stop by the gift shop and browse the books on Florida History, Matted Hubble Prints, replicas of space shuttles and the usual items in a gift shop. I highly recommend the museum the docents at the museum made our visit more enjoyable. A butterfly garden and eight trails to explore all under 1 mile each. Call the museum before heading out, the trails closed because of Hurricane Irma.

Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum

Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum located at 4155 W. Vine St. in Kissimmee. Listen to the crying sounds of the Limpkin bird while learning about the native people that survived living in the cypress swamp. Coacoochee a Seminole Warrior fought in the Seminole Wars. From early hunting tools to the River otter, Raccoon, Alligator and the Panther an endangered species all found in the swamp.

Early settlers to Florida included the Cadman family from England who built a citrus packinghouse and Hamilton Disston a wealthy tycoon from Philadelphia who bought four million acres of land in Florida and built a sugar plantation. The Shakers, a religious community owned a commercial fishing and pineapple farm.Trains came to Kissimmee in the early 1880s. The rails eventually extended to Tampa. People would ride the train from Sanford to Kissimmee then stay at a downtown hotel. They would board the Steamer Lillie to take day trips or 4-day trips along the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

“Tin Can” tourists a name given to people who traveled to Florida in their cars, sometimes slept in tents and ate out of tin cans. An exhibit on display until October of this year show cooking utensils, bedrolls and other items necessary for traveling on the road. Trailer Topics, a magazine geared for people who owned trailers and a model of an early Airstream on display.

A replica of the 3,700-pound bronze sculpture on display at the Osceola County Courthouse that celebrates Osceola County’s Centennial.

 

 

 

 

Different species of mammals and reptiles found in the hammock. The Red Shouldered Hawk and the Yellow-bellied sapsucker a few of the birds found in hardwood and cypress trees. The Whopping Crane, an endangered bird, Osprey, a hawk and a Bald Eagle all popular with bird watchers. A replica of a Bald Eagle nest on display.

I walked around the museum and was in awe of the dioramas that are on display. The workmanship that went into building them is phenomenal. Stop inside the gift shop that is a replica of a steamship. Children’s books and books on the first one-hundred years. Jars of raw natural honey from the honey farm, coffee mugs and other items sold in the gift shop. Free entrance to the museum, donations accepted.