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Carl Allen

1990 Florida Folk Heritage Award


Carl Allen, a Florida native, was a local historian and promoter of the state’s Cracker culture. During the late 1920s and 1930s, Allen was a cow hunter—the Florida equivalent of a cowboy. He rounded up scrub cows that were descendants of herds the Spanish left to run wild.

Allen operated Allen’s Historical Cafe on U.S. 92 West in Auburndale, a restaurant that served only Cracker cuisine. “You won’t find anything on this menu that wasn’t caught, netted, raised, grown, or hatched in this state,” Allen once said. The menu included alligator, armadillo, rattlesnake, shark, fried pickles, and watermelon soup.

Allen also wrote a weekly column called “Conversation Pieces,” in which he discussed Florida history and folklore, for Lakeland’s The Ledger. He spoke frequently at local schools about the tales and traditions of central Florida.