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Long ago in Florida

By MICHELLE JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 25, 2003

Travel through some of Florida's early 20th century history at the Pioneer Florida Museum.

Glimpse life as it was long ago by visiting buildings assembled from all over Florida. See a two-story house built in 1860, visit a one-room schoolhouse or test the hard pews of the 1905 Enterprise Methodist Church.

All the buildings were donated and moved to this rolling hillside, 20 miles east of the Green Swamp. The buildings were restored and furnished with items from the era in which they were built.

The main building includes displays of dolls dressed like the wives of Florida governors, antique dentist's and doctor's offices, old typewriters and appliances and a small store that sells replicas of old-time toys, candy and clothing.

One of the museum's most recent additions is the 1927 Smith Country Store. Inside are coffee grinders, mailboxes, scales and other items from that time.

One of the highlights of the museum is the 1913 30-ton steam engine donated by Cummer Sons Cypress Co.

Two events draw visitors throughout the year. From 1 to 5 p.m., on the second Sunday of each month October through April, the museum is the host of Pioneer Craft Day with demonstrations of sugar cane grinding, wool spinning and pine needle crafts.

The 27th annual Pioneer Florida Day Festival, held during Labor Day Weekend, features crafts, Civil War battle re-enactments, antique exhibits and entertainment.

Pioneer Florida Museum

WHERE: North of Dade City off U.S. 301, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road. (352) 567-0262.

HOURS: 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

COST: $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $2 for children. Free parking.

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