Penney Farms Museum closer to completion

Organizers target grand opening next month

By Nick Blank nick@opcfla.com
Posted 10/27/21

PENNEY FARMS – Renovations of the Penney Farms Fire Station, which the town will turn into a museum detailing the town’s rich history, are complete following a $30,000 Clay County Product …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Penney Farms Museum closer to completion

Organizers target grand opening next month

Posted

PENNEY FARMS – Renovations of the Penney Farms Fire Station, which the town will turn into a museum detailing the town’s rich history, are complete following a $30,000 Clay County Product Development Grant.

County Tourism and Film Development Director Kimberley Morgan announced the project was done at the county’s Tourist Development Council meeting last week. She said the town is hoping to have a grand opening the week before Thanksgiving.

“They have been working very diligently,” Morgan said.

Four cases of memorabilia have been donated and assembled, according to museum organizers. Items such as photos, artifacts and documents are still being sorted.

“They’ve worked very hard on that grand opening and all the details are in place,” Morgan said.

According to town documents, $27,200 of the grant was spent on framing, air conditioning, electrical and plumbing.

“It’s very exciting to see it finally come to a conclusion,” TDC Chairman Mike Cella said.

Penney Farms Grant Writer Cathie Parrott’s office has recently been moved into the museum. 

Parrott said the Penney Farms Volunteer Fire Department closed in 2011 and was deteriorating.

“The building stood empty until just last year,” Parrott said.

Parrott, who can fire off historical details about the town when asked, said the town had historical displays in the council chambers before, but nowhere to place items when groups held presentations.

“It was a nice display, but we had to take it down all the time. We have a pretty rich history from the 1920s and through the 1930s,” Parrott said. “We’re hoping to create a timeline and we want to move through the decades and do it that way.”

She wanted the exhibits to cover the town’s original concept, where J.C. Penney brought homesteaders from other parts of the country to farm in Florida, which was then the southern frontier.

Families received the land at no cost if they managed it well for a period of time. Penney Farms later became a retirement community, she said.

Renovations to create the museum were held up due to a labor shortage and a lack of materials such as windows and doors, she added.

“There were just hold-ups with different supplies,” Parrott said. “A week here, a week there.”

Though the renovations were completed Sept. 30, Parrott said, the work starts in making the facility a point of interest that makes people stop.

“The town of Penney Farms is within one block of State Road 16. We said if we can take the fire station and convert it, we can have a good point of interest right here,” Parrott said. “It’s not good to leave an empty building in a community. We thought [a museum] was the highest and best use of the building.”

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here