Gainesville, Florida, was officially founded in 1869. With that comes an incredibly rich history filled with stories of its first settlers as well as the Native Americans that lived on the land for hundreds of years before. Take a step right into the past when you visit the Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation. This historical marker has been around since 1854, years before Gainesville became a real city. Come see the 12,500 words written all over the building, earning its famous nickname “the talking walls.”
If you’re planning a vacation to Gainesville, take advantage of our free Vacation Guide. Planning a vacation can be hard, so we’ve chosen our favorite things to do in the area to save you from hours of research! Skip the tedious part of preparation and use our free guide to find:
- Historical spots like the Haile Homestead
- Outdoor activities for all skill levels
- Cultural events and entertainment
- The best restaurants in the area
- Festivals and attractions you won’t want to miss
About Haile Homestead
In 1854, the Thomas and Serena Haile and their children moved to Gainesville, Florida, from Camden, South Carolina. They brought with them 56 slaves that built their 6,200 square foot home. With the house being over 150 years old, it stands as a silent testament to the skills of the laborers that built it. These laborers worked at the 1,500-acre Sea Island cotton plantation the house sits on. After the death of Thomas and Serena, their son Evans took over the homestead and hosted many parties and gatherings there.
Haile Homestead Talking Walls
One of the most prominent things about the Haile Homestead are the words on the walls. For unknown reasons, the family wrote more than 12,500 words everywhere from closets to the parlor. It seems the Hailes wrote mostly everything from household lists and growth charts to prose. Some of the funniest writings were from the guests of Evans’ parties. You have to go to the homestead and see it for yourself!
Visiting Haile Homestead
When you come to the Haile Homestead, you will want to take a tour! Tours are available at certain times Saturdays and Sundays for just $5 and free for children under 12. If you’re traveling with a large group or would like a private weekday tour, all you have to do is contact them and they will accommodate you. Not only will you learn about the Haile family but about the 56 slaves they brought with them. While much is unknown, there were many stories passed down through family.
Stay at Sweetwater Branch Inn
Get more Gainesville history when you stay at our historic inn. The Sweetwater Branch Inn is graciously decorated and historically preserved offering its visitors a unique lodging experience. It is located just minutes away from downtown and other great attractions like the Haile Homestead, yet tucked away to create a peaceful experience. Choose from rooms, suites, and cottages that will fit the whole family! Book your Gainesville getaway today.