For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Contact: Mark Ard
PRESS RELEASE: Secretary Byrd Announces the Designation of Livingston Place in the National Register of Historic Places
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd announced today that the Livingston Place in Jefferson County has been listed in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.
“I am pleased to announce that Livingston Place has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” said Secretary of State Cord Byrd. "Livingston Place is historically significant as a rural landscape that helps to convey the diverse experiences of agricultural life in North Florida.”
Livingston Place is a 9,000-acre property assembled by Gerald Livingston, a New York-based businessman, in the 1920s to serve as one of his family’s winter residences and as a quail hunting plantation. At Livingston Place, he kept his prized hunting dogs, and in 1937 the plantation became home to the Continental Field Trials, a competition still alive today, where bird dogs are scored on their ability to successfully find and point to coveys of quail. In addition to hunting and breeding quail, the Livingstons also bred horses and operated a dairy farm on the property.
The property is significant as a historic rural landscape that tells multiple stories. The area was continuously farmed since the 1840s. Before the Livingstons acquired the land, the property was known as “The Cedars,” an antebellum plantation owned by General William Bailey and his descendants. Following the Civil War, the land was worked by tenant farmers and sharecroppers who created the landscape that supported the activities of the Livingston family. Historically, Livingston Place contained a continuous tract of land with 18,000 acres equally divided in Georgia and Florida. The current boundary dates to 1978, when Geraldine Livingston (daughter of Gerald Livingston) inherited the Florida portion of the property. Although no buildings survive from the nineteenth century, there are three historic cemeteries located in the central and northeastern portions of the property which date to the 1840s. These cemeteries contain a variety of identified burials associated with local farming families and may also contain the burials of enslaved and formerly enslaved persons.
West Side and Façade of the Livingston Mansion
Architecturally, Livingston Place holds a wide variety of resources. The Livingstons’ Mansion, completed in 1938, is individually significant for its architecture. Designed by noted architect John Russell Pope, the building is Pope’s only residential project completed in Florida. Pope is known for designing the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. The mansion is a three-story, brick, Neo-Classical building with four full-height Ionic columns supporting a portico. The house has a grand wooden staircase, four wood paneled rooms, and eight bedrooms.
Carved wood paneling depicting hunting dogs at Livingston Mansion
North Side of the Big Horse Stable
Most of the remaining buildings on the property date to the 1930s and 1940s. They represent the agricultural functions that were once typical of the Red Hills region in North Florida and South Georgia. In addition to the mansion, the property includes two workers’ cottages and three sharecropper/tenant houses, each dating to the 1930s. There are also six barns, a power plant, pump house, commissary building, and mechanic workshop, all dating to the 1930s and 1940s. While there were likely many more buildings constructed during the early years of the Livingstons’ tenure, the extant buildings convey the story of daily life on the property during the early to mid-1900s.
Open fields on the west side of the Livingston Place driveway
In 2013, Tall Timbers Land Conservancy acquired Livingston Place. From 2015 to 2020, Tall Timbers completed a large restoration and rehabilitation project of the Livingston Mansion. To complete the restoration project, Tall Timbers was awarded three competitive Special Category Grants from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. Work continues to preserve the property’s other architectural resources and to conserve its historic agricultural landscape. Today, Livingston Place is open by appointment for community events and visitors. To contact staff, or to learn more about the property, visit talltimbers.org/livingston-place.
About The National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is a list maintained by the National Park Service which includes historical and archaeological properties including buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts, that are considered worthy of preservation because of their local, statewide and/or national significance. Nominations for properties in Florida are submitted to the National Park Service through the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. Florida has over 1,700 listings on the National Register, including 295 historic districts and 175 archaeological sites. There are more than 50,000 sites contributing to the National Register in Florida. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation/national-register. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places program administered by the National Park Service, visit nps.gov/nr.
About The Florida Department of State’s Bureau of Historic Preservation
The Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) conducts historic preservation programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, preserving, and interpreting the historic and cultural resources of the state. The Bureau manages the Florida Main Street Program, and under federal and state laws, oversees the National Register of Historic Places program for Florida, maintains an inventory of the state's historical resources in the Florida Master Site File, assists applicants in federal tax benefit and local government ad valorem tax relief programs for historic buildings, and reviews the impact that development projects may have on significant historic resources. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation.