Crankin A's

Members of The Crankin A's of Daytona Beach pose for a picture with their cars during the Winter Florida History Con at the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Crankin A's are developing a new exhibit at Pioneer Settlement for the Arts.

It’s a new year with new things to see at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement.

The Settlement has partnered with the Crankin “A’s” of Daytona Beach for a new exhibit.

“They are building a replica 1920s Ford garage and gas station at the Settlement where they will house some of their antique cars and some of their Ford memorabilia to show the public. It will also serve as their workshop and clubhouse,” said Erick Nielsen, one of two associate directors for the Settlement.

Mr. Nielson wasn’t sure if West Volusia actually had a Ford workshop in the 1920s, but said some of the roads then certainly would have supported one. Either way, he’s excited about this new feature.

“It’s going to have a front porch waiting area, which is reminiscent and nostalgic of old time garages where people came to get their cars worked on and gossip and drink their 5-cent Coca Cola. The front half will have a garage door and inside the garage door will be a display area where they have old transmissions and old engines that are cut-away and color-coded and labeled to show visitors different parts of the early internal combustion engine. It will also have a functioning Model A car parked there,” Mr. Nielson said.

Also in the works are several renovation projects. The Settlement received a grant from The Questers, an international non-profit historic preservation group, and a $5,000 grant from America the Beautiful Fund, a non-profit supported by license plate sales.

“We’re going to use that money to replace the roof over our turpentine still, to replace the back wall of our turpentine commissary store, which was built around 1900, and to try to shore up the Joseph Underhill house (c. 1879), which is one of the original buildings here. It’s the oldest brick residence in Volusia County and it needs a little bit of work on its porches in order for us to give tours,” Mr. Nielson said.

The popular blacksmithing classes will continue throughout 2023. The Settlement’s blacksmith building is an on-site replica of the era. Florida Artist Blacksmith Association members meet there monthly to learn and teach their craft.

“On the first Saturday of the month, we have about 30 to 40 smiths in our blacksmith shop working on different projects and teaching each other different things,’ Mr. Nielson said.

There are also all-day classes the public can take for a fee to learn the craft.

“A lot of (students) can go on and do either practical blacksmithing, such as making tools, some of them go on and create different arts with it,” Mr. Nielson explained.

The Settlement is seeking volunteers to teach classes. There are roughly 20,000 visitors annually, including school tours. An uptick in visitors after the Covid-19 pandemic has allowed the Settlement to hire enough staff to increase hours to seven days – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Playing on the Porches, a live music and living history event, is happening Saturday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, March 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The annual Spring Frolic is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 1, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 2. General admission is $10, $9 seniors (62+) and veterans, $4 ages 6-12, and under 5 is free. For more information, visit

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