In the mid-1800s, the Dudley family moved from Charleston, SC to North Central Florida. Three generations owned and worked the 640-acre piece of land. By the 1880s, Dudley was a significant crossroads community, successfully maintaining livestock, crops and large vegetable gardens and attaining prominence in Alachua County. Eighteen buildings constructed between the 1880s and 1945 include the 1880s family farmhouse and separate kitchen, general store, dairy shed, canning house, smokehouse, syrup house and mill, hay and tobacco barns, stables, and drinking well and rainwater cistern. Other original items include hand-stitched quilts, a large quilting frame, an 1835 Bible carried by P.B.H. Dudley through the Civil War, photographs and farm implements.
In 1989, the Florida Park Service began restoration work on this historic cane syrup house built in the 1890s. The first cane grinding in 40 years took place in 1991 celebrating Myrtle Dudley's 90th birthday with a community gathering.
Dudley Farm was established by Captain Phillip Benjamin Harvey Dudley prior to the Civil War where he raised Sea Island cotton and cattle. Family members saved memorabilia including this 1860s cotton sales receipt.
Prior to the Civil War, Captain Phillip Benjamin Harvey Dudley purchased land with land grant certificates and established Dudley Farm where he lived in a double-pen log cabin. As road commissioner in 1857, he established roads in Alachua County.
Quilting is an American tradition which provided pieced scrap blankets for pioneer homesteads. Dudley descendant, Myrtle Dudley, stated that each of the eight Dudley daughters had to complete 12 quilts prior to her marriage, to provide for her own household.