During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. When we think about female Floridians who have made an impact on our lives, one of the women that immediately comes to mind is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Although famous for her stories about rural life in Florida, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was not a native. She was born in Washington, D.C., and attended college at the University of Wisconsin Madison, graduating in 1918. She lived in Louisville, Kentucky and Rochester, New York before moving to Florida with her husband Charles Rawlings in 1928.
If you want to feel like you’ve been transported back to the 1930’s, all you have to do is visit Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic Park, a state park devoted entirely to the life, times and work of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings . The park is located in a tiny community southeast of Gainesville called Cross Creek, which is situated on a narrow strip of land separating Orange and Lochloosa Lakes. Connecting the lakes is a small creek for which the town is named. Cross Creek is also home to several fish camps.
If you are new to Florida, you may not have heard of Rawlings, but anyone raised here surely has. Most school-aged children in Florida know her novel, The Yearling, which has been considered required classroom reading for many decades. The Pulitzer-prize winning story is about Jody Baxter, a 12-year-old boy growing up in Central Florida during the 19th century, with his pet fawn, Flag. Both experience the trials and tribulations of backwoods living in rural Florida. They are inseparable, and as they grow into adolescence, they face challenging life lessons.