Lake City, Florida: Aunt Aggie's Bone Yard (Gone)
- Don't go looking. Lake City is in the northern part of the state and easy to find (close to I-10) on any map.
- Gone since early 20th century.
Visitor Tips and News About Aunt Aggie's Bone Yard
This former attraction dates from the early 20th century, until Aggie's death in 1918. It is documented in a 'Florida Flashback' article in the May 11, 2003 edition of the Orlando Sentinel, Section K page 1. Aunt Aggie's garden "was filled with structures made of animal bones, as well as flowers and plants of all kinds. It was a popular spot between 1900 and 1918". The article quotes extensively from a book entitled "Aunt Aggie's Bone Yard: Historic Old Garden of Lake City, Florida", written by May Vinzant Perkins. The book is undated, but signed by the author in 1952, at which date the attraction "existed only in the memories of old-timers".
Aggie Jones was born in Tatnall County, Georgia, and came to Lakeland, Fl, then known as Alligator, in 1844. She was the property of the Elijah Maddox family, as was her husband, Jenkin Jones, called "Uncle Jenks". Some time after emancipation, they were able to purchase the Bone Yard property, "in the northeastern section of Lake City in 1883". Here were built "amazing gateways, arches and trellises from bones, wired together to form fanciful structures. Bones bordered the white-sand walkways and formed an arcade between the front gate and the Joneses' house".
There was also an informal natural history museum inside, which contained snakes preserved in jars and alligator skeletons, as well as a human skeleton hung in the hallway. No human bones were ever used in the structures, however, as Aggies was quick to explain to her visitors.
Visitors are said to have loved the mixture of lush flora and sepulchral structures; "they wrote their names and addresses on the bones; children gazed on the strange beauty of the place with awe and admiration. You could buy flowers and good things to eat, have your fortune told, and hear a good story or be reminded of Aggie's favorite Bible verses". Auggie sold flowers and produce, and visitors left tips in exchange for floral bouquets created especially for each visitor by Aggie.
Besides the book mentioned above, the Florida State archive preserves some photos of the site, which is currently occupied by a high school. Aggie's great great granddaughter, Sharron Yvonne Grandison, currently lives in Orlando, Florida.[Ronald Bruckbauer, 05/27/2003]