We have so many modern conveniences today, cell phones, computers, a zillion channels on TV, appliances that boss us around, gadgets that think for us and the list can go on and on…. Have you ever wondered though that even with all these modern things, is life really better than it was for our grandparents or even our great grandparents? Do you ever find all these modern gadgets to become too distracting causing our lives to be more complicated? Or have you just ever yearned to live in a simpler time without rush hour traffic and 24/7 cable news?
Well there may not be a time machine that can send us back to those long ago days but in Dade City, Florida there is a place where you can get an incredible glimpse back to what life must have been like back in the days when rush hour traffic was a heard of cattle being moved and the news took a tad bit longer to get since it was usually delivered by telegraph.
Just a 40 minute drive north east of Tampa in Dade City, is the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village where in it’s 12 buildings and on it’s tree shaded grounds you are taken on a journey back in time starting in the days of the early Florida Pioneer and through time into the 1940’s.
For the real history enthusiast, you may want to pack a lunch and take advantage of the oak tree shaded picnic tables as with 12 buildings to explore and an overwhelming number of artifacts, you will absolutely want to spend a whole day here. With so many interesting exhibits and pieces of history to spark your curiosity, even the casual history buff will find hours of enjoyment.
The one room “School house”that was moved to the grounds, was saved from demolition in 1976. The church was moved to the grounds in 1977 and has the original walls, pews, floors, ceiling and heating stove.
The John Overstreet house is an 1860’s era farm house and is one of the oldest wood framed structures in the county. The house is furnished as if an 1860’s family was indeed still carrying on their daily lives there with time period toy’s in the children’s room and the table set for dinner.
The lived in feel of the Overstreet house continues on to it’s grounds where you can view the garden, the outhouse and the rooster house which is occupied with live roosters.
The General Store built in 1927, was moved to the museum grounds in the year 2000 and one could spend a great deal of time viewing the time period collection of goods housed here. Near the General Store and appropriately hidden down a little path, is the Moon Shine Shed exhibit, so be on the look out for it because you won’t want to miss it.
On the museums 21 acre grounds and in it’s buildings you will find an enormous collection of tools, farm equipment, horse drawn carriages, and even a Civil War munitions wagon. There are sewing machines, spinning wheels, and a sugar cane syrup making exhibit and in the Blanton Packing House one can explore a the history of the Florida Citrus industry.
If you visit the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village you will want to be sure to ring the bell of the 1913 H.K. Porter steam engine used to haul logs to the sawmills, You will find it at The Trilby Train Depot which was originally built in 1887 by railroad tycoon, H.B. Plant.
The large main building can take a bit of time to thoroughly view as it is packed with collections and exhibits. A quilt room, a Civil War and a World War 1 display, a doll collection and a doctor’s office are just a few of the exhibits housed in the main building. The unbelievable number of pieces of history throughout the facility can be overwhelming so one should allow time to be able to take it all in.
The path to each of the buildings is paved making it an enjoyable leisurely stroll and because it is Florida, the temperature does get a bit warm but there are numerous trees on the grounds providing shade, making the visit much more comfortable. The entire facility is wheelchair and stroller accessible and luckily we are in a time of indoor plumbing, so there are public restrooms conveniently scattered about the facility grounds.
This fascinating trip back in time has been growing for decades and continues to grow as it adds more remarkable pieces of history to the collection. A log cabin has been recently acquired by the museum and will be moved to the grounds in the future, however reassembly and preservation will be needed before it will be ready to open for public viewing.
The staff at the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village is dedicated to preserving history and sharing it with others. Every member of the staff we encountered on our visit was enthusiastic about sharing with us their passion for history, and we found the staff to be not only knowledgeable and informative but extremely friendly and welcoming.
The Pioneer Florida Museum & Village also hosts many exciting and family fun events throughout the year. click here for their events calendar and for more info on each event.
- The Scarecrow Festival on October 12th, 2019
- Country Christmas & Vintage Market on December 7th, 2019
- Raising Cane, A Sweet and Spicy Event on January 11th, 2020
- Farm Festival & Quilt show on February 1st & 2nd, 2020
- Jelly Bean Fling on April 4th 2020
The Pioneer Florida Museum & Village is located at 15602 Pioneer Museum Road in Dade City, Florida and admission is a real value at only $10 per adult, $8.00 for seniors and $5.00 for children. Children under the age of 5 get in free. Museum hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m – 5 p.m.
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