Hours and Admission

OPEN:

Thursday - Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

CMNC will be CLOSED:

New Years Day
Fourth of July
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day

Admission:

$8.00 ~ Adults
$3.00 ~ 5 to 12 years old
Free under 5

Click here for map to CMNC

butterfly

membership_donate membership donate



The Pioneer area at CMNC consists of a museum of pioneer history, pioneer cabin, working sugar cane mill and, one of our major achievements, the restored Tatum House. The office and gift shop are also located in this area.

The Museum

The Museum exhibits a variety of historic objects, mostly from the Crowley family and the Old Miakka area. Household furnishings, tools, and items from the original Old Miakka general store and post office are on display.

The Pioneer Cabin

A one room cabin typical of those built by homesteaders is maintained on the property. The cabin contains furnishings and utensils from the late 19th century enabling visitors to envision pioneer life as it was over a century ago.

The Sugar Cane Mill & Garden

A mainstay of local pioneers was sugar cane.  Used in a variety of ways, the sugar cane had to be squeezed and boiled to create syrup, molasses, brown sugar or even taffy.  A working sugar cane mill with a furnace and pot is on site for visitors to catch a glimpse of this labor intensive way of life.  Next to the mill is a garden with sugar cane, carrots, sweet potatoes, gourds, peanuts and more.

The Tatum House

This two-story "Cracker" house was built in 1889 by William H. Tatum and his two step-sons as the home for his wife and children. Over the years, the house was expanded to accommodate the couple's thirteen children.  One of the oldest examples of rural architecture in Sarasota County today, it was relocated to the Center and restored to its 1892 appearance.


The Tatum-Rawls House

by Missy Brewer who gratefully acknowledges Spessard Stone’s contribution of data on the life of Laura Fredonia Redd.



The 1889 Tatum-Rawls House at Crowley Museum and Nature Center is one of the oldest examples of pioneer Florida architecture still standing in Sarasota County. The building is a record of southwest Florida’s rural history. The Center’s volunteers have helped restore the house so that it may interpret history for future generations. Donations of period artifacts will make the house a home – typical of the period and region – once again.

Laura Fredonia Redd, born July 10, 1859, grew up on the expanding American frontier in Florida. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Redd, nee Elizabeth Brown and Isaac Alderman Redd, the first Baptist minister who settled in the area in 1867 and gave Bee Ridge its name. In marriage, the daughter became Laura Rawls, the wife of Sebern C. Rawls and the mother of five children. By her early twenties, she was a widow. In 1889, Laura moved into her new home built by her two children, Hilton and Charlie Rawls and her second husband, William Harvey Tatum, and the family enlarged the house in 1892.

The Tatum family had migrated to the area from Tatum, S.C. after the Civil War, some settling in what became Tatum Ridge. William H. Tatum, the son of one of these settlers, and Laura eventually had eight children together. After William’s death, Laura remarried taking Harvey Tatum, the builder of the Tatum house, as her second husband.  He was born in 1863 and died of a stroke in 1924 at age 61.  Laura lived in the house until 1945 when she then lived with her youngest daughter, Clara on Laurel Street in Sarasota  until her own death on February 27, 1950 at age 92.

Rebecca Tatum Hull, daughter of Harve and Laura Tatum,  was a friend and neighbor of Jasper Crowley who donated the land now known as the Crowley Museum and Nature Center so it is fitting that the house in which she was born is now restored and situated on the Museum grounds where Mr. Crowley spent so much time and effort to construct a display of the early settlers' way of life.  When Crowley Museum and Nature Center acquired it, the house had been empty for nearly four decades and demolition was imminent. In 1996, a caravan hauled pieces of the building – roof, porches, house – from its original site near Proctor Road at 3 a.m. along quiet streets to a site at the Center which nearly duplicates its original setting among pine trees. Five years and $100,000 later, the Tatum-Rawls House was restored by volunteers and donors and with grant assistance.

Plans to interpret the interior of the house are underway. Material artifacts appropriate for non-climate controlled display will help document the history of the rural Florida pioneer lifestyle, particularly the contributions of women in the household. Donations of items representative of the average Florida pioneer homestead will generously support this effort.

If you wish to place a donated item on display in the Tatum-Rawls House, the Center will gratefully respond to your inquiries. The pioneer life is waiting to be told through dishware, cookware, handmade brooms and other artifacts of Florida frontier life.


bigmaxsstudio