All roads lead back to dental—even the road to Spruce Creek River in Port Orange, FL.
My family and I have vacationed in Central Florida for over 20 years, and we have cousins who live locally. During a more recent visit, my brother suggested we visit Cracker Creek, a 20-acre “historic outdoor venue,” for a boat tour. With any luck, we’d see some alligators, although it’s a challenge in the eerie black water.
During our boat tour, our friendly guide pointed to a cottage elevated on the river bank. While Cracker Creek is its own destination, so is the adjacent Gamble Place, which is included in the National Register of Historic Places. James N. Gamble (whose father co-founded Procter & Gamble) vacationed in this part of Florida in the late 1800s. Like a true explorer, he discovered uninhabited land while paddling down Spruce Creek in the 1890s.
The Gamble Place property includes a historic home, a citrus packing house, and a cottage…but not just any cottage—a replica of The Black Forest Cottage from the Disney classic “Snow White & the Seven Dwarves”!
Gamble's son-in-law, Judge Alfred K. Nippert, designed and built it in 1938, six years after Gamble had passed away. Sadly, Nippert's wife, Maud Gamble Nippert, also passed away in 1937, just before the film’s release.
It's said that Nippert’s good friend Walt Disney visited the cottage shortly after it was built. Upon returning to California, Disney had life-sized dolls made of all seven dwarves and Snow White and shipped them to Nippert. The dolls disappeared over time, but the cottage—and the Witch’s Hut that was made from an old hollow cypress tree—remains.
Gamble Place and Cracker Creek are a great part of Central Florida history. If you make a trip down in the near future, consider going off the beaten trail. It’s a place that possibly inspired Disney World! The more you know….
Learn more at www.crackercreek.com.
Photo Credit: Facebook