Friday, September 03, 2010

Pine Castle Historical Markers - part 1

Yesterday, a group of us met to plan a series of historical markers to be placed in the Pine Castle area. I thought I'd share the rough drafts with ye socks and welcome your edits/input. Currently, we have come up with five signs with verbage on front and back of each. So, a total of ten blurbs. Here's the first:


Will Wallace Harney built a large English-style home he called “Pine Castle” on his homestead along the western shore of Lake Conway in 1873. The house was constructed from the pine trees which grew on his land. Two turrets flanked the front entrance of the house, and the boards that formed the exterior walls were attached vertically instead of the more common horizontal method.

Harney planted a variety of crops on his homestead lands, but made his living primarily as a writer. He became an unofficial ambassador for Florida during the 1870s, through articles about the wonders of the state he submitted to newspapers such as the Cincinnati Commercial. With his words, he transported readers to the exotic land of orange groves, pine forests, and alligators when Florida tourism was in its infancy.

In 1884, Harney left his Pine Castle to move to Kissimmee and establish a weekly newspaper dubbed “The Bittersweet.” His once grand old home was left vacant and fell into disrepair before being destroyed by fire in 1894. Mr. Harney then retired to Jacksonville, where his only son had settled.

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