With the addition of a replica train depot to the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek
, we reflect back on the important role the rail system played in Osceola County since that first train rolled into Kissimmee one hundred, thirty four years ago.
Field Trips are a great way for students to experience their lessons with immersive encounters of the subject of study. Living History field trips
sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and Duke Energy are an excellent example of these encounters. Students are transported to the 1880s-1890s at the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek
, where docents, dressed in period costume, guide students through Osceola County’s past.
“The name “Al-Marah” means “the oasis,” a pretty, green, bountiful place. Mother’s farm started in Tucson, Arizona,” Mark tells me, mentioning that the farm was named by Carl Raswan, who visited the irrigated farm in the middle of the desert and claimed “This is a real Al-Marah.”
It’s immediately clear that Mark’s mother, Ruth “Bazy” Tankersley, shared her passion for preserving the integrity of the herd of Arabian horses with her son. When I ask Mark what sparked his mother’s interest in breeding Arabian horses, Mark’s eyes light up, as he begins a fantastic tale of the trail ride that started it all. “Mother liked wide open spaces,” he tells me, so it wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary when she took off on a 50-mile trail ride on her thoroughbred, with a guide who was riding a pony.
Narcoossee, Florida was established in 1884, and comprised of English immigrants. By 1887, the settlers of Narcoossee began to meet for worship services. Depending on the weather, some of the meeting would be held outdoors, otherwise if there was a chance of rain the meeting would be relocated in someone’s home. Eventually there was talk of building an Episcopal church and fundraising efforts began. The majority of the money was raised locally and some of the funds came from England for the completion of the church in 1897.
Rumors circulated over the years claiming that the wood & furnishings were sent over from England. Records show the lumber for the construction of the church and the roof shakes (shingles) came from the Fell-Davidson sawmill in Narcoossee, the bell (from a factory in Ohio) was previously used at the Runnymede Hotel and the Gothic style church was designed by an Orlando architect.