The Historic Haile Homestead: The Talking Walls
Built by 56 enslaved laborers in 1856, the Historic Haile Homestead is uniquely known for its 'Talking Walls.'
The Historic Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation is one of the most unique antebellum structures in Florida. The 6,200 square foot house was built by 56 enslaved laborers of Thomas Evans and Serena Chesnut Haile in 1856. In 1854, the Hailes and moved their family and enslaved laborers from Camden, South Carolina to establish a Sea Island Cotton plantation in Alachua County, Florida. What makes this site unique is that the Haile family had an unusual habit of writing on the walls of the home. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, the oldest writings date back to the 1850s. Today, the site includes the Allen & Ethel Graham Visitors Center and Museum where visitors can learn about the Haile family, enslaved laborers and freedmen at the Kanapaha Plantation and the impact of slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow in Alachua County and Florida. The following photographs were taken during a June 2021 tour of the Historic Haile Homestead.