Livingston Place Earns Listing on National Register of Historic Places

In January 2022, the National Park Service added the 9,125-acre Livingston Place property in Greenville, Florida, to the National Register of Historic Places, making it one of the largest designated sites in the state. National Register designation recognizes this distinct cultural landscape, along with its architectural significance, while also helping protect and preserve it for the future.

Tall Timbers has owned Livingston Place — known as Dixie Plantation from 1926-2020 — since 2013, when the Geraldine C.M. Livingston Foundation gifted the historic quail hunting property to our organization.

As current steward of the property, Tall Timbers has expanded wildlife research and made land management improvements, in addition to completing a multi-phase restoration and rehabilitation project of the 1938 Livingston Place Main House — with financial support from members of Tall Timbers’ Board of Trustees, the Red Hills community, and three Florida Department of State Special Category grants.

Master architect John Russell Pope designed the Main House; it is the only one of his designs in Florida. Pope is known for designing several prominent Washington, DC buildings, including the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art.

“Restoring the Livingston Place Main House brings life back to this historic structure and allows Tall Timbers to utilize it for guests, science and conservation gatherings, and community events. We are excited about this first step as we evaluate a course of action based on usage and demand,” commented Dr. Bill Palmer, President and CEO of Tall Timbers.

The National Register designation is also very much about this distinct American landscape of large quail hunting preserves, rich in natural and cultural resources, explained Kevin McGorty, Tall Timbers Land Conservancy Director and nomination co-author. “This is one of the largest properties listed in the National Register from Florida, reflecting a distinct cultural landscape that was shaped by both the Livingston family and their sporting interests, and the African American tenant farmers who lived and labored on the land.”

Tenant House at Livingston Place

The Legacy of the Livingston Family

The Livingston family left a rich legacy by making the property a nationally recognized field trial venue, showcasing competition among some of the nation’s top bird dogs and their handlers. The prestigious Continental Field Trial has been hosted annually at the site since 1937, and is one of few remaining field trail events with wild bobwhite quail, thanks to science-driven land management practices that include the traditional use of prescribed fire.

The Livingstons’ implementation of land stewardship practices, as promoted in the Red Hills region by early conservationist Herbert L. Stoddard, improved not only the property’s wild quail populations, but also conserved other wildlife and restored habitats, including longleaf pine forests.

Intertwined with conservation, Livingston Place is significant for its direct association with Black tenant farmers and sharecroppers and their important role in the Red Hills’ economic, recreational, and environmental development. African Americans, freed from slave labor on large-scale agricultural plantations, adopted small-scale patch farming and cultural burning that favored quail populations and played a pivotal part in the success of hunting preserves in the Red Hills region after the Reconstruction era. Black employees at these properties also ensured smooth running of the preserve operation as skilled dog handlers, horse trainers, and house and grounds workers.

Interpretive Exhibit for the Main House Being Developed

Three tenant farmer cabins, a commissary, two workers’ cottages, three cemeteries, and a dog cemetery remain as surviving features to tell the story of this working landscape. Tall Timbers is also developing an interpretive exhibit for the main house, to share with visitors the history of the Livingston family and the role of African American farmers in shaping this revered American landscape known as the Red Hills.


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