Monday, November 3, 2014

A Visit to Dudley Farm.......



  .......Early on a Saturday morning members of the Orlando Area Historical Rose Society traveled by car-pool for two hours to the Dudley Farm Historical State Park. The park is located just a little west of Gainesville, Florida near Newberry. 

In the mid 1800's the Dudley family, moved from Charleston to Florida. Three generations of the family owned and worked the then 640 acre piece of land. For over 150 years, the family successfully maintained livestock, crops and large vegetable gardens. Eighteen original buildings included the farmhouse and separate kitchen; the old general store, a dairy shed and canning house, smokehouse, syrup house and mill, hay barn, tobacco barn, stables and the original drinking well and rainwater cistern. Also dating back to the 1800's are quilts, a large quilting frame, an 1835 Bible carried by P.B.H. Dudley through the Civil War, photographs and farm implements.

The landscape is typical of early Florida farms with gardens, grape arbors, pecan and fruit trees, fields, pinewoods and croplands of field corn, peanuts, field peas, sweet potatoes and sugar cane.

The group gathered under the trees waiting for our guided tour by park staff. It is still a working farm. Its buildings have been restored or are currently being restored to their original condition.

Our group was divided into two groups and she was one of the tour guides.
He was the enthusiastic leader of my group. I was so busy taking pictures that I missed a lot of his story telling and information. Had I heard it all maybe I could tell more about the farm.

We passed by the grazing Florida Cracker cattle. They are called Crackers because of the whips that the cattlemen used to make a cracking sound which helped move the cattle along.



An old wagon. One of several authentic farm implements and tools seen on the tour.

A hand cultivator.

They have their winter garden planted with very long, straight rows.

I noticed a lot of galvanized tubs and buckets around the farm which are probably used in the watering of plants and animals.

A grape arbor.

One of the split rail fences.

The syrup house.

I knew exactly what this was because my family had one when I was a young child and it is something I remember. The sugar cane press. The long post levels and a horse is hitched to one end and is walked around in a circle moving the press which extracts the syrup from the cane.


A fire is built in the fireplace to heat the syrup which is in a large, flat vat nearby.

  Martin houses made from gourds.

A well. Do you see the pulley on the horizontal pole? Buckets would hang from it and are lowered into the well to draw up water.
An old hand water pump.


Old clothes washer. Actually the washer is not in the picture. These are the rinse tubs. To the right, in the foreground is the rainwater cistern with a large bucket which is lowered down to draw the water up.

The wringers with a hand crank to operate the wringer. A piece of clothing is run through the ringer to squeeze the water out. This is also something I remember very well from my childhood. I helped mom with the clothes washing using something similar to this!

And, yet another childhood memory from long ago - lightening rods on the house.

We went through the house which is fully furnished with authentic pieces, including some original items mentioned in the introduction.

I took about a dozen pictures inside but due to darkness, they are not very good shots.
I like the hat on an old chair.

Back outside we came to the turkey pen.

This one is huge and continuously moved so he was difficult to photograph.

Bringing this to a close by showing a few pictures made inside the old general store.

I wish I could have spent a longer time in here looking at all the items.

And, it wouldn't be complete without a place to sit and play checkers for a spell!
It's time to get this group on the road again. Being a rose society, we had a scheduled stop at a nearby rose nursery. I know there are several new rose plants growing around our town now.
This has been one of my longest posts and is very heavy with pictures. I appreciate you staying with me to the end and hope you enjoyed the tour. Below is the exact location, in case you would like to make a trip there yourself.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park
18730 W. Newberry Road
Newberry, Fl. 32669
352 472 1142


  1. How interesting! Stewart and I love stopping in at these kinds of places. I like seeing the tools that homemakers used and the way they utilized their surroundings. Makes me much more appreciative of the conveniences that I have. Looks like a good time to me :-)

  2. I love these old, historic places. I have never seen a sugar cane press. Interesting! The wringer is like one that my gradma used. We were always warned to watch our fingers. Thank you for showing us this very interesting place.

  3. I've been there & have a flower growing that came from there. I really enjoyed it.

  4. It's nice to know that everyone was enthusiastic with that farm visit. The world is so modernized lately, that taking a break from the sights of concrete and buildings should be an annual recommendation. At any rate, I hope everyone had fun. Take care!

    Darren Lanphere @ Mirr Ranch Group

    1. Thanks for looking at the post and for taking time to comment!


Thank you for visiting ~ I love to get your feedback.