If all the construction, the high rises and round-abouts make you wish for the good ole' days here on the Suncoast, then this is a good time to
visit the Crowley Museum and Nature Center and step back in time to the days of the early settlers.
Dixie Resnick, President of the Museum and Nature Center says, "This is one of Florida's last jewels. This is a very well kept secret. You'll actually see many different types of habitat out here that are very hard to find or experience in Florida today. "
Educational Director, Ann Cederberg says, "We have 191 beautiful acres here and there are few wild places like this left, so when you come out you really get to see old Florida. "
The Museum and Nature Center are like a giant classroom.
Ann says, "We specialize in teaching children and adults about Florida history , agriculture, sustainable living and many other things. We have an organic garden here and we teach children and adults where our food comes from and how it grows."
You first arrive at the Welcome Center.
Janie Nye, dressed like Floridians dressed in the 1800's greets you. She says, "We have local honey, we have local syrup local, survival items for camping out here. We having camping programs, and we have programs where we gather by campfire and watch the moom rise. We also have local artisans who have hand made crafts here. "
The Museum takes you back in time to the days of the cowboy, who around here was called a Florida Cracker.
Volunteer Riley Winans, is a walking encyclopedia. He says, "The original term was cow hunter. They did not use the ropes, they used whips which is why they were called Florida Crackers, because of the cracking of the cow hunters whips. Those cow hunters rounded up cows,drove them to a port and shipped them to Cuba."
Riley continues, "In Cuba, they were sold for Spanish gold. Some of the early cracker families had a chest of gold somewhere in their house from cattle they sold. "
This is the Tatum House.
Volunteer Carolyn Christian, also dressed in the outfit of those far away times, says, "I t was built in 1889 by Harvey Tatum for his wife Laurel with the help of 2 of her 5 children.She was widowed before she married him."
They had 8 more children together. And she raised all 13 children in this house.
A lot of mouths to feed.
Carolyn says, "It was a farm. They raised their food, They raised animals . There is a loom in the bed room. They wove some of their clothing."
The Tatum house, along with many other sports around the nature center is now a popular location for weddings. There are also 6 Florida Cracker Cows on the property. They are direct decendents of the cows that were here when the early settlers arrived, bred here to keep the line alive.
The Crowley Museum and Nature Center . One of the places that makes the suncoast, "A great Place to call Home".