Nestled off of Madison Street just north of the bridge, a sleepy giant of a home rests among the oak trees in the North Historic District. A surprising number of Palatka residents don’t even know about this stately Greek revival Antebellum home, but it’s stood as the crown of Palatka since 1854 when Judge Bronson built it and moved in with his family.
The Bronson-Mulholland House has a long-storied history wrapped in the Civil War, the struggle for Civil Rights, and Palatka’s slow slide from bustling industrial port and tourist mecca to the sleepy river town that it is today. The rooms reflect the home as it may have been decorated in the time of those who lived in the house, fully restored in the 1970s from the desegregated state it was left in after years of apartment-renovations and subsequent abandonment. From the double parlor downstairs to the bentwood game room upstairs, every inch of the home is resplendent with Palatka’s history.
Today the Bronson-Mulholland still stands on it’s original place at Sunny Point, but has the addition of a small, nondescript building just to the west of the main house that acts as the museum for the Putnam County Historical Society. This small building once stood closer to the river and was the officer’s quarters for Fort Shanon from the early 1820s. To this day, it’s one of only a couple of buildings in Florida that is still standing since the days of the Second Seminole War, and it’s the only building still standing from Fort Shanon.
Inside the museum is a history of Palatka starting from the paleolithic with a collection of projectile points, through the time of William Bartram and Fort Shanon. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts from Palatka’s heyday as a steamboat hub, beautiful relics from the famed Putnam House, and a large collection of schoolroom memories from Palatka’s schools.
The Bronson-Mulholland house is open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the first Sunday of the month. For the Azalea Festival, come tour the home and enjoy free lemonade and cookies from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Living Historians will be on hand in 1860s attire giving fabric production demonstrations on a spinning wheel and entertaining guests.