The Okefenokee area has a rich history that reveals the American experience of both African Americans and Seminole Indians. There’s also a powerful tradition of sacred choral music here and insights into America’s expansion through the railroads.

All of these historical stories come together at the Okefenokee Heritage Center, which sits on 20 beautiful acres. At the heart of the Heritage Center is the Founder’s Hall Exhibit, featuring a re-creation of the first courthouse in Waycross, an early schoolhouse, artifacts from a turn-of-the-century utopian community called Ruskin—plus a beautifully restored 1912 Baldwin locomotive, weighing in at 100 tons.

Also significant is Hilltop House, a reassembly of the first fine Victorian house with glass windows built in Waycross. It can be found at the end of Founder’s Hall. Featuring many of the home’s original architectural elements, the exhibit includes the front porch, the entrance hall with partial staircase, and the parlor—all of which have been furnished with authentic pieces and artifacts that date back to 1871, and which were donated by both family members and Waycross locals. So while you may only be able to peer into a part of the house, you’ll get the whole experience of how people lived at the time.