History Files
 
 

 

American Lives

Small Towns: Fort Christmas (Florida)

by Bradley Uhler, 28 July 2021

 

Fort Christmas Cracker House, Florida
Photo © Bradley Uhler

Christmas, Florida is located on Route 50 between Orlando and Titusville. It was named after a hastily-built fort erected on Christmas Day by government troops who were sent in to fight the Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War of the 1830s.

Fort Christmas Cracker House, Florida
Photo © Bradley Uhler

A small town grew up around the fort, including a school house and several 'cracker' homes which got their name from the 'cracking' sound which Florida cowboys made when using their whips to herd cattle.

Fort Christmas Cracker House, Florida
Photo © Bradley Uhler

Most Florida 'cracker' homes utilise the materials found on site and are typically one floor simple homes built by early Florida settlers. The term 'cracker' is also used by natives of southern states in the United States to refer to homes which have remained in families for multiple generations.

Fort Christmas Cracker House, Florida
Photo © Bradley Uhler

This particular 'cracker' home is located in Fort Christmas. It has been restored to its former glory, showing off its 'cracker architecture' of the 1800s.

Fort Christmas Union School, Florida
Photo © Bradley Uhler

Fort Christmas Union School was built in 1906. It is also located in Fort Christmas, in Christmas, Florida. It includes a good deal of authentic period-style architecture, featuring a brick chimney and a large front porch.

Fort Christmas Union School, Florida
Photo © Bradley Uhler

Inside can be find many original school artifacts which have been restored, such as student desks, books, and more.

Additional research by Teresa Decio.

Main Sources

Fort Christmas Historical Park: The History of Fort Christmas

Lake Catherine Apartments: Historical Information

 

Images and text copyright © Bradley Uhler & Teresa Decio except where stated. An original feature for the History Files: American Lives.