Historic Haile Homestead
Historic Haile Homestead
4.5
About
In 1854 the Haile family, from South Carolina, established a 1500 acre Sea Island cotton plantation. The 6,200 sq ft home was the site of house parties attended by Gainesville’s finest citizens. The Hailes had an unusual habit of writing on the walls. See the "Talking Walls," over 12,500 words written by family and friends in every room. Exhibit on the enslaved builders. On National Register.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
49 reviews
Excellent
26
Very good
16
Average
7
Poor
0
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GatorGirl428
320 contributions
Jul 2017 • Family
What an interesting place. This is a historic homestead by some early Gainesville settlers. It only can you tour the home and land, but you can also learn about the people that lived there, both the Haile family and the slaves. I especially found it neat that the connection was made between the slave family and some current prominent Gainesville residents. It made it so much more real. They also have yours at Christmas time when the house is decorated as it would have been when the Haile family lived there.
Written July 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stew H
Marietta, GA58 contributions
May 2017 • Solo
Many family members grew up in and around Gainesville. This was my first visit to the Homestead, and it was well worth the 6 hour drive to take it all in. It was a real experience for me to see the many members of my family are represented on the "talking walls". I was given a real history lesson about the family roots by one of the Docents and also given many copies of information for me to take back home. I found out about the many burial sites around Gainesville that Haile family members occupy and their relationship to me. A rare and rewarding experience for me but should also be interesting to other travelers as well. Well worth the visit.
Written May 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Francine14
Central Florida, FL95 contributions
Aug 2015
What a delightful surprise! While in the Gainesville, FL area, I visited this historic homestead. This Classic Revival Plantation home, with some Cracker influences, was built between 1854-56. The home has been carefully restored. The skilled workmanship testifies to the skills of the enslaved craftsmen who built the house from native materials. Visitors are treated to "walls that talk". The Haile family had the unusual habit of writing on the walls... everything from shopping lists, olden prescriptions and recipes, adages, agricultural records, party-guest lists and even just plain doodling. Example: "January 1886... Bitter cold. Thick ice lasting from Friday 7th until Thursday 14th. Oranges all frozen - ground frozen from 8th to 13th. The longest and most severe spell of cold since we came here in 1854..." or "15 drops turpentine, 10-15 drops laudanum , 1 teaspoon paregoric in glass of water. Repeat every 3 hours if necessary". How about "If love be cold, do not despair, there's always flannel underwear". Reading these walls was a treat! Tour guides point out architectural elements unique to this style of home such as the columns standing off-side the porch which prevented rain from splashing onto the porch. Admission is $5.00pp with children under 12 free. Group tours are welcome. Check out their website www.hailehomestead.org or call 352-336-9096.
Written September 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

twistabout
Ellijay, GA378 contributions
Dec 2014 • Friends
Yes, this historic plantation and simple house is home to not only the Haile family but "the Talking Walls." Each rooms of this historic home has written notations on its walls. Perhaps there was a shortage of paper or they wanted a permant copy of lists, supplies, guests, silver..etc. this fact gives an insightful and tangible look back in time. Simple furnishings in this modest home gives your mind room to roam, to imagine the past. A twist to the predictable homes of yester year.
Written January 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jonaleman
Orlando, FL6 contributions
Oct 2014 • Couples
The Historic Haile Homestead is a great way to spend an hour or so exploring the history of Gainesville.

By no means will this attraction encompass your entire afternoon, but it's swell for a brief and relaxing jaunt. Fun for the whole family.

Our tour guide was Anne, who (for a whopping $5) gave us a thorough and unbiased tour of the house. From its inception to its current state (and that handwriting on the wall!), we got a very comprehensive look at some Gainesville history.

Would completely recommend to anyone looking for a cute and endearing way to learn about the good ol South.
Written October 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BobHoward9
Oviedo, FL51 contributions
Sep 2017 • Friends
An interesting period plantation home, very well preserved, though sparsely furnished. No other structures other than the main house, though reconstructions of out-buildings are planned. Docents were very nice and knowledgeable, and the visit was interesting. Children probably would find it a bit dull.
Written October 4, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

acphifer
Athens, PA743 contributions
Jul 2017
My mother and I enjoyed our tour of the Haile Homestead. The guide was knowledgeable and engaging. Fascinating history of a unique family!
Written August 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cataplasm
Seattle, WA5 contributions
May 2017 • Couples
You tour the house with the help of a docent who brings the history of the house to life, including all the family's writing on the walls. Check out tour times before you arrive because there aren't that many. You wait for your tour in the visitor center where there are plenty of historical artifacts to keep you entertained. In hot weather sit in the breezeway it's a great way to cool off.

The visitor center is set up for handicapped visitors but the house is not. We toured with a lady that needed a stick to walk and she could not get up to the second floor bedrooms but managed the rest ok.
Written May 24, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for visiting the Historic Haile Homestead and providing feedback! As an all volunteer organization, we open the Homestead to the public on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm with 4 tours beginning on the quarter hour (10:15, 11:15, 12:15 and 1:15) and Sundays from 12 pm to 4 pm with tours at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15 and 3:15. The first floor of the 1856 Homestead (which is most of the house and has most of the wall writing) has a wheelchair ramp. Unfortunately the partial story upstairs (2 bedrooms) is not accessible except by stairs - we have no elevator. Thank you again for visiting!
Written May 25, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,751 contributions
Jul 2016 • Couples
You've never seen anything like this, with the possible exception of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner's Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi, which has an excerpt of Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom" scribbled on a wall. At Historic Haile Homestead, there are over 12,500 words written by family and friends in rooms and closets. Referred to as "The Talking Walls," the writings date to the 1850s. Lists of party goers who contributed to the unique piece of history adorn the walls of the main parlor and music room. It is all part of Kanapaha or the Haile Homestead or the Haile Plantation House, a historic site and museum located at 8500 Southwest Archer Road or State Road 24 in Gainesville, Florida. In 1854, Thomas Evans Haile moved from Camden, South Carolina, to Alachua County, Florida, and established a 1,500-acre Sea Island cotton plantation. After surviving bankruptcy in 1868, Haile converted his property into a productive farm, growing a variety of fruits and vegetables, including oranges. The main house is noted for its four-foot-tall piers of mortared limerock that support a foundation of 100-foot-long beams, its construction of pine with cypress siding and the writings on its walls by members of the Haile family. Evans Haile, the 14th of 15 chlldren, inherited the estate. A prominent attorney, he entertained friends and family at the Homestead on weekends with parties, dances and hunts. They followed the tradition of writing on the walls that Evans' parents had started in the 1850s. By the early 1930s, however, the house was boarded up and sat abandoned. It was rediscovered by a movie producer in the mid-1970s, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1886 and underwent restoration in 1996. In 2001, the house was opened to the public for tours on weekends. A book about the Homestead entitled "The Historic Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation" is available at the museum.
Written November 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tristero15
29 contributions
Nov 2015
This is a quite large, interesting cracker style home that was built and owned by the Haile family, way-back-when. The main issue I take with our tour guide is how she kept saying that this house was so large because the Hailes were the "top 1% of the top 1%," referring to their riches. Maybe so, but after seeing the likes of plantations and homes in Georgia and South Carolina from approximately the same era, I'm incredulous. This house, and its yard, aren't even in the same category as others we've seen, much less of a similar magnitude. For example, 200 years before this place was built, Magnolia Plantation outside Charleston SC was built. Drayton Hall on that property was a mansion - and it was built 100 years before this place. I think the 1% statement is a way of catering to the expectations of the Keeping-up-with-the-Joneses types that currently live in the Haile plantation neighbourhood. In light of that, I found the writing on the wall to be rather low-class, albeit interesting.
I think the most interesting part is the information on the Chesnut vs Chestnut families - gives a person goosebumps as both the Haile and Chestnut families are still around and locally active today.
Written March 24, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sorry for the confusion. The Hailes were indeed among the wealthiest land owners in Alachua County (not the country), however it sounds like the docent exaggerated a bit. Thomas Haile's parents owned a gold mine in what is now Lancaster County, so they were quite wealthy when they came down here, but certainly not to the extent stated by the docent. The home is typical of what was built in this area by the planters who moved here from SC in the 1850s. Thank you for pointing out this training issue.
Written March 26, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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