News and Events

Historical Society of Penney Farms

Historical Society of Penney Farms

News and Events Historical Society of Penney Farms

Upcoming Events

Historical Society of Penney Farms Monthly Meeting – April 11th

Speaker: William (Bill) Lesemen

Topic: A Look at Penney Farms Life During The Depression Years

Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Venue: History Museum

Location: 4100 Clark Avenue, Penney Farms, Florida, United States,

Organizer: Historical Society of Penney Farms

The Meeting is FREE and Open to the Public


HSPF FLYER 4-11-24 Leseman

Join us on April 11, 2024, at 7 PM for “A Look at Penney Farms Life During the Depression” with Guest Speaker Bill Leseman whose grandfather had a Bulb Farm.

Bill Leseman was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He moved to Tallahassee to attend FSU in 1968 and never left. Upon graduation, Bill started to work as a chemist for the City of Tallahassee Water Utilities where he retired after 30 years of service. He has written an extensive compilation titled “History of the Tallahassee Florida Public Water System – Pre 1860 – 1920”. He is a member of the Tallahassee Historical Society as well as the Historical Society of Penney Farms.

The relevance for today’s talk stems from the fact that he is the grandson of William J. Leseman who moved to Penney Farms with his family in 1928, from Arlington, New Jersey to become a grower of flowers and flower bulbs. As the keeper of all the remaining family diaries, photographs, and letters Bill has come to understand the pioneering and entrepreneurial attitudes that prompted a man from New York and New Jersey to settle in Penney Farms.

Bill states, “Until I was a junior in high school my father, George W. Leseman, brought us to Penney farms every Sunday for a visit and to have dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. I only wish that I had had the maturity and inquisitiveness regarding my family history to have asked the questions for which I am trying now to answer. “


NEWS FROM Thursday, November 9, 2023

The Historical Society of Penney Farms welcomed a member of the Ladies Christian Aid Society, Lizzie Rutherford from Columbus GA (AKA Jean Dominguez from Lake Asbury) .  Lizzie kept a detailed journal of her work with the Ladies Christian Aid Society during the Civil War.  Ladies would come together to prepare boxes for the soldiers packed with items that they made at home.  Lizzie’s box that she brought was filled with examples such as baked goods, pickles, preserves, honey, rolled bandages, lye soap, candles, writing paper/stamps, potholder quilts, and mending kits (housewives). underwear (drawers), knitted socks/gloves, matches (lucifers), and most importantly, Bibles.  The boxes would be sent back to the front line with recuperated soldiers after furlough at private homes and churches that served as hospitals. 

HSPF Jean Domingues Ladies Christian Aid Society

Jean’s delightful presentation was enthusiastically received. As she was dressed in period costumes from the Civil War era, she graciously explained the many layers of her lovely dress and how she got in and out of her car with it all!

For more information visit or email

NEWS FROM September 14, 2023

HSPF Goldhead Pic 1080At their first meeting after a summer break, the Historical Society of Penney Farms hosted guest speakers Ryan Worthington and Barbara Bradley, “Friends of Gold Head Branch State Park” at the Penney Farms Historical Museum.

At the Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, visitors can appreciate the original craftsmanship and limestone used in the construction of the Little Lake Johnson cabins, the Ranger Station, the bathhouse, the overlook, and Pavilion 32 which are still in use today. These structures were built between 1933 to 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a government funded program after the Great Recession.  Under the direction of skilled craftsmen, dozens of structures were built by the CCC at Gold Head. The CCC provided work for 18 – 25 year olds who received room and board plus $30.00/month of which $25 was sent home.

While all of the lakes have experienced a drop in water levels across the decades, the park, today, offers more conservation than recreation but it is still a great getaway to experience nature.  It was noted that the new 26 mile Palatka to Lake Butler Rails to Trails is attached to Gold Head State Park.  Rails to Trails provide recreation as well as alternate access for emergency vehicles. Bridges and all trails have to be substantial, well managed, and maintained by the state park that they are attached to. There is also a Trail from Palatka to Hampton that is complete.

The next meeting of the Historical Society of Penney Farms will be on October 12 at 7 PM in the Museum at 4100 Clark Avenue in Penney Farms.  Cathie Parrott will discuss the Scenic Highway and attendees will enjoy a presentation about the evolution of the society and museum.  This will also be the Annual Meeting for members with review and approval of revised bylaws and election of officers.

For more information visit or email


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Elected Officers

Historical Society of Penney Farms 2023-2024

President – Mark Davies
VP – vacant
Secretary – Pat Sickles Garlinghouse
Treasurer – Linda Kocourek

Advisory Board: Cathie Parrott, John Bowles, Town of Penney Farms City Manager and Staff

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4100 Clark Avenue, P.O. Box 1041
Penney Farms, Florida 32079
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Museum Hours

9 AM – 1 PM Monday thru Friday

2 PM – 4 PM Second and Fourth Sundays

2 PM – 3:30 PM Second and Fourth Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

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Phone: (904) 742-1344


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