MILTON — University of West Florida Historic Trust’s Arcadia Mill Archaeological Site held a grand opening for the Arcadia Homestead on Saturday. According to UWF, the addition provides a new cultural resource and heritage tourism destination in Northwest Florida.
The Arcadia Homestead is the site of the Simpson House which was a gift to UWF from John Ripley and Suzanne Kranc, in honor of their mother, Suzanne Fisher. Fisher was born in the family home and lived there throughout her life. Her father, Charles Henry Simpson, built the Arcadia Mill house in 1935 and was the son of Arcadia Mill owner, Ezekiel E. Simpson.
“Our mother Suzanne was born at Arcadia and died there, and loved the place more than anyone." Ripley said. "There’s no better way of keeping her spirit and love alive than sharing Arcadia with generations to come.”
The siblings said they were happy to present the family home to the Trust so it could be preserved and used to present the history of the Simpson family and the mill site.
According to Arcadia Mill site manager Adrianne Walker, The Simpson House restored with grant funding from the Florida Division of Historical Resources.
"The donation of Arcadia Homestead has broadened our abilities to interpret our rich, local history,” said Adrianne Walker, site manager at Arcadia Mill. “Now we are able to tell a much larger story about the diverse people who lived and worked here over time."
Walker said the house will take visitors back in time to the Great Depression. The first floor of the home is open to the public and features artifacts from the Simpson family including various letters Written by Charles H. Simpson, son of Arcadia Mill owner Ezekiel Simpson. Other artifacts included an original stove from the 1930s, military artifacts from the Simpson family and historic household furniture.
The homestead will be open to the public from from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission to access to the Arcadia Homestead and Arcadia Mill Visitor Site is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, military, AAA members and $3 for children ages 3-14. UWF students, EBT cardholders and members of the Historic Trust will be admitted free of charge. For more information on Arcadia Homestead, visit historicpensacola.org.