It was the sound – that whipping CRACK that snapped your attention across the green & brush & unyielding landscape of an early Florida – when Cowboys were Hunters & pioneers earned each day they lived.
And so they became known as Crackers. The men who hunted for the horses and cows left behind by Spanish explorers from another time. They found them with cracks of their whips, sent in the dogs to run them out of the cover of brush, and brought them home to grow their herds.
As time passed, herds of “tamed” beasts replaced the roaming, turning Kissimmee into “Cow Town USA” & bringing about the foundations of a future – where mice would build a world and draw the world in.
From the Cracker’s camp to a rich Cracker’s home, an orange processing plant to the Victorian age outhouse, you’ll find these and more at the Osceola County Historical Society’s Pioneer Village.
Set in ironical place “behind” the WalMart off of 192 in Kissimmee, you’ll leave the pavement of North Bass Road, and pass into a time some have forgotten.
This is where you’ll see what it was like to live here not so long ago. When washing clothes was assigned a day, and smoking meat filled the air with such a rich aroma it lingers today.
Tour the buildings – a Cracker house, a poor man’s home turned into a country store, see the Black Smith’s building and walk past the Cowboy’s camp. Then visit the one-room-school-house. An interesting specimen indeed – once a bachelor’s quarters, look up to see the map one very lonely man created after being banished here more than once. His hand created masterpiece – ala Michelangleo – is pretty much exact to how the area looked and developed.
A museum compliments the buildings, bringing another dimension to the village. You’ll see how African American’s contributed to the area’s growth – some vitally important to its progress – and how they were treated the same, and different as the black people of Florida & America of their time.
Tours are self guided, though as a member of the media covering the village, we were shown about by are gentleman guide, Phillip Jackson, the Program Coordinator. A map will draw you through. I would love to see a few more signs around, telling you some of the wonderful things we learned, but if you attend with a group with a guide, you’ll enjoy as much as we did. Contact them to see what is available or can be arranged.
The cost (as of this writing) $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for children 6-12 and Free for children 5 and under. Parking is free. The price seems fair and decent for this type of attraction. Its cheaper than most of the area attractions, and one can easily spend a half or full day. There is no food served on site, but you are welcome to bring a picnic and sit on one of the picnic benches or under a Spanish moss draped tree. Truly a lovely setting.
For more on what is currently on display, or for times, directions and pricing, please visit their website.
Osceola County Historical Society
750 North Bass Road