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Amy Bennett Williams Essays

Tom Gaskins' Knees (Encore)

Along U.S. 27 in Palmdale, which was once a major transportation artery, stands what remains of one of Florida’s lost tourist attractions:  Tom Gaskins’ Cypress Knee Museum. 

For decades the site was home to the eccentric entrepreneur and his unique collection of cypress knees; those stalagmite-looking growths on the buttress roots of Bald Cypress trees that abound deep in the Florida swampland.  The museum has fallen into neglect and disrepair since Gaskins’ death 19 years ago this month. 

Earlier this year, the Florida Division of State Lands approved Glades County Commissioners’ management plan for the Cypress Knee Museum site, which could include repurposing the facility as a Welcome and Education Center highlighting Old Florida Roadside Attractions. 

While that work remains to be done, the dilapidated and vandalized historic site continues to contain small glimmers of its former glory as News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams tells us in this week’s encore essay.