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Issues and Voices that Matter July 5, 2012

Geneva: History Alive!

Geneva - History Alive title (photo - CMF Public Media)
The Museum of Geneva History is a treasure trove of special items from Florida’s past, especially the pioneer days. Mal and Mary Jo Martin of the historical society take us on an audio tour that makes Geneva history come alive! Length: 18:10

(Produced, reported and edited by Desta Horner)


Geneva is a small unincorporated town in eastern Seminole County Florida with a big history stretching from prehistoric mastodons to Timucua Indian villages, to a fort in the Seminole wars to sawmills in the 1930’s. It has seen steamboats and ferries and railroads serving its citrus and timber industries. And the Museum of Geneva History has acquired hundreds of items and pictures arranged in exhibits that tell the story of the people who have lived in the area.

The museum is owned and operated by the Geneva Historical and Genealogical Society. It was built in 1965 on land donated by the Kilbee family. The word went out to residents to comb their attics and bring in items from their grandparents’ day. The residents of Geneva responded so generously that in 1977 the museum added a second room using a donation from the McLain family.

The director of the museum is Mary Jo Martin. She and Mal Martin have been members of the historical society for 20 years and they are perfect guides to the museum. Mal Martin is on the board of the Geneva Historical and Genealogical Society and serves as historian. They travel and research looking for items to add to the collection.

The museum is located at 165 First St. in Geneva. The Museum is open the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month from 2-4 pm. The Martins are also available to open the museum for personal tours by appointment. They are especially eager to welcome children and students. Call 407-349-5697.

Principal Participants

Mary Jo Martin, director, Museum of Geneva History (photo - CMF Public Media)
Mary Jo Martin
director, Museum of Geneva History
Mal Martin, historian, Geneva Historical and Genealogical Society (photo - CMF Public Media)
Mal Martin
historian, Geneva Historical and Genealogical Society

Geneva Historical and Genealogical Society


After you launch the slideshow below, click “Next” and “Previous” to rotate through the photos.

Extended Interview

At left, Mal Martin, historian, Geneva Historical and Genealogical Society with Mary Jo Martin, director, Museum of Geneva History (photo - CMF Public Media)
Mary Jo Martin and Mal Martin with Desta Horner
Length – 35:00

11 Responses to “Geneva: History Alive!”

  1. Mary Jo says:

    Wonderful. Thank you, Desta. We enjoyed working with you and you did a great job!

    MJ and Mal

  2. Bill Nygren says:

    Fantastic, but I am biased. Mary Jo and Mal are both treasurs and you have captured some of their spirit.

  3. Christy says:

    Thank you for this podcast! I love hearing the passion Mary Jo and Mal have for Geneva’s history!

  4. Nina Martin says:

    I just wrote a long note to you guys and it disappeared on me. This was a wonderful interview with you and Desta Horner. I learned very much from your detailed answers. For instance,I had never heard of a turpentine or ice business in the area. Also interesting was the “keep your fish fresh” boat and the piano/violin player. I had never heard of Louis Powell before hearing your interview. Thanks for sharing; I hope to get up there in person one of these days.

  5. Judy Hunter says:

    You guys have done a fantastic job. I really enjoyed the information and Mary Jo and Mal have done a great job on the museum. I want to visit.

  6. Wanda Currie says:

    A great piece about our local treasures guided by two more of our local treasures!

  7. Wayne says:

    Great presentation. The museum has really grown since my last visit.

  8. Marlene and Bill says:

    Your podcast is such a great presentation. Very enjoyable and informational. You both are obviously well informed on the articles in your museum. A really fantastic job!

  9. Betty O says:

    Wonderful! I’m definitely going to visit the museum the next time I come down to Geneva. What a wonderful museum! You have done a grand job!

  10. Constance Bennett says:

    3 very enthusiastic participants! I’m eager to visit the museum the next time that I’m in FLA…
    (I believe there is more to the term “cracker” and the origin of it than the interesting interpretation of it in this podcast.)

  11. Ann Davis says:

    Loved this. Hope to go there one day and see these interesting items in person. Actually, I visited this website in order to see the pine needle basket that was part of the collection, but didn’t see it. Very interested in central FLA pine needle basketry.

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