Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students Get a Good Taste of the Old Days; They Visit Clarke House Park. the Second Carrie Clarke Day Festival Is Set for March 19

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students Get a Good Taste of the Old Days; They Visit Clarke House Park. the Second Carrie Clarke Day Festival Is Set for March 19

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Maraghy, County Line staff writer

Seven-year-old Quinn Scott grimaced when he sampled the mineral-rich water from the old well at the Clarke House in Orange Park.

From his sour expression, it was evident he didn't like the sulfur taste.

Quinn was among a group of home-schooled Clay County children participating in a first-of-its-kind field trip to Clarke House Park on Kingsley Avenue, sponsored by the St. Johns River Water Management District's Watershed Action Volunteers program, or WAV, and the Historical Society of Orange Park.

The field trip was a dream finally coming true for Orange Park history buffs who have fought to keep the Clarke House from demolition for purposes like this. The Clarke House, which sits behind Project Playground, was built in the early 1900s by Jacksonville plumber William Clarke and his wife, Carrie, who was a founding member of First Baptist Church of Orange Park, the Orange Park Woman's Club and the Orange Park Garden Club. She died in 1979 at age 98 and Orange Park now hosts a festival in her honor in March.

The Clarke House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

As part of a new program called "Water Cycle Day at the Clarke House," students received a walking tour of Cemetery Branch, a creek that runs through the park. They sampled and compared soil in the uplands and wetlands and learned about cypress trees. Then they were given a guided tour of Clarke House by members of the Historical Society and learned how Carrie Clarke washed clothes in a tub with a washboard and a bar of lye soap. Students took turns working an old-fashioned water pump and were given a cup of water dipped from a wooden bucket from the old Clarke well.

"It tastes like eggs," said 14-year-old Amber Rivera.

Though he didn't like the taste of the water, Quinn loved washing clothes soup-pot style, behind the house.

"This is fun," he said stirring garments with a big stick as if stirring stew. "I wish I was one of those kids [back then]."

It's an exceptional spot for teaching, said Jim White, Clay County WAV coordinator, who said WAV workers distributed fliers to Clay County's third- and fourth-grade public school teachers announcing that this field trip was available to them for free. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.