Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
During her sojourn here at
Cross Creek, Rawlings wrote
such Classics as The
Yearling, Cross Creek and
South Moon Under.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Florida
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Home
The quaint little frame house in Cross Creek was the
refuge and writing sanctuary of famed Florida author
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
The House at Cross Creek
A footpath leads past the barn
and through the orange trees
to Rawlings' home at Cross
Creek, Florida.
The Rusty Iron Gate
Rawlings wrote once about
the old gate that led from the
grove into the yard, describing
it as something of a magic
portal in her life.
Back of the House
Like many homes of the time,
the Rawlings house had a
detached back kitchen to help
protect against fire.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park - Cross Creek, Florida
Refuge of a Florida Author...
Many great writers choose to pursue their
work in simple settings, but few have ever
fallen in love with a people and place to the
degree of Pulitzer Prize winning Florida
novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

In 1928, after visiting Florida and falling in
love with the state and its unique blend of
people, Rawlings and her husband
purchased a 72-acre farm in Cross Creek.
Her simple frame home, orchard and yards
are now part of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Historic State Park. They represent
components of  one of the most significant
literary landmarks in the United States.

Although she had written in short form for
years, the move to Cross Creek (named for a
unique waterway connecting Orange Lake
and Lochloosa Lake) sparked the beginning
of one of the most important literary careers
in U.S. history. Rawlings found the people
and places of her remote Florida home to be
perfect inspiration for a series of books that
touched readers around the world.

The publication of her first novel,
South Moon
Under
, was coupled with her divorce in 1933,
making the year one of both accomplishment
and heartbreak for the writer. The book was
widely praised and was nominated for a
Pulitzer Prize. Then, in 1938, came her most
famous work,
The Yearling. The winner of a
Pulitzer Prize in 1939, the book told the
touching coming of age story about a young
boy and his pet deer. It became a movie
starring Gregory Peck and is one of the most
loved stories in American literature.

Other books by Marjorie Rawlings included
Cross Creek, When the Whippoorwill, Golden
Apples
, Cross Creek Cookery and The
Sojourner
. Although she alternated time
between several locations, among them the
top floor of what is now the top floor of the
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum in St.
Augustine, Rawlings did most of her writing
at the home in Cross Creek.

Although the old frame home appears quaint
by modern standards, it was rather large for
a time in which many rural Floridians still
lived in pine pole cabins and windowless
frame shanties. The writer herself described
the house perfectly when she noted in
Cross
Creek
that the yards had "a look of weather-
worn shabbiness."

The house at Cross Creek was the first in the
area to boast both electricity and indoor
plumbing. To celebrate the latter innovation,
the author hosted a "gala social event" that
featured a bathtub full of ice and a commode
filled with red roses.
Her literary fame brought a steady stream of
visitors to the house at Cross Creek. Among
those who spent time in the guest bedroom
were poet Robert Frost, author Margaret
Mitchell of
Gone With the Wind fame, artist
N.C. Wyeth and award-winning actor Gregory
Peck.

Sadly, the author's depictions of friends and
neighbors sometimes infuriated them when
they recognized themselves in her writings
and did not like the way they were portrayed.
In one case this led to a lawsuit against her
for invasion of privacy by long-time friend
Zelma Cason. The suit dragged on for years
and was ultimately won by Cason, but
resulted in an estrangement between
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her beloved
Cross Creek. She died in
St. Augustine,
Florida, in 1953.

The charming frame house and farm at
Cross Creek are now preserved as Marjorie
Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. The
grounds are open to the public from 9 a.m.
until 5 p.m., 365 days a year. Tours of the
house are available from Thursday through
Sunday at 10 and 11 a.m. and 1, 2, 3 and 4
p.m. There is a $3 fee per vehicle to enter the
grounds and the tours cost $$3 for adults
and $2 for children ages 6 to 12.

The park is located at 18700 S. County Road
325 in Cross Creek, Florida, which is located
between Gainesville and Ocala.
Please click
here to visit the official website for more.
When you arrive, park at the Marjorie Kinnan
Rawlings County Park next to the state park
and you will see the gate to the house.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.