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Fort Christmas Historical Park

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Florida Cracker House
Fort Christmas Cracker House

A Florida Cracker House

© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com
A Cracker house is a wooden shelter built by the early Florida and Georgia settlers that were lured to Florida by cheap and plentiful land. Because these pioneers arrived with few provisions, they needed to erect shelter as quickly and cheaply as possible. The land provided abundant supplies of cedar and cypress. Often rocks or bricks made of oyster shell and lime served as pilings to keep the shelters off the ground. The valued wide porch of today was a necessity then. In the days long before air conditioning, it provided relief from the renlentless Florida sun.

Interestingly, many historians will tell you that "cracker" originally meant "a braggart." Some use the term today to describe country folk or someone who was born in Florida. One story though goes back to Florida's early cowboy days. Back then, cowboys used a long (10- to 12-foot) whip made of braided leather. When a cowboy would snap his whip in the air, it made a loud "crack." The sound alone would bring stray cattle back in line quickly and earned the cowboys the nickname of "crackers."

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