Putnam County Historical Society Information.
The Putnam County Historical Society was incorporated in June of 1966. As stated in its articles of incorporation "the general purposes and objects of this corporation shall be to aid in the discovery and preservation of historical objects and events; to obtain funds for the erection of historical monuments and museums; to promote the interest of all people in the history of our area, particularly Putnam County."
The Society pursues these goals through several outlets, including: operating the Bronson-Mulholland House and the Putnam Historic Museum, hosting bimonthly historical programs, and its involvement in historical preservation. The Bronson-Mulholland House is open to the public for tours Thursday through Monday from 12:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. The House is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and all major holidays. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted. The Putnam Historic Museum is open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Annual membership in the Society starts at fifteen dollars (various levels of membership are available). Those interested in membership may direct their correspondence to the Society to P.O. Box 35; Palatka, FL 32178-0035.
Putnam County Historical Society Virtual Tour.
The Bronson-Mulholland House.
The Bronson-Mulholland House, also known as Sunny Point, is located at 100 Madison Street in Palatka, Florida and is open to the public for tours Thursday through Monday from 12:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. The House is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and all major holidays. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted.
The house was built by Judge Isaac Bronson in 1854. Bronson, a native of Jefferson County, New York, had been a member of the 25th United States Congress. In 1840, he was commissioned a United States judge for the Eastern District of Florida and move to St. Augustine. Upon Florida becoming a state in 1845, he was appointed one of the four circuit judges.
Judge Bronson prepared and sponsored the city charter of Palatka in the Florida Legislature, petitioned that the town be the county seat, and donated land on which the courthouse stands. He and his wife, Sophronia, and their two daughters, Gertrude and Emma, were members of St. Mark's Episcopal Church of which the judge was one of the first vestrymen.
After her husband's death in 1855, Mrs. Bronson remained in Palatka until the outbreak of the Civil War when she returned to New York. Throughout the war the house stood empty but was occupied in turn by Confederate and Union troops.
In 1866, Charlotte J. Henry of New York, a friend of Mrs. Bronson, opened a school for freed slave children in the house. It was supported by the New York branch of the Freedmen's Union Commission.
Around 1875 Miss Henry, who had purchased Sunny Point in 1867, married Nathaniel P. White and it is believed that between then and Mr. White's death in 1895 extensive alterations were made to the house. Mary Mulholland, a nurse, remained with Mrs. White after her husband's death. In 1904, a few days before her own death Mrs. White conveyed Sunny Point to Miss Mulholland.
Mary Mulholland remained in the house until her death in 1935 at which time the property was left to her ward, Edelmira Rivero. The cost of maintenance and taxes forced Miss Rivero to sell the house and remove the furnishings. Ownership of the house changed hands several times and the three-story house was divided into eleven apartments. In 1965, the City of Palatka purchased the property and gave the Putnam County Historical Society use of the house.
Due to the efforts of the Society, the city commissioners did not raze the house as planned. The Society made some repairs and secured listing on the National Register of Historic Sites for it as the Bronson-Mulholland House. Historical and archeological studies were made by Florida State University personnel. The City of Palatka awarded the contract for restoration of the house from a Community Development Grant in 1975. Restoration was completed and the house opened with a dedicatory ceremony in November, 1977. Much of Miss Rivero's furniture was returned to the house from her estate by her will.
Cooperating in the City of Palatka's Community Development project of restoration were the Florida Department of State, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Putnam County Historical Society.
The following images are from stereoscopic views of the Bronson-Mulholland House in the 1880's. When identified, the images usually refer to the structure as "Sunny Point." In the first view it is called "The Hermitage."