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USA Parks
Florida
North Central Region
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park
MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLINGS HISTORIC STATE PARK
MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLINGS HISTORIC STATE PARK
18700 S. CR 325
Cross Creek, Florida   32640

Phone: 352-466-3672
Visitors to this Florida homestead can walk back in time to 1930s farm life. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lived and worked in the tiny community of Cross Creek. Her cracker style home and farm, where she lived for 25 years and wrote her Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Yearling, has been restored and is preserved as it was when she lived here.

Marjorie Rawlings was honored as a First Floridian by Governor Crist in March of 2009. The United States Postal Service released a commemorative stamp in 2008 honoring Marjorie and the literary arts. In 2007 the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house and farm yard was designated as a National Historic Landmark. The National Historic Landmark designation is the highest such recognition accorded by our nation to historic properties determined to be of exceptional value in representing or illustrating an important theme, event or person in the history of the nation.

Visitors may tour the house with a ranger Thursdays through Sundays, October through July (except for Christmas and Thanksgiving) at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 p.m. Tours at the park begin at the barn, walk through the farmyard and then through the historic house.

The farmyard, grove, and nature trails are open 9:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m. daily, throughout the year.

Picnic facilities are located in the adjacent county park. Located in Cross Creek off County Road 325.

The park is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
History of the Area
So Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings began the story of her life in this rural Florida community. Coming to Cross Creek in 1928 with her husband Charles Rawlings, she settled into her new life in this "half-wide, backwoods country," growing oranges, cooking on a wood-burning stove, writing down her impressions of the land and her Cracker neighbors. Immediately, she felt an affinity for the place and made a lifelong commitment to it: "When I came to the Creek, I knew the old grove and the farmhouse at once as home."

She sat most often on the wide veranda at her typewriter, writing the books that would endear her to the world and capture forever the beauty of Florida and the spirit of its people. The Yearling, an American classic and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is the story of young Jody Baxter's coming of age in the big scrub country which is now the Ocala National Forest. Cross Creek is a chronicle of her life at the Creek, a "love story," she called it, where she reveals her favorite haunts, marvels at the passing of the seasons, introduces the reader to her friends and neighbors and shares with the whole world her love of Florida. Here, the land and its people roused her, and her writings blossomed into works that have placed her among the best known names in American literature.

Her farmhouse "sat snugly then as now under the tall old orange trees, and had a simple grace of line, low rambling, and one-storied." Three separate structures connected by a bathroom, screen porches, open verandas, comprise the eight-room house built of cypress and heart pine. The house has withstood the "wind and rain and harsh sun and encroaching jungle" for nearly 100 years. The Cracker-style architecture is well-suited for the hot Florida climate and includes open porches, tall ceilings and plenty of windows and screened doors to take advantage of the cool breezes. In the winter, four fireplaces and the wood-burning stove took the chill off the rooms.

Outside, the citrus grove of orange, grapefruit and tangerine trees surrounded the house. In the magic of the grove, she found her greatest pleasure: "Enchantment lies in different things for each of us. For me, it is in this: to step out of the bright sunlight into the shade of oranges trees; to walk under the arched canopy of their jadelike leaves; to see the long aisles of lichened trunks stretch ahead in a geometric rhythm; to feel the mystery of a seclusion that yet has shafts of light striking through it. This is the essence of an ancient and secret magic." In her groves, Marjorie Rawlings found peace and inspiration.

Her book Cross Creek ends with these words: "It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its seasonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time."

Divorced from Charles Rawlings in 1933, Marjorie Rawlings stayed on at the Creek alone through the Great Depression and into more prosperous times. In 1941, she married Norton Baskin and divided her time between their St. Augustine home and her Cross Creek retreat where she continued to write up until her death in 1953 at the age of 57.


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Trails
Two fifteen minute hiking trails move away from the farmyard and into the woods. The East Grove Trail is a wide trail that begins directly in front of the historic house. It was once the access road to a young orange grove that Rawlings planted and now moves east through a hammock. Behind the house, a narrow jungle trail leads through fern forests to a cypress grove. The walk north from the parking area to the farmyard is along a trail through the citrus grove.
Nature Programs
The entire farmyard is set in the 1930s as it was in Rawlings time, creating a living exhibit. Each structure and artifact tells a story of life in that time. Guides and brochures are available to give additional information.
Things To Do in the Area
Cactus Jack's Trail Rides - Ocala, FLHorseback Riding
We offer trail rides to singles, couples, or groups. All rides are guided to assure safety for rider and horse. There are trails through the Florida Horse Park and into the Cross Florida Greenway Trail system. Most trails are shaded and quite scenic.
Web Site: cactusjackstrailrides.com/
29.3 miles from park*
Riverscape Boat Tours LLC - Ocala, FLBoating
Ride silently on nature tours on the silver river. The most beautiful river in the world. We transport guests back in time to wild Florida as it was thousands of years ago - untouched and untamed. Sparkling clear water that has over a hundred feet visibility. Book the Silver River trip now as the boats fill fast.
Web Site: riverscapesboattours.com
20.3 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
November 13 Serene by chris
I have visted this place several times and each time i find something that i hadnt noticed before. the constant of ms. rawlings typewritter on the porch is reassuring, and one can feel her spirt there. i try to imagine living there in that period of time, and tho life was hard, and the people tough there is a sense of peace and being one with nature.
March 2


Area Campgrounds

Ocala North RV Park
16905 NW Highway 225
Reddick, FL


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Wynnhaven Riverside RV Park - Bushnell, FLCampgrounds
Wynnhaven Riverside is located on County Road 48 in the small town of Bushnell, Florida. Whether you are visiting Florida and want sun or prefer to camp in the shade of Florida's grand oak trees, we have units available for both.
Web Site: wynnhavenriverside.com
54.1 miles from park*
Pets
Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times. If you take a tour of the house, pets must be hand carried.
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Directions
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park is located between Ocala and Gainesville in Cross Creek, at 18700 S. CR 325.

USA Parks
Florida
North Central Region
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park
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