Heritage Village Project (Heritage Village Park)
When pieces of historic fabric—pioneer homes of the late 1800s and early 1900s—disappeared, Historical Society members dreamed of a heritage village to preserve these treasures for the benefit of future generations. Temporary relocation of “Cracker houses” began in 2005 when the 1930s Linzy house was moved to make way for Walmart and continued in 2008 when the Tully-McLaughlin House, within 14 days of scheduled demolition, was moved to a holding site on property near the intersection of US 319/98 in Medart where it remained for eight years.
In 2012, Ben Boynton of Tallahassee donated nearly 40 acres on Zion Hill Road for Heritage Village Park where the Smith Creek School and the Tully-McLaughlin House are now situated.
We will be moving the Laird House to the village by July 2018. This is an ongoing project to help preserve the heritage of Wakulla County and of its citizens.
Smith Creek Schoolhouse
The late Freeman Ashmore (1908-2003) was a local historian who attended The Smith Creek School as a youngster and described it in detail in his book, Looking Back. The building, 16 feet wide by 27 feet long, was built in the remote southwestern Wakulla County community on an acre of land donated by Lorenzo Cox. It had three six foot high windows on each side, two doors in the front, one in the back, and a seven-foot porch stretched across the front with a water shelf built on one end. The original roof of cypress shingles had a steep pitch being six feet from the crown to the center of the building. Water was brought from a nearby spring and kept with a gourd dipper on the shelf. Restroom breaks had girls dismissed to the woods on one side of the school, and later, boys would go to the other side. Community schools were consolidated in the 1930s, and since then, the building has been used as a community center, a polling place during elections, and as a base for emergency services. In 2013, when an EMS tower was to be constructed, the small building was moved from Smith Creek through the national forest east on Highway 267/Bloxham Cutoff and south on US 319 to Heritage Village.
Circa 1892 – Medart
George W. Tully (1845-1927) was living on a large farm in Crawfordville in 1892 when he moved his sawmill to the “wilds” of Medart and built a “single pen” bunkhouse there to accommodate himself and his sons while they worked through the week. The Tully family’s primary residence was the now beautifully restored house at 84 Ochlockonee Street in Crawfordville which now serves a funeral home. Also in 1892, George built the Historic Wakulla County Courthouse. It was also Tully who donated land for Crawfordville Cemetery.
Later, Tully sold the Medart building to John Archie and Annie Carraway McLaughlin, who parented nine children there. McLaughlin added rooms to the original building and established a store nearby. One of their sons, Alton James “Buddy Mac,” and his wife, Sedav Raker McLaughlin, lived there for more than half a century and operated the store during that time.
On September 10, 2014, the Tully-McLaughlin home was moved with great fanfare from Medart through the center of Crawfordville to its place in Heritage Village Park.
James Bartow Laird (1874-1947) and his wife, Nellie Pearl Eubanks (1882-1953), made their home in Hilliardville. Their son Bill and his wife Clora Mae Gray Laird reared nine children in the home, the youngest of whom, Cathy Laird Roberts, donated it to Heritage Village pending relocation. With funding from a 2017-2018 Florida Historic Resources grant, relocation of the home is anticipated this year.