Description - In 1970, the home of author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Life in rural Florida in the early 1900s still exists today on the farmland, marshland, pineland, and hammock. Today only 100 of the 2,000 citrus trees remain; however, the farmhouse and attached buildings including the famous veranda is still enjoyed. Florida State Parks System has managed eight acres of the historic site since 1970. Alachua County Parks and the University of Florida Foundation manage the remaining 60 acres of the original homestead.
Copyright: Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site
- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings arrived at Cross Creek in 1928 with her husband Charles Rawlings. She embraced her new life in rural Florida swept away with the easy style of backwoods country and southern farm life.
The eight-room farmhouse has adjoining structures connected by screened porches and verandas. Marjorie did most of her writing including "The Yearling" and "Cross Creek" from the veranda. Her novel "The Yearling" quickly became an American classic winning her the 1939 Pulitzer Prize.
The farmhouse appears today much as it did in the early 1900s nestled beneath tall orange trees with simple low rambling architecture known as the Cracker-style which was well-suited form Florida's climate that brings harsh sun, high winds and strong rains. Tall ceilings, abundant windows and numerous screened porches took advantage of summer breezes while fireplaces strategically placed kept the home warm in winter.
Approximately 100 of the 2,000 citrus trees remain today. The combination of orange, grape fruit and tangerine typify the early citrus industry while bringing Marjorie one of her greatest and simplest enjoyments and enlightenments. She ended her book Cross Creek with these words: "It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its seasonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time."
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings divorced Charles in 1933 but remained on the property even through the depression. In 1941, she married Norton Baskin and spent her remaining years between Cross Creek and St. Augustine until her death in 1953 at the age of 57.
Recreation - Public tours are offered Thursday through Sunday at 10 A.M., 11 A.M., and
each hour from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children 6-12 years and children under 5 years are free. The tours are limited to groups of ten, so expect a wait. Tours are not given during the months of August and September. The grounds are open for self-guided tours year-round including sights of a historical tenant house near the back of the property remembering those who worked the land. Two short trails begin from the farmhouse, each leading to the lakes that flank the property. School groups are welcome with advance notification.
Climate - Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The area offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. Summer temperatures average in the low 80's Fahrenheit and mid 20's Celsius. Winters are mild with temperatures averaging between the high 40's to the high 50's Fahrenheit. The average precipitation for the north central area is diverse. The central western area receives more than 60 inches per year while the central eastern tract receives about 50 inches. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site is located off State Route 325 in Cross Creek.