Cedar Key Historical Society and Museum

Cedar Key Historical Society and Museum a historic state landmark at 609 2nd Street in Cedar Key on the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout the museum artifacts dating back eleven thousand years. A replica of a steamboat on display. Many railroad companies came to Cedar Key. People would board the trains from southern and northern states to the town of Fernandina then continue to Cedar Key. They brought most of their belongings in their steamer trunks for travel on the steamships to cities on the Suwannee River and other towns throughout Florida.

John Muir an early conservationist visited Cedar Key from Indiana after walking a thousand miles through wilderness taking plant samples along the way. Photographs of early life throughout the museum. A map of Florida from the 1870s. Cedar Key from the 1800s to 1932. A chronological history of the United States, The Florida Treaty allowed transfer of land from Spain to Florida. From 1800 to the beginning of the 20th century, many industries came to Cedar Key. Tourism and Shellfish farming the main industries of Cedar Key today.

David Levy Yulee owned the Florida Railroad. He was the first Jewish US Senator from Florida. Judge Augustus Steele founded the town of Cedar Key in the late 1850s.

Items for sale in the gift shop include a local photographer’s artwork in note pads, calendars, books on Cedar Key, children’s books and t-shirts.

After visiting the museum, step inside the Andrews House a history of Cedar Key that depicts the contributions of Dr. Andrews a retired dentist from Indiana. I recommend visiting both museums.

Sebastian Area Historical Museum

Formerly an elementary school the building now home to the Sebastian Area Historical Museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places at 1235 Main Street in Sebastian. Sebastian originally a fishing village. Numerous photographs in each room depicted life in Sebastian, and the settlers who were influential in developing the town.




Our docent a life-long resident took us on a tour of the museum describing in detail each room. Different rooms portray different periods of early life in Sebastian throughout the museum. Maps of Florida, artifacts of the Ais Indians, and valuable objects found in the sea on display. Photographs of steamboats the mode of travel from the late 1820s until 1880 when trains became the means of travel. People arrived by train at the Sebastian Railroad Depot, and stayed at Hotel Sebastian.

Paintings by local artists and an early Larkin a secretary desk. Train memorabilia, and military items that represent Military History from the Civil War to World War II.

Pelican Island a five-acre island that became the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903 by Executive Order signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Paul Kroegel became the first warden of Pelican Island.

Purchase books and DVDs on local history, prints and tote bags. I recommend the museum a lot of history in a small town. Free admission, donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.


The Lawton House





The Lawton House at 200 W. Broadway Street in Oviedo a historic home now a museum built-in the late 19th century by J.H. Lee, Sr., an early settler to Oviedo. A historic marker on the property chronicles the Lawton House.





Storyboards give a detailed history of Oviedo throughout the years. Photographs of historic homes in the late 1800s into the early 1900s as well as photographs of early settlers. After the citrus freeze in the late 1890s, celery became the main crop. Memorabilia shown throughout the museum. Tools used in the Oviedo Fire Department through the years exhibited. Early kitchen appliances that includes an antique stove and a Mangler iron still in use today. The early hand-cranked Mangler irons had two rollers that made it easy to iron.

A map of the Orlando-Winter Park Railroad that owned the Dinky train line began service in the late 1880s. The 6-mile train line ran from Orlando to Winter Park eventually extended service to Oviedo and by the late 1960s service ended.

Located in the town of Oviedo and founded in the early 1960s the University of Central Florida originally called Florida Technological University home to 53,000 students. A lot of history in a small town. Free admission to the museum, open the first Saturday of the month along with the Farmers Market. After visiting the museum, listen to music on the porch.

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.

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 Museum of African American History & Culture listed on the National Register of Historic Places 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 Parramore neighbor-hood. 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 school for black students 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 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 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.