The Goodwood Museum and Gardens

Originally, this area of land had been granted to the Marquis de Lafayette as a reward for his service to the US during the American Revolution. In 1837, North Carolina naturalist and plantation-owner Hardy Croom bought the land, but he and his wife were both drowned when the ship they were sailing to Florida sank in a storm. The land went to his brother Bryan, who built a cotton plantation and manor house here in the 1840’s.  In 1885, the plantation was sold to a British surgeon named Arrowsmith, who died shortly after. His widow lived at the manor until 1911, when she sold it to a wealthy widow from New Jersey named Fanny Tiers. She remodeled much of the house. Tiers then sold it to a US Senator, whose descendants later established a trust in 1990 to take ownership of the estate and turn it into a museum. Today, the grounds and the house have been restored to their appearance during the 1920s, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The house has been fitted out with 1910-1920 furnishings, and all of the plants in the garden grounds are heirloom varieties from the 1920’s.

Here are some photos from a visit.

The Main House. Built during the 1840’s, the outside walls and porch were remodeled in 1911.

The estate’s support buildings, as seen from the back porch of the Main House.

The Guest House. This is actually the oldest building at the estate—it is where the Croom family lived while the Main House was being constructed.

The Gray Cottage. The original purpose of this building is unknown—it may have been a storehouse for supplies to feed the slave workforce. It later was converted to a guest house.

The Girls’ Cottage. After slavery was ended in 1865, most of the work at the plantation was done by hired servants. In 1912, this cottage was built to house up to 16 servant girls who worked in the Main House. There was a telephone line installed so the Main House could call on the girls at any time of day or night.

The Laundry. One of the places where the servant girls worked.

The Water Tower.  In 1912, Fanny Tier added indoor plumbing to the Main House. To produce the necessary water pressure, this Water Tower was built at the spot where the plantation’s spring-water well had been.

The Aviary. This was built in 1825, when Goodwood was owned by Senator Hodges. It was used to house his collection of Macaws, peacocks, and monkeys.

Cline’s Cabin. Located a short distance from the Main House, this was where one of the male servants, Frank Cline, lived. He worked for the estate for almost 40 years before dying in the 1920’s.

The Swimming Pool. Built in 1912, it was one of the first heated outdoors swimming pools in Florida, and the earliest surviving example.

Originally built in 1912 as the bathhouse for the Pool, this building was used to house the more rowdy of the guests away from the Main House, and became known among the servants as the Rough House.

The Roller Skating Rink, built in 1911.

The Sunken Garden. Originally, it was the tennis court, but was converted into a garden by Senator Hodges.

A sitting garden.

Another sitting garden, behind the Main House

The Stables and Carriage House. Expanded in 1912 to hold both horses and “horseless carriages”.

On the original 1840 plantation, the cotton fields and the slave cabins would have been located behind the present-day Carriage House. Unfortunately that area is now covered by the Tallahassee Community College.

2 thoughts on “The Goodwood Museum and Gardens

  1. It’s supposed to rain here for the next 3-4 days, so I’ll be camped out in the mall food court working on manuscripts. But the plan is to be in Tallahassee till next weekend, then leave for Atlanta.

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