Pioneer Day comes to the new Pioneer Village in Kissimmee

 Pioneer Village, 2491 Babb Rd., Kissimmee, Florida - 7th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)Pioneer Village, 2491 Babb Rd., Kissimmee, Florida - 7th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

Just recently Osceola County completed the move of Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek to Babb Road from it’s previous site approximately two miles away on Bass Road in Kissimmee.  We took the opportunity to visit the new site and look around. 

The first thing to notice is that the new site is several times bigger than the old site. The new site does retain the feel of taking a walk back in time to the days of the first Pioneer Families of Osceola County and to see how the pioneers lived in earlier days. 

This Saturday, 8th November, Osceola County Historical Society brings Pioneer Day to the new Pioneer Village and it’s an opportunity for families to enjoy some great live music from Slickwood, some good food as well as plenty of activities for the kids. Kenyon Lockry, a veteran to the Pioneer Day scene, will also be performing a mix of old and new country.

Pioneer Village, 2491 Babb Rd., Kissimmee, Florida - 7th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

Pioneer Village itself is comprised of a permanent collection of authentic structures which once upon a time stood in different areas of Osceola County. They were carefully relocated to the location and gently preserved to demonstrate how life was once lived before our modern times.

Some of the highlights of the village are:

Partin Family – Caretaker’s House (Entrance building)

The Caretaker’s House from the Partin Family is a great addition to the Osceola County Historical Society. Henry O. Partin made history in Osceola County by introducing Brahman cattle to the cattle industry in Florida. This structure was originally located on Partin’s ranch and served as a Caretaker’s House. Early research shows it may have been built in 1932. Although this makes the structure “newer” than the rest of the Pioneer Village buildings, it was still part of Osceola County history. This structure will be the first building you walk through with our gift shop located inside.

Pioneer Village, 2491 Babb Rd., Kissimmee, Florida - 7th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

Lanier – “Cracker House”

Built in 1889 by the Lanier family, prominent ranchers in Osceola County. The Cracker House, (pictured above) an early-American form of architecture, is defined by the center breezeway which creates a natural air conditioner for the home. Included with the house are a wash house, smokehouse, and gardens– all essential to homesteader life in the 1800’s.

Pioneer Village, 2491 Babb Rd., Kissimmee, Florida - 7th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

Tyson House

The Tyson family represent yet another variety of Osceola County settler. This family worked hard as farmers, but had far less expendable income. The one-room house, (pictured above),  is an original structure from Osceola County, and allows OCHS to tell the story of an average farming family in the late 1800s. This family had 11 children, and at one point 11 members of the family lived in the single-room dwelling.

  • The Tison house shares the story of James C. Tison and his family.
  • After working and living around Osceola County, James settled in Narcoossee at some point between 1884 and 1890.
  • He got married, had his first son, and purchased a small plot of land where James and his wife, Victoria, built their first home. According to property tax records, it appears the Tison home was built in 1892.
  • Over the course of 1890-1917, the Tison family welcomes 11 children.

Pioneer Village, 2491 Babb Rd., Kissimmee, Florida - 7th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

The Cadman Complex

When the Cadman’s arrived in New York by ship in 1888 on their way to Florida, they became part of a larger trend: investors – many of them wealthy – attracted to Florida by promises of natural bounty and beauty, temperate climate, and commercial opportunity. For the Cadmans, the enticement came by way of family patriarch, Lt. Col. William Edwin Cadman’s younger brother, John Heaton Cadman, Esq., who was involved in a Florida land development project.

The Cadman family purchased a home from the Fell & Davidson development group in Narcoossee. The family remodeled the home, (pictured above) to fit their needs, with Colonel and Mrs. Cadman occupying one bedroom, their daughter, Margery, in the second bedroom, and the three boys occupied a separate building called the Bachelors’ Quarters. Generations of the family grew up here, and many modifications were made to the home over the years.

Pioneer Village, 2491 Babb Rd., Kissimmee, Florida - 7th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

Seminole Village

Known today as the Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, the Seminoles trace their history to hundreds of tribes in the Maskoki linguistic family living in what is now the Southeastern United States. Spanish explorers and eventually the U.S. Government battled the Seminole tribes for land, culminating in the Seminole Wars of the early 1800s. At the end of the third war in 1858, a few hundred Seminoles remained in isolated areas of Florida, and the government abandoned efforts to relocate them.

  • The Seminole dwelling, or chickee, is an open, round-log wood frame with a thatched gable roof.
  • There is an elevated platform roughly 3 feet off the ground within the chickee.
  • Upright palmetto logs, unsplit and undressed, support the roof.
  • The thatched palmetto leaves are water tight, durable and resist violent wind.
  • Coontie plant roots were used to make flour.
  • The waterways like Shingle Creek were used for fishing, transportation and safety.

Mary Kendell Steffee Nature Preserve

Adjacent to Shingle Creek, this 7.8 acre preserve represents a piece of Osceola County as it was in the time of Florida’s original Native American tribes and early pioneers. The vegetation growing here provided the early inhabitants materials needed for dyes, clothing, medicine and other necessities.

Pioneer Day runs from 10.00am through to 4.00pm on Saturday 8th November 2014.

More photographs at

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