Friday, January 22, 2016

Heritage Village of Pinellas County

This 21-acre living museum is located next to the Florida Botanical Gardens.  Thirty-one historical structures have been moved to this park from various areas in the county.   We knew that only a few of the buildings were furnished and docents were available to give tours in those buildings so out first stop was at one of them, the seven-gable, thirteen room Victorian house pictured below.

The interior of the building was constructed in loblolly pine, also called heart pine as the inner core of the tree is used for construction.  The wood hardens as it ages and is quite resistant to termites.  However, it does make the interior quite dark in appearance.  Pictured below is the front parlor, where the heart pine can be seen around the fireplace.
The furnishing are not original to the home, however the Pinellas County Historical Society has done a wonderful job in decorating it in period antiques.   This home built in 1896,  was once located on a bluff in Clearwater.  It was the winter residence of a wealthy business man and his family from Rockford, Illinois.
We had our grandson Nathan with us.  He was not about to tour the old buildings where he was forbidden to touch the valuable artifacts.  He enjoyed so much more the winding trails through the pine flat woods which surround the buildings.  At least on those paths he could throw pine cones!   However, I did convince him to enter the church pictured above because there was a cross to look at-  crosses seem to be his latest interest. The Methodist church was active until 1960 when the congregation moved to another sanctuary.  In 1921 a hurricane lifted it up from the ground and deposited it elsewhere on the property, facing a different direction.  It was left there.  Another hurricane ripped off most of the roof in 1935.   Amazingly it still has the original pulpit and altar rail.

The house above is the oldest continuously lived in building in the village, and is described as a "Florida cracker-style plus" home (rooms were added over the years).  The McMullen family moved to Pinellas Peninsula in the 1850s and left it during the early 1860s.  During the Civil War Daniel and his brother joined the Cow Calvary to bring beef to the Confederate troops.  In 1868 Daniel returned and built this home for his family.  I enjoyed the history which came with all of the structures in this village.  It is impossible mention all of the other interesting buildings, of which there is a sponge warehouse, barn with old tools and carriages, smokehouse, sugar cane mill, as well as a boat shop.  We do have every intention of visiting this place again, so there may be another posting on it in the future.

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