A Visit To The Historic Smallwood Store

I love historic things that accurately take me back to the past. It’s a pleasure to know how people lived and shopped over 100 years ago, especially in rural places. Ted Smallwood’s store, which is now a museum, is a perfectly preserved testament to the people of south Florida in the early 1900’s.

There are quite a few stairs to get in because being built on stilts was the only protection from hurricanes they had back then.
This is one of my favorite images from the store. Because I love textiles, I like to think of the women who frequented the store in search of thread, fabric and notions. It’s a hobby for us today, but back then sewing was a necessity.
My sweet hubby, Clark, getting an old-fashioned coke.
Smallwood Store remained open until 1982 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Along with serving as a general store and post office, Smallwood also was a trading post for furs and hides.
An antique butter church sits on display. In the background you can see a life-sized man sitting at a dining table. They actually ate their family meals right there.

The most difficult thing about visiting the Smallwood Store is it’s location. I was born in and spent most of my life in Florida and didn’t get here until my 59th year. It’s very remote, but I think that really adds to the interest. It’s hard to imagine people living in this area even now. As of 2020, only 1,136 people lived in Chokoloskee, the town where the store is. But over 100 years ago it seems almost impossible impossible to have carved out a living here. But they did. And the stories we heard on the video in the back of the store showed a rich and vibrant area bursting with adventure and a sense of community.

The original sink probably still works, judging by the bottle of Palmolive nearby!

Below is a screenshot of Google Maps giving you it’s location. If you find yourself on the west side of Florida heading over to Miami or the Keys, and if you’re a fan of history, this place is a must see!

And if you do go, another great side trip is an airboat ride in the everglades. They’re abundant, so much fun and so educational too.

The back porch today looks over the water, but back in the day it probably served as a dock for traders on boats.

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