BRANDON, Fla. - The sign says "Limona, Florida." Long ago, it was a little town near a little lake. It was swallowed by Brandon.
“The houses and the structures and the infrastructure of Limona is gone today,” said Lori Collins, associate research professor with USF’s Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections.
But one house remains, and it’s called “The Nest”. It was built by the Moseley family who settled in what is now Brandon in the early 1880s.
Amazingly, the house -- and many of the possessions the family put in it over the generations -- is still here.
“This is just this incredible time capsule out here,” said Collins. “And there are many layers to it in Florida history and environmental history.”
Collins and her team are making digital images of everything on the property.
“Everything from the whole site and the landscape and the architecture down to little hand-held objects in ways that people will be able to explore these on your laptop, or with a VR headset, if you have that kind of technology,” she explained.
The USF team is working with the Tampa Bay History Center and the Timberly Trust to tell the story of how the Moseleys lived. There was no electricity, no running water, and no air conditioning. What they did have, they used.
“Using palmetto fiber from her property, she created this incredible tapestry,” Collins pointed out.
It took wallpaper to a new level.
“It’s sewn into the wall and then she actually created a painting on top of that."
It’s all still here thanks to Julia Winifred Moseley, who passed away last August at age 101. She was the last of the Moseleys. She left the home and 15 surrounding acres to a trust for historical and environmental education.
Collins says Moseley was offered millions of dollars by developers who would have turned the home and surrounding land into another Brandon subdivision, but she turned them down.
Collins says they hope to open the Moseley Home to visitors in the future. For now, they continue to go through the past, learning more about the home and land that are the last remnants of the lost town of Limona.