When you stand in the center of the Pioneer Field, you are surrounded by Florida horticulture and history. The Pioneer House, or Florida Cracker House, is a replica of the style of dwelling settlers used about two hundred years ago. Bud Adams donated the lumber milled from cypress trees that grew on the Adams Ranch. Settlers typically cooked outside and used the fireplace for warmth. Hanging quilts created separate spaces inside the one-room house. The cypress limb railing is a Native American design feature.
The Field itself is a reimagining of the space following two hurricanes in 2004. When damaged trees and understory were cleared, the central field emerged as a great site for events like our educational Pioneer Days, garden festivals, and more. Native trees were added around the perimeter in 2008, and Florida’s beloved citrus has a home here too.
Next to the Pioneer house, you’ll find a special gathering of Florida native plants. While they also appear throughout the garden, their grouping here shows what those early settlers found growing when they stepped outside their door. These plants, like the settlers themselves, are hardy enough for the Florida climate.