About Taylor County Florida
A Rich Heritage: Forests, Fossils and Finery
"Tim-berrrr!" The triumphant call was heard here in Florida during the early 1800s, and since then Taylor County has played an integral role in the forestry industry. The advent of railroads in the county enabled area foresters to become bountiful providers of timber the world over - thus earning Taylor the title of "Tree Capital of the South." Visitors will enjoy a trip to the Forest Capital Museum State Park, honoring the timber industry as well as the unique natural woodlands of Florida. Each October, thousands of visitors flock to the park for the Florida Forest Festival, a tribute to the success of the logging trade in addition to ongoing reforestation projects. On the museum grounds, you'll also find the Cracker Homestead Interpretive Site, where you can see how early north Florida settlers lived at the turn of the twentieth century. Also visible from the state park, a well-worn passage crosses the Steinhatchee River - marking the route covered wagons used to take when they traversed the river at the falls.
Other intriguing historical sites in the area include the Old Taylor County Jail (the oldest remaining public building in Taylor County) and the Old Perry Post Office. During the Public Works Administration efforts of the Depression Era, the post office was the only public structure erected in the county to supply employment. Bestowed with a government grant, esteemed Florida painter George Snow Hill created a mural, "Cypress Logging," for the building. The mural can now be found in the new Perry post office.
The Taylor County Historical Society building houses a captivating collection of local memorabilia, including vintage clothing, Civil War military equipment, a hand-cranked Victrola and a variety of other historic items. You can also learn about the Aucilla River Prehistory Project - a Florida State University anthropology research project that explored our area, uncovering fascinating fossils, artifacts and clues about Florida's first people and how they lived.
Another link to our past lies in the story of the Hampton Springs Resort Hotel, constructed in 1910 just west of the city of Perry. Modeled after the lavish spas frequented by affluent northerners, the beautiful winter resort was built on the site of a sulfurous spring famed for its healing properties. The hotel had its own train depot, so wealthy travelers could be delivered right to the doorstep. Upon their arrival they could immediately begin enjoying a vacation in the lap of luxury: wide verandas, tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, a golf course, and landscaped grounds decorated with relaxing pools and fountains teeming with exotic fish. The hotel was destroyed by a fire in 1954 and was never rebuilt. Today the sulfur springs are part of the Taylor County Recreation Center, and the swimming pool is allowed to fill for summer swimming.