Architect, antiques collector, educator, and Lithia native Billy Wayne Allen is no ordinary 70-year-old. He has spent the past four years building a piece of Florida history with his own hands, all to preserve a dying lifestyle. His historic Cracker Town sits on the border of his yard, complete with a church, house, meal house, general store, dining pavilion, blacksmith shop, and even an outhouse.
“It’s more or less a love offering so people who are coming up nowadays can see how their grandparents and great-grandparents lived.” Allen said.
Allen’s family says this handmade Cracker Town is a reflection of Allen.
“There’s nothing plastic about him,” his sister Gerry said. “What you see is what you get. If the president were to drive up here right now, he’d be the same.”
“He’s got a real big heart for people,” his sister Betty said. “When he started building this place he didn’t know when to stop.”
Linda Allen, Billy’s wife, recalls that the project immediately took hold of her husband when it first began.
“Some people that own a saw mill across the woods from us gave him some free lumber. And he didn’t know what he was going to do with it. He said, ‘I’m just gonna build a little house out there,’ but it kept getting bigger and bigger.”
She, too, believes that the Cracker Town encompasses Billy Allen’s character.
“As they say, when he was born I truly believe they threw away the mold. Because every day of my life he says something different that surprises me that I have never heard before,” Linda said.
Those interested in visiting Billy and Linda to witness Florida’s history can call 813-758-4570 to schedule.