The Smith House

The "15 dollar house"

The Smith house was a traditional Florida house that was made from the surrounding resources in 3 days and for 15 dollars

Daniel H. Smith’s family moved to Florida in the mid 1800’s and ended up north of Zephyrhills. Willis Smith raised 8 boys and 4 girls and one of the children, Daniel Smith, moved eight miles west of Zephyrhills into Wesley Chapel. In the area Daniel Smith met Elizabeth Geiger who was also raised in the area. The two got married in 1894 and moved to Wesley Chapel on modern day state road 54. The Smith House was built for Daniel and Elizabeth by friends and family as a newly-wed gift. House-raisings as they were known were very common for young newly-married couples, and family and friends gathered one day to raise up what is now the Smith house. The house was raised on material from the surrounding area. The house cost the raising party 15 dollars and that was for nails and products from the blacksmith. The raising of the house took a complete 3 days, after which the couple was ready to move in. The Smith house was built with a front and back porch, and it was originally a single-story, one-roomed cabin. Daniel and Elizabeth had 4 sons but one died as an infant. In the tiny Smith house the couple raised three sons. As the boys grew, the inside of the house was made into two rooms. One room would be a family room and where the boys would sleep and the other would be the parent’s bedrooms. Later behind the parents’ bedroom part of the porch would be enclosed as another room for the boys. The house had a separate kitchen which was raised roughly 100 yards away from the house. On the property the Smiths also had a barn and a smokehouse. The boys would work in the field along with doing chores from sun up to sun down. The homestead was passed to one of the sons, and it was his son that then donated it to Cracker Country in 1979. When the Smith house was moved to the fairgrounds the kitchen was left behind. Although at one time the back porch was enclosed it now remains open. Except for the absence of the back porch enclosure, the remainder of the house remains authentic and original from the cedar shingles to the added room inside.

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