Before this area of the Panhandle became a beach destination, the land and forests were a source of income for landowners. Turpentine was a major commodity and this building is a testament to that past livelihood. Inside is the remains of a turpentine "still".
The raw gum or resin was collected from the trees (mainly pine), much like syrup is gotten from maple trees. A cut was made in the bark, but on a specific side of the tree. Each year they cut another side of the tree so as to extend it's years of productivity.
Once the raw gum was collected, it was boiled in the still.
Then cooled in the round wooden container to the right.
When the trees no longer produced turpentine, the owners, wanting to get the greatest return for their land, cut down the timber using saws like the one below.
Those years are now just a memory, but this state park exhibition provides an idea of what it once was.
(Disclaimer: If any of the above is inaccurate or false, I take full responsibility. John explained it perfectly because he reads every single word of every single sign, AND because he can remember it to-the-letter for decades to come. Meanwhile, I'm the opposite. It's usually in one ear and out the other... besides, science never was my forte. But I try!)
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