Special programs at the MKRHSP are sponsored by the Friends of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Recent programs include readings, a gardening program, musical events, and others. Watch for upcoming events. The public is invited.
CROSS CREEK - The Florida Park Service joined the National Park Service on Saturday, March 3, 2007, to celebrate the designation of the Cross Creek home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings as a National Historic Landmark. Dr. Janet Matthews, Director of Cultural Resources for the U.S. Department of the Interior, presented the park with a plaque recognizing the Cross Creek home as an important part of the nation's history. The celebration continued with readings from some of Rawlings' most notable works, along with music and refreshments.
"Florida State Parks manages 336 culturally historic sites, including seven National Historic Landmarks with this addition," said Florida State Park Director Mike Bullock. "Preserving these cultural sites as well as interpreting their meaning for visitors and citizens is an important part of the Florida Park Service's mission and allows visitors to explore the state's heritage."
Born in 1896 in Washington, D.C., Rawlings graduated from the University of Wisconsin and went on to work as a journalist for the next 10 years. In 1928, she came to Florida to run an orange grove farm and write. Today her Cross Creek farm is the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, where thousands come each year to walk through the house, grove and farmyard. It was in this rural Florida community that she wrote her award-winning novel, The Yearling (1937), and Cross Creek (1942). Over the years, she built friendships with fellow writers Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost and Margaret Mitchell. Marjorie also became a civil rights advocate and befriended and corresponded with Mary McLeod Bethune and Zora Neale Hurston.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings ends Cross Creek, the story of her life in rural Florida, 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 season, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time."
"National Historic Landmarks help tell the story of America as a country and of Americans as a people - our history, our land, our culture, our literature and architecture and our struggles," said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. "I encourage all Americans to visit these places and breathe deeply of our history."
The National Historic Landmark designation is the highest U.S. recognition awarded to historic properties determined to be of exceptional value representing an important theme, event or person. National Historic Landmarks can be sites where significant historical events occurred, places where prominent Americans worked or locations that represent ideas that shaped our nation. Fewer than 2,500 historic places carry the title of National Historic Landmark, with 39 sites located in Florida.
The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, located in Cross Creek, Florida, provides a glimpse into the history of 1930s farm life. From touring Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' Cross Creek farm to hiking, the state park offers a multitude of cultural and recreational opportunities for visitors.
Leslie brought her animal friends to the MKRHSP on May 19, 2007, at an event sponsored by the Friends. An appreciative crowd learned all about the wild critters she has rescued and how we can help preserve their endangered habitats. From owls and gopher tortoises to hawks and possums, up close and personal is the way Leslie Straub cares for the injured wildlife that find their way to her. She is a director of Florida Wildlife Care, Inc., which is dedicated to the care and conservation of native wildlife and habitat in Florida.
Here are some selected photos.
An appreciative crowd learned all about the wild critters from Leslie.
Leslie with a gopher tortoise.