Plantation Houses of North Florida
Keywords:Plantation, culture, traditional, landscapes, construction
The concept of Plantation conjures an image that identifies the North Florida / South Georgia region of the U. S. Leon County attracted many cotton planters from Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina in the 1820’s to the 1850’s. Up to the beginning of the Civil War, Leon County was the 5th largest producer of cotton counting all counties from Florida and Georgia. The Civil War brought the plantation culture to a standstill.
The plantations transformed the environment based on their need for open fields in which to cultivate different crops, or raise a variety of animals with the help of slaves. From the 1900’s many plantations abandoned their land to nature producing a deep change in the local landscape. Today plantations are not used as much for planting crops but more for hunting or as tree farms. The hunting plantations do not grow crops but provide good conditions for the hunting of animals and birds. Other plantations were torn apart, sold and now are part of the Tallahassee urban fabric. In other words, they disappeared.
The transformation of the plantations has been slow and steady, and has become the image of the area, even the region. The paper shows five plantations that represent five different evolutions of these traditional landscapes. The landscapes have evolved to accommodate the very local but fluid definition of place. It is this transformation, this evolving identity which helped preserve some of the traditional landscapes and the traditional architecture on them.
The most prominent feature of the plantation is the “Big House” or plantation house. The house embodies all aspects of the plantation life style. The construction materials and methods reflected the times, the technologies and the available resources.
The research has been done mainly in the archives of the Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation. The results, still pending, explain the land typology as it evolved from the golden decades of the plantation culture to the present day land use.
Fisher, Broward, Shepard & Coons, A.I.A. Architects. Inspection Report Restoration of Princess Murat House. Jacksonville. 1969.
Florida Master Site File, Historical Structure For, 1959
Glassie, Henry. Pattern in the Material Folk Culture of the Eastern United States. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968.
Heiland, Sharyn. The Verdura Place: A Historical Overview and Preliminary Archeological Survey. Unpublished Thesis, Florida State University Department of Anthropology. 2001.
Linley, John. The Georgia Catalog. Historic American Building Survey. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 1982.
Little, J Rodney. Bellevue Plantation Report. Division of Archives, History and record Management, Department of State. Tallahassee, Florida.
McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986
National Register of Historic Places. Registration Form. Bannerman, Charles, Plantation. 1992
National Register of Historic Places. Inventory – Nomination Form. Bellevue. 1969.
National Register of Historic Places. Inventory – Nomination Form. Goodwood. No date (probably 1971).
Schwadron, Margo J. Verdura. Historic Preservation Board. Unpublished document. Tallahassee. 1993.
Swaim, Doug, ed. Towards Preservation of Place: In Celebration of the North Carolina Vernacular Landscape. Student Publication of the School of Design, Volume 26: North Carolina State University, 1978.
This House. Henry and Queen Anne Edwards House.
Waldorf, Gwendolyn B. The Old Place: The Charles Bannerman Plantation. Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board. 1992.
Waldorf, Gwendolyn B. Bellevue and Its People: 1854-1867. Tallahassee Museum, of History and Natural Science. Tallahassee, Florida 1995.
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License