December 2, 2012
Nan and I visited here during their "Homestead Holidays" event. The old mansion was decorated for Christmas, and costumed docents provided a history lesson in every room of the tour.
We arrived at the newly built, partially finished, Visitor Center. The Rest Rooms, the most important part, were operational.
Then we followed this paved accessible walkway through the woods to the historic homestead.
The house is said to be a "unique Classic Revival style plantation home with Cracker influences."
The slave plantation was short-lived due to the coming of the Civil War 5 years after the house was completed. But the Haile family farmed the site until the latter part of the 19th century, and many slaves stayed on as hired workers.
You can see the Cracker influence in the breezeway.
Original furniture has been donated back to the homestead by members of the Haile family.
One unique thing about this homestead is that the plaster walls were never painted. The family had the habit of writing on them...and so the walls do talk, a living history that has been preserved for over a century.
I thought the key ring was interesting.
Some of the writings on the wall were like a diary. This entry mentioned a citrus-killing freeze in 1886.
Letters received (or written?)
The family dining room. The kitchen was a separate building, no longer standing.
Thomas and Serena Haile had 15 children, 10 of them born here.
This room was identified as the school room. Looks like some lessons going on today too.
The upstairs was divided into two large rooms with a landing between.
Dresser in the boys' bedroom.
There were photos and information about the Haile children.
Writing on the boys' bedroom wall.
Costumed docent talking about the girls who shared this bedroom.
Behind the house this chimney is all that remains of a caretaker's house. The slave cabins, barns and other out buildings have all been reclaimed by the forest.
The Haile family plot.