Florida History Comes Alive in Largo Park
There's nothing like a sunny spring day with a warm breeze to remind you why so many people came to Florida -- and stayed. A walk around Heritage Village, the Pinellas County historical park, gives you a visceral feeling for the reasons pioneers decided to settle in the Tampa Bay area.
|McMullen House at Heritage Village|
This 21-acre living history museum includes almost every kind of building from turn of the century Florida, all moved to the park from their original locations around the county. Several are important to local history, including the McMullen House, built in 1868, the oldest continuously-occupied home in Pinellas County, and the McMullen-Coachman Log Cabin, circa 1852, the oldest existing structure in the county.
|House of Seven Gables at Heritage Village|
You can walk through most of the buildings and view first hand how the early residents of Florida spent their days. Two of the houses, the House of Seven Gables (1907) and the Walsingham House (1915) are completely furnished and viewed with a docent-guided tour.
|Moore Farm House at Heritage Village|
More of everyday life in the early 20th Century is on display at the Lowe House (1888) and Barn (1911-12) with boiling shed, sugar cane mill and smokehouse, and the Moore House with small garden, water tower, windmill and two Depression-era hothouses.
|H.C. Smith Store at Heritage Village|
On the business side of things are the H.C. Smith Store (1915), a fully furnished neighborhood store with a barbershop up front and an auto service garage out back, and the Sulphur Springs Depot (1924), a typical small-town train station. And these are just the most notable of nearly two dozen buildings you can tour on your own plus an exhibit hall that tells the story of the growth of Pinellas County.
|Caboose outside Sulphur Springs Depot at Heritage Village|
All photos (c) R.F. Abercrombie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
For a fun and educational walk on a beautiful spring day, you can't do much better than a stroll around Heritage Village in much the same way as the original inhabitants did. The park is open Wednesday through Sunday except county holidays and admission is free. If you feel like continuing your trip, just north of the park is the Florida Botanical Gardens. When you're done, you'll have some new reasons to stay in the Sunshine State.