Osceola County Historical Society Blog

Antique Funeral Coach

Posted by Kari Whaley on Oct 31, 2016 9:30:00 AM

The haunted history of Osceola County has creaked into the artifact collection at OCHS. The antique funeral coach, shrouded in mystery, was donated to the Osceola County Historical Society by Osceola Memory Gardens in 2015. Although the origin of the coach is unknown, it is suspected to have been manufactured in Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts circa 1890. However, the only shocking part of this tale is that the horse-drawn funeral hearse has remained in excellent condition, complete with full seat cushions, seat drops, curtains, hitch, and coffin. 

 An official appraisal suggests that the coach may have been manufactured by Cunningham Coach, based in Rochester, New York or George Brownell, who hailed from Bristol County, Massachusetts. Both were award winning manufacturers, known for creating fine carriages of the highest grade. The rise of petrol-driven hearses, circa 1909 in the United States, brought about the decline of horse-drawn hearses. 

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Topics: Osceola History, Artifact Spotlight, Educational, Antique Funeral Coach

Dr. Thomas M. Rivers

Posted by Anza Bast on Oct 20, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Born near Lake City, Columbia County, Florida on August 8, 1868, Thomas Maximus Rivers was the fourth of nine children born to Susan Amanda Walston and Lewis William Rivers. After a general education, he attended the Medical College of South Carolina and graduated in the class of 1900. While attending medical school, Thomas and Rosalie Clare Godfrey married on September 4, 1895 in Lake Park, Georgia. Thomas began his medical profession in Lake Park where he and Rosalie had three sons, but by 1902 only their third son remained. It appears Thomas and Rosalie’s marriage ended shortly afterwards and Thomas married Roberta Peterson about 1903. They added two daughters to the family and in January of 1906 the family arrived in Kissimmee, Florida where Thomas embarked on a thirty-seven year practice.

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Topics: Osceola History, History, Osceola County History, Dr. Thomas M. Rivers

Fraternity Hall

Posted by Anza Bast on Sep 15, 2016 9:30:00 AM

In July 1908, W.B. Tally was hired to design a building, to be called Fraternity Hall. The Masons and Pythians long felt the need for a meeting place for their organizations, one which would be large enough to accommodate their groups. The site of the old saloon next to S.C.G. Hardware Company was secured and W.B. Tally was hired as the architect.

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Topics: Osceola History, History, Fraternity Hall

The History behind the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church

Posted by Anza Bast on Aug 26, 2016 9:30:00 AM

The history of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church begins with the arrival of Mr. Anthony Tress from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.  He came to Kissimmee in the fall of 1895 on account of poor health and before the end of the year, a Mass was celebrated at the Tropical Hotel by a Jesuit Father from Tampa.  Following the arrival of his wife, Annie and two children in 1898, a defunct bank building was used 3 times a year for Mass services.  There was only one other Catholic family in town.

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Topics: Osceola History, History, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church

5 Reasons to Visit the Pioneer Village This Summer

Posted by Krystal McIntee on Jul 12, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Looking for something unique to do with family and friends this summer? Look no farther! The Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek is comprised of a permanent collection of 8 historic structures which once stood in different areas of Osceola County. While walking through the Pioneer Village, you’ll feel as though you are taking a stroll back in time. Here is a list of the top 5 reasons you should come visit.

Here is a list of the top 5 reasons you should come visit the Pioneer Village this summer!

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Topics: Osceola History, The Pioneer Village, History, Summer Activities, Educational, Field Trips and Group Trips, Facility Rentals, Kid Friendly, Affordable

KUA: Serving Kissimmee since 1901

Posted by Chris Gent on Dec 4, 2014 4:50:00 PM

Electricity came to Kissimmee 113 years ago.

The pioneer vision that led the citizens of Kissimmee to vote to own and operate the city’s electric utility in 1901 has paid untold benefits to residents in the century since then.

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Topics: Osceola History, Around Osceola, OCHS Partners

Pioneer Day: A Growing Tradition in Osceola County

Posted by Rachel McIntee on Nov 4, 2014 8:56:00 PM

The buzz lately around the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum has been all about Pioneer Day. It's a tradition of the OCHS to host this annual event but, this year, our Pioneer Day is more special than ever because it coincides with the Grand Opening of the new Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek. And really, that is a day we've been looking forward to for months now. From moving the historic buildings at our old site to having authentic replicas of Chickee structures built at our new site and everything in between, we've been working hard to make this dream of ours a reality.

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Topics: Osceola History, OCHS Events, The Pioneer Village

Family Matters: the history of Makinson Hardware

Posted by Kimber Davis on Sep 9, 2014 4:57:00 PM

As you walk down the streets of downtown Kissimmee, listen closely. Can you hear the echoes of the past? The splashing of the steamboat paddle on the lake? The bellowing of cattle passing through town? The shrill whistle of a train? While the sights and sounds of downtown Kissimmee have evolved over the years, one thing in particular remains the same: Makinson Hardware.

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Topics: Osceola History, Around Osceola

Artifact Spotlight: The Graystone Hotel Tea Set

Posted by Liz Stemm on Sep 4, 2014 5:07:00 PM

As the repository for Osceola County history, the Osceola County Historical Society receives a number of great historical treasures every year through the generous donations of our local community. While we are selective on what items are accepted into the permanent collections, gems from local history are added each year to help preserve and share Osceola County history with the public.

One time, an unexpected package was waiting on our doorstep and as we opened the package, we realized that one of those historical gems was hiding within the contents of the box. There, buried in layers of bubble wrap, was an original silver tea set from the Graystone Hotel of Kissimmee.

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Topics: Osceola History, Artifact Spotlight

Kissimmee City Manager emphasizes community in new Lakefront Revitalization Project

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Aug 25, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Seated in front of an aerial map of Kissimmee, FL, City Manager Mike Steigerwald glanced through the fifth floor City Hall conference room window, looking out over Historic Downtown Kissimmee.

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Topics: Osceola History, Around Osceola

About this Blog

The Osceola County Historical Society is focused on preserving Osceola County’s rich, cultural history while sharing it with others. This blog is perfect for just that. 

Remember, here you can find information on:

  • Osceola County History
  • Pioneer Families
  • Events at the Welcome Center and History Museum
  • Much, much more!

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