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 – May 9th

Master of Ceremonies – Tom Deville

Guest: J. C. Penney (A.K.A. John Bowles)

2nd Annual Golden Rule Social

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 May 11 Golden Rule Social May 9, 2024

Join us on May 9th, 2024, at 7 PM for 2nd Annual Golden Rule Social

The next meeting of the Historical Society of Penney Farms will be on May 9, 2024, at 7 PM when we conclude the year with our 2nd Annual Golden Rule Social and a visit from J. C. Penney (aka John Bowles) with Tom Deville as Master of Ceremonies.

The community is invited to come, bring a dessert, and one to share. Ice Cream for all. Free and open to the public.

Note: This is the last meeting of the year.  Meetings will resume on Thursday, September 12, 2024



NEWS FROM April 11, 2024

HSPF LESEMANAt the height of the Great Depression in the early 1930’s, Narcissus bulbs purchased direct from the

Leseman Farm in Green Cove Springs were shipped to almost every state and many people were employed in the fields and on the farm sorting and packaging the bulbs.

These are facts evidenced by the many detailed records and notes kept by his grandfather and shared by William Leseman from Tallahassee at the April 11 meeting of the Historical Society of Penney Farms. A power point presentation displayed records detailing State inspections and shipment of 2 – 4 million bulbs.  Meanwhile, dignitaries such as the wife of President Hoover visited, Penney Farms produced a Rhodes Scholar and the grocery store was robbed by a gang from Tampa.

Mr. Leseman’s grandfather who came from New Jersey during the Florida Land Boom of the late 1920’s did his homework, researched what he could grow successfully and visited other Florida locations to determine where the best location would be for him and his family. His research paid off but not everyone living here was so lucky.

Without the financial support of J. C. Penney, many had to leave their homes in the Penney Community but Lesesman’s family was able to prosper and he served as the second town manager of Penney Farms during a very difficult time.

The Leseman family history in Penney Farms was in sharp contrast with what the rest of the nation experienced but it seems that flowers were appropriate even in the worst of times.

For more information about the museum, hours of operation, and events please email, call (904) 742-1344 or visit 

Regular museum hours are 9 – 1 Monday through Friday;

2 PM – 4 PM Second and Fourth Sundays;

2 PM – 3:30 PM Second and Fourth Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. Call to confirm.


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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Whether you have a question about the Historical Society of Penney Farms or the Town of Penney Farms Historic Museum  we are ready to answer all your questions. Contact Historical Society of Penney Farms.

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Your support helps us continue to preserve the rich history of Penney Farms for future generations and provide fun and educational programs to the community. As a member you receive the benefits of museum exhibits and activities, historical photographs and archives, and more importantly, you will be proud to know you support our mission to keep our history alive, preserved, and treasured by all.

Penney Farms

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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
Get Directions

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

Contact Historical Society


Phone: (904) 742-1344


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