Monday, March 28, 2011

Kingsley Plantation part I

Sometimes the coolest things are just around the corner from where you are.  My husband and I found that out when we went to do a small Monkey Bars installation over a week ago.  The people who made the wooden bowls told us about the Kingsley Plantation and insisted that we head on over there after leaving their place.  It was just a few miles away and was a must see in Jacksonville. 

It was a beautiful drive.  Some of it was paved, but most of the drive was dirt.

When I think of dirt roads I see Michigan dirt roads.  Dark brown and rocky.  Florida dirt roads are creamy white.  It comes from being at sea level.  We don't have a lot of dirt, but we've got a lot of sand.

The main house is by the water and the slave quarters are the buildings in the semi circle to the South.

This is what was written on one of the information boards
The lost art of Tabby
Constructed nearly 200 years ago, these cabins were home to enslaved people.  Following emancipation, former slaves lived here and worked the land.  Slowly, individuals and families moved away, leaving the buildings to fall into ruin.

Tabby was a labor intensive concrete made from oyster shells, sand, and water.  Tabby was poured into forms, layer by layer, until it became the buildings in front of you.

This house seems to have been restored to some degree.  The stucco has been put over the tabby walls and the fireplace has been restored, minus the chimney.

Can you imagine feeding your family from this little fireplace?  Or living in these tiny little homes?  They were just two rooms.  Two very small rooms.

It was pretty warm the day that we toured the plantation and it struck me how hot these little houses must have been most of the year.  Cooking with fire all year round in the oppressive Florida heat.

This is the photo from the information board below.

Part two tomorrow along with some history of the family that owned the plantation. 



Emmie said...

I think they would of seen it as luxury to have two very small rooms. I know when I was reading the history of slaves and even the history of Birmingham, UK with the BACK to BACK houses it was surprising how many families would have just ONE room, a SHARED toilet and no outside space.

Ann in the UP said...

Very interesting. It is distressing to think of people living under those conditions, but amazing to me that people learn how to utilize the materials at hand to make dwellings. Thanks for sharing your visit with us.

Caution said...

I can't imagine anyone living in Florida pre-air conditioning. What an interesting construction though! Can't wait to read the next chapter.

Keetha Broyles said...

Of course I've heard of slave quarters before, and knew they were tiny little cabins. However, I never heard now saw them laid out in a uniform semi-circle like that before!

I imagine the thick walls of the tabby would help the inside be cooler - - - but NOT with a fire going for cooking! I HOPE they moved their cooking outdoors in the heat of summer, do you think? I know in Haiti they cook over fires outdoors and not in their little abode.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Now that is a place I would like to visit. When I think of those days it makes me so sad. How interesting that the buildings are still up. Thank you for sharing.