Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gamble Mansion

Lots has been happening last 10 days or so, so I will play catch up in chunks. Been on vacation with sister and BIL down in Fort Myers, FL, and I had a nice workshop when I got home. Lots of pics and doings, but I will start with the easiest as I'm not completely done processing pictures or collecting my thoughts. This posting is all about the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park. It is located just off I-75 in Ellenton, Florida, close to Bradenton, between Ft. Myers and St. Petersburg. My sister, her husband and my Russel stopped there on the way to visit my Auntie in St. Pete. It was a nice couple of hours and a very interesting tour.

First off, this picture of the mansion. Built in the 1850's, it is the only one of its kind on Florida's Gulf coast. I asked the ranger why there are no flowers around it and he said it was because there were none back in it's heyday. After Mr. Gamble went bankrupt because of falling sugar prices, the house was empty till it was used to store fertilizer. When the United Daughters of the Confederacy (followed by the State) took it over to preserve it in the 1920's, everything but the original tabby walls were replaced.
I could bore you with lots of information, but will just share the fun things I learned on the tour from the ranger. I don't know if his little bits of historical fun were true or made up, but I wrote them down to share.

In the slave workroom on the section of the house separated by a breezeway from the main building, was this interesting contraption called a weasel, used to wind thread after it has been spun on a wheel. Keeping track of production was everything then and this winder spun and wound 50 yards of thread. When it had done revolutions totaling 50 yards, the little button on the box popped up, thus giving us "pop goes the weasel."

This table was in the kitchen, next to the work room. On the table is a spider frying pan, used to bake in the coals of the fireplace, sort of a dutch oven. Also is a round iron ball with a handle used to roast coffee beans and behind it a coffee grinder. The plantation dogs would loiter outside the kitchen in the breezeway, a/k/a the dog trot, hoping for a hand out and barking. The cooks would fry up little balls of cornbread and heave them out in the yard, thus giving us "hush puppies."
This is one of the tester beds in the main house. It's called a rope bed. Keeping the ropes taut was important so that one could "sleep tight."

That's enough for this post. Next up will be pics from Sanibel Island and the Ford-Edison Winter Estates, especially the gorgeous flowers. Thanks for stopping by.

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1 comment:

~* Tracy *~ said...

loved all those history facts about the meaning behind sayings. Sounds like you had a lot of fun, and a very interesting time too :)