BRANDON, Florida – You drove past an old homestead maybe a hundred, maybe even a thousand times in Brandon and didn’t even know it was there.
It’s not what you’d expect. An old gravel road. An old building. It fit into the late 19th century, but modernization and expansion of the area did not interfere with it.
“The feeling never goes away when I turn the little alley off Highway 60 and have the feeling of traveling back in time. And it’s a magical feeling, ”said John Dingfelder, board member of the Timberley Trust.
The Moseley Homestead consists of 15 hectares, right in the heart of Limona. It’s really like going back in time.
Dr. Lori Collins, co-director of the Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections at USF, said, “When we have this kind of development, these places really matter.”
The Moseley Homestead was built by Julia Daniels and Charles Moseley at the end of the 19th century.
“The Mosley family came here from Illinois in the 1880s. Mr. Mosley was a very, very intelligent man and a fairly successful man, but he had some health problems. So, like most people, he came to Florida. It’s interesting to me that he decided not to settle in Tampa, but came here to an area called Limona, that is Brandon’s Limona area, and settled here with some other people he knew from Illinois, “explained Dingfelder.
Until recently, the property was loved and looked after by her granddaughter Julia Winifred Moseley. She died a few years ago.
But not without thinking ahead when starting the Timberley Trust.
“Interestingly, Julia Winifred actually had her own kind of maintenance plan. She wrote everything she wanted, and the Trust was very aware of her wants and things, too. But we actually worked when she was alive.” until recently she was 100 years old. She had this foresight and we were actually able to develop a maintenance plan, ”explains Dr. Collins. “That was our first step, so to speak, in creating a written type of guideline. And we were able to do an inventory and an asset understanding of what was here and know how we could move forward on a conservation plan that extends all the way to the papers and the things that are here to like. ”
“And then the next step is to use this as our guide and start with those preservatives. So things like, you know, taking care of the book collection, taking care of digitizing all the artwork that USF libraries have now . ” preserve, make available to the public. “
The Timberley Trust and the University of South Florida are working to ensure that this historic property remains as it was intended.
“This special place is fragile, not only because of its architecture, construction and structure, but also because of the location in which it is located. You know Brandon has changed a lot over time and continues to change, like all places. That kind of character was there when this house started, you know, these rural homesteads where the people made their living from the country, “explained Dr. Collins.
“Before that, this really is the road to Fort Brooke, you know, so we have the beginnings of Tampa coming through the front door of this particular property. And before that, if you look at history, this is on a Native American trail. So we had, you know, people through time, prehistory and history to whom this place was very important. So keeping that kind of memory of this place and also keeping the history of this place that is so fragile and endangered is really important, “said Dr. Collins.
Julia kept family letters, books, pictures. These pieces of history are captured and held here.
“This written history and it has incredible photos of early Florida and the surrounding area. It all becomes part of this incredible record to preserve,” said Dr. Collins.
“Julia Winifred Mosley was truly like a caretaker for all of this and and other people in her family had helped maintain all of these documents and the place itself over time, and the foresight that she had for the protection and establishment of one Trusts had and had some sort of mechanism in place. To ensure that this continues and that votes are also collected as part of that trust, your trust is actually an integral part and brings people together who care, “explained Dr. Collins.
This was Julia’s mission, albeit a successful one, to keep her family’s Old Brandon piece as intended. The mission always remained the same even as the area outside this homestead was modernized and expanded.
“The property is amazing. But Julia Moseley was great. She lived to be 100 years old and spent her entire life preserving and protecting this property. She was a dear friend and she asked me to go ahead and get involved as long as I could, “said Dingfelder, who is just as passionate about the property.
ABC Action News got a tour of the property from the inside to the lakefront.
The architecture of the building is just as unique. The main living area, “The Nest”, is full of intricate, handcrafted wallpaper, old books, odds and ends, and pictures.
“With the documents that are part of this homestead, you will only find new discoveries related to the history of Florida. It’s like an onion. And we’re just starting to peel it,” said Dr. Collins.
“It’s really exciting to be on a first floor where we plan all of this in your own backyard. Yes, that’s wonderful for partnering with USF, our program to bring students here to do this in digital learning and learning.” We can use this for teaching about technology, you know, with the different kinds of strategies we have developed here with 3D, we can use them for history teaching, we can use it for architecture teaching only an endless list, “explained Dr. Collins.
The kitchen, which is separated from the living area, was probably modernized around 1940.
The outdoor patio and hallway is something you can imagine was a popular hangout for families and friends in the 19th century.
Dingfelder said, “You know, there are a lot of historic properties in Hillsborough County, and that’s wonderful. But usually they feel kind of empty, they don’t feel inhabited. This house is inhabited – grandmother who was left behind at the end of the 19th century. It’s just amazing. We open boxes and drawers and so on when we find something new every day. “
Each building is named accordingly. The Whist, Deluge and Lazaretto will give you a sense of how proud this family was to call this property their home.
Today, USF and the Trust are working to bring college students here to study the property and land.
“I think Julia Mosley, the one I knew, that was just her life’s work. You know, some people get married and have kids and this and that. That was their baby. That was their family right here. And even though they was at some point alone in this house, she didn’t care, because this was her goal in life, not only to preserve the house, but also to preserve the memories of her grandmother and everything related to it, “said Dingfelder.
Today, thanks to Dr. Collins and her team tour the house and grounds. During the virtual tour, you can get an idea of what it’s like here for yourself. You can also read about the Timberley Trust and its efforts to maintain the homestead.