Monday, December 14, 2009

Cracker Farmhouses, 1840-1920

don't miss the details, click on the photos
Manatee Historical Village contains an 1887 Church, a cracker house, 2 barns, boatyard, school house and courthouse, all of which is decorated for Christmas and as close as as they could as it was a hundred years ago. 
Lest you think I want to go back to those days, READ on dear readers.

My grandmother lived in a house very similar to this one, minus the picket fence.
For those of you not born in Georgia or Florida I will define Cracker House.

In its simplest form, a Cracker house is a wooden shelter built by the early Florida and Georgia settlers. Lured to Florida by cheap and plentiful land, these pioneers arrived with few provisions and needed to erect shelter quickly and cheaply. The brush provided abundant supplies of cedar and cypress. Rocks or bricks made of oyster shell and lime served as pilings to keep the shelters off the ground. A wide shade porch wasn't just an embellishment. In pre-air-conditioned Florida, the porches provided relief from the relentless sun.  No AC! No Central Heating!

Beatiful Parlor. See the fireplace? that's the heating for the whole house. No electric, and they did not even have a butane lighter to light that oil lamp. Note: the rocker does not recline or have anywhere to put your feet up. Of course they did not need a recliner because they never had time to sit down long enough to recline. they could not buy the wood for the fireplace at Wal-Mart, they had to CHOP it. And did I mention they had to hand craft all those tree decorations? Also note the stocking are HAND knitted socks.

See that trunk? the kind we love to use as coffee tables? that is where they kept their linens and quilts (note:quilts were made by hand NOT bought in a store) no linen closets in sight. in fact there is not a closet in the house, walk in or not. they used nails on the walls behind the doors or a wardrobe if they were lucky.

see the candle on the bedside table? Guess what? No candle stores, it took hours to make the candles. Think they got the decorations at the mall? Wrong. they had to tramp through the woods and cut it down. I doubt the early settlers had ribbons. also note how small the bed is. You are looking at the wall to wall space, the bedroom is the size of what you see in the photo.  Note: do you see a TV? a computer? alarm clock? YIKES

For those of you who are not familar with an Outhouse, this is one.
I lived in a house in Kentucky, when I was 13 years old, no running water no indoor plumbing. Our outhouse looked just like this, MINUS the decoration. It was down the hill about 50 yards through the snow. Our only heat was a coal burning stove. our house was very similar to the one above and there was only one coal burning stove in the living room to heat a 9 room house. and guess who had to bring the coal in a bucket up from the basement? ME! and the basement was dark and scary and haunted.

I love old houses and I love history and historical sights, but this quote says it all.

People seem to get nostalgic about a lot of things they weren't so crazy about the first time around. ~Author Unknown

Count your blessing count them one by one......................our homes are full of them.


Catherine said...

Great pictures, as always. Great details.

Sunny said...

What a wonderful house. Your posts are always so interesting.
Sunny :)

Madeline said...

Great blog. Love the pictures of the "olden days!" You are right, that we are all spoiled. I know life in Kentucky was not easy, but I also know you remember it fondly. I never had to haul coal, or have to use an out house, so I know I am blessed. You are a toughie for living like that and it makes you appreciate what you have today. You are right, we want to remember it, but don't want to go back.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

oh what a neat little 'cabin' Sandra... Yes, our ancestors worked alot harder than we have to these days. We are a SPOILED bunch, aren't we??? You should have heard me complain about having to live a day without water in our house.. Gripe Gripe... ha..

BUT--we could get in our nice car and go to the store and BUY some water... Shame on me for complaining!!!!

We had a huge coal furnace in the home I grew up in in Virginia. We did have indoor plumbling --so no outhouse, but I remember Daddy having to go to the basement and 'stoking' the furnace to get the heat started in the house. I also remember them delivering coal to our house ---and dumping it through a 'shoot' into the basement...

Thanks again for the memories. I'd love to see that little village in your area. Love their Christmas decorations.

Snapper II said...

Gosh yall sure are old, I don't remember when there was no Mall no wal-Mart. Were there any Indians, or even dinosours. Yikes.

Ginny said...

You couldn't have put it better! I still love that spanish moss! It makes the lighting and shadows georgous. But I suppose if we had it here, I would just be allergic to it or something. I clicked on several of the pictures. That tree is sure loaded. I wonder if all the ornaments are ones they would have made? I don't know about that sailboat, though. Some of the real old huses in my neighborhoos have no closets. I had never heard of cracker houses. Around here, cracker box houses are smallish square houses that all look the same. Remember the George Harrison song "Cracker Box Palace"?

SquirrelQueen said...

I haven't heard the term Cracker house in decades, this Georgia girl has forgotten a lot of her heritage. This is a gorgeous house, I love to explore places like this one. The Christmas tree and fireplace are so lovely, but so much hard work would have gone into making it that way.

Thanks for the tour Sandra.


MedaM said...

I completely enjoyed this post of yours; both in the beautiful photos and your wiring. People didn’t know for better and they were more satisfied and more happy. This reminds me of my childhood when I was so happy and carefree. Well, there was electricity and running water and a bathroom in the house….but the first black and white TV my father bought in 1965 when I was 5 years old little girl. What attraction it was! 27 years later I experienced almost four years without electricity, water, gas, wood, and with the food only enough to survive. I thought back then that those who survived would be satisfied and appreciate more what they have but I am sad to realize how wrong I was. People became greedy more than ever before.