Earlier this year I visited the Pioneer Florida Museum for the first time. It was the same day as my photographic visit to Dade City with my fellow photographer Paula Showen.
The museum has a Dade City address, but it’s more or less just outside of the town proper. I can’t say I’m a Florida history buff, but if you are you should make a visit to this place. It is an open-air museum with a fair number of original historical buildings that have been moved from other Florida locations, much like Heritage Village, which Paula and I visited last fall.
The first thing you see is the Trilby Train Depot, which has been moved from, well, er, Trilby, Florida. Trilby was the largest railyard in Florida at once time. The depot was built in 1896 and you can see a 1913 steam engine in the background in this shot:
You have to enter the grounds via the main building where you are greeted with an 8-foot alligator, which is, fortunately for us, unfortunately for him, stuffed: Here you pay a nominal fee ($8), then you can freely roam around inside the place and all over the grounds out back where the historical buildings are. The main building has displays such as, say, an old parlor with a piano, Native American artifacts, vintage dentist’s and doctor’s offices, and a quilt room with creepy child mannequins:
There are tons of old coins, kitchen stuff, furniture and whatnot, and it’s air-conditioned inside, which is great for me. We spent a couple of minutes there but wanted to make good use of the remaining light that day, so we ventured outside fairly quickly. The buildings are arranged along a looping path with an antique fire truck in the center.
There’s also a vegetable garden off to one side with a rather fashionable scarecrow:That scarecrow deserves a closer look:
She might be my favorite display in the museum! Anyway, I next visited the Old Lacoochee School, a one-room joint with all the accoutrements:
They conduct educational programs in the school, plus you can rent the school and other venues in the place for weddings, conferences and such. There is the John Overstreet House, a farmhouse from the mid-1860s: Antique carriages in the Mable Jordan Barn:Plus a shoe-repair shop, a church (which I understand is used often for weddings), a cane-syrup mill, a citrus-packing house and a general store, which you see at the top of this post, but here it is again: (You might be able to tell that I’ve used the HDR process on many of these outdoor photos.) Since it was getting late and we were very hot, we didn’t see all the buildings available. But, as I say, if this is your bag, I’d recommend a visit. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, there is lots to see which is in pretty good condition, and they have a surprisingly fun gift shop.
Photo for No Apparent Reason: