In spite of its international reputation for beaches, big cities and amusement parks, Florida is largely, and historically, a rural state. Soon after the Revolutionary War, settlers moved into Florida, seeking cheap land and opportunity. By the time of the Civil War, settlements had popped up all over the state. Many were based around farming and others were retreats for wealthy northerners.
With the exception of the deep, wet Everglades in south Florida, our Natural North Florida region was one of the last places in the state to be “settled”. And, thanks to the interest of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the State Parks, and countess number of volunteers and docents, we have three very fine examples of Florida History faithfully preserved for all to see.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park
Dudley Farm is an early pioneer farm established before the Civil War. Currently it covers 325 of the original 640 acres that were operated by the Dudley family for three generations. An authentic working farm, the homestead consists of eighteen buildings. These are restored – NOT recreated – and include the family farmhouse with original furnishings, an 1880’s kitchen outbuilding, a general store and post office, and a cane syrup complex.
You may see park staff in period clothing perform daily chores, raising crops, and tending to livestock. The farm features seasonal cane grindings, corn shuckings, and heritage varieties of livestock and plants. Deer, wild turkeys, gopher tortoises, and bluebirds are still seen in the fields.”
Dudley Farm Historic State Park is located in Alachua County at 18730 W Newberry Rd
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park is another reason Florida’s State Parks are some of the country’s best. There, you’ll experience the way of life lived by one of America’s most famous authors. Her cracker style home and farm, where she wrote her Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Yearling and other wonderful works of fiction, has been restored and is preserved as it was when she lived here
Florida’s Forest Capital State Museum and Cracker Homestead
Perry, the county seat of Taylor County, is located at the crossroads of US19, US09 and US27 near Florida’s Big Bend. Historically the mill town was considered to be “Florida’s Forest Capital” and is still the site of the Florida Forest Festival. Adjacent to the Forest Capital Park is the Florida Forest Capital State Museum and Cracker Homestead, part of Florida’s State Park system. Located on US19 (Byron Butler Parkway) just south of town, this 1864 home and furnishings will give visitors a taste of Florida’s past.