Talking Walls of Florida’s Haile Homestead
You’ve heard the old saying If walls could talk. Well, at a house in Gainesville. Thomas Evans hell and his wife Serena Chestnut Hill came to this area from Camden South Carolina in 1854. They established a fifteen hundred acre of sea island cotton plantation on this site. They named a canopy hot, which is Indian for small thatched houses.
The family brought with them 56 slaves who carried out Mr. Hill’s plans for a home. It completed in 1856. It’s a mismatch of architectural styles, really including Greek Revival. Southern Georgian. And hence a Florida cracker foot tall peers of mortared Wainwright’s support a foundation of 100 foot long beams.
The houses constructed of pine with Cypress siding. There were lots of ups and downs for this family over the years. They came here wealthy and then nearly lost it all. In late 1860 is because of crop failure, a family member help them avoid bankruptcy, and they bounced back strong in the eighteen seventies after diversifying their crops. Something unique draws people to the homestead.
Today, the whole family had an unusual tradition of writing on the wall. It started with family matriarch Serena when she ran out of paper.
She simply jotted down notes on anything she could find. Walls turned out to be the most convenient because every room had one or four experts have counted over twelve thousand five hundred words scribbled in almost every room in closets. There are recipes and addresses to elaborate drawings and funny quotes and sayings, even ways to get out stubborn stains.
And this whole note from 1883 as an inventory of the kitchens forks and spoons. The earliest writing dates back to 1859 when a seven-year-old Ben Howell scribbled his name and one of the upstairs rooms after the hells died in the mid-80s 90s. The House passed to their son Evans the 14th of their 15 children. He was a prominent defense attorney and white to throw elaborate parties at the House. His friends continue the tradition of leaving messages on the walls the House the boarded up and abandoned.
From the 1930s until the 1970s, when it discovered by architecture students from the University of Florida, the hell homestead is one of the last surviving antebellum homes in north-central Florida. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places back in 1986.
In addition to all of that, there is still so much more to do and see in Gainesville. It would take forever to lay it all out. But I would like to know which one is your favorite place to see here.