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The Jones Family Tenant Farm
Preservation efforts have largely ignored the history, culture and artifacts of the people who lived on and farmed most of the land of the old South – tenant farmers. Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is working to ensure that this life is not forgotten by restoring one of the few remaining tenant farm houses and corn cribs located on its original farm site in Leon County – the Jones Family Tenant Farm House and Corn Crib, built in the early years of the twentieth century at Tall Timbers.
Tall Timbers has restored the tenant house and corn crib to their original state, gather oral histories from surviving family members, and accurately preserve the cultural legacy of the African-American tenant farming communities on Tall Timbers Plantation. During this time, over $260,000 has been raised from public and private sources to restore the site. The final step was construction of interpretive exhibits allowing Tall Timbers to share this story with the public through educational tours and special events.
Tall Timbers was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Anheuser-Busch Companies for the Jones Family Tenant Farm interpretive exhibits. The funds were used to fabricate museum-quality exhibits, which tell the story of the invaluable role African-American tenants and their families played in the early history of southern agriculture.
The Jones Family Tenant Farm exhibit opened in May 2008. The exhibit design includes five interpretive panels enhanced by the art of local watercolor artist, Eluster Richardson. Much of the story is told by the tenants themselves from battery powered voice stations.
The restored tenant farm buildings provide an opportunity for the public to walk on an authentic tenant farm, and learn first-hand about the key role black tenant farmers played in Southern agriculture and the evolution of hunting plantations in the Red Hills of North Florida. The National Register of Historic Places designated Tall Timbers Plantation as Florida’s first cultural landscape in 1989.