Preserving a Rural History
Danny Sylvester plays a wide variety of roles within his community. Mr. Sylveser spends most of his time running his heating and cooling business. However, in his off time, Mr. Syvester also owns and operates Renaissance Park and is a strong Legacy Community advocate.
“For years we had talked about preserving the concept of the farmers from the past centuries, and they always wanted us to preserve their techniques.”Danny Sylvester
Mr. Sylvester has been running his heating and cooling business for around 30 years. His initial interest in the industry humbly started when traveling trade school recruiters visited his hometown. He decided to attend a trade school in Indianapolis, Indiana. However, he returned home soon afterward to start his business in Jackson County. Today, he serves a 100-mile radius, all the way to Washington and Leon Counties. His business has picked up in recent years due to the damage caused by Hurricane Michael and the general age of most of the building’s units.
Mr. Sylvester also owns and operates Renaissance Park, a 40-acre wilderness park about 8.5 miles northeast of downtown Marianna, just outside of Two Egg and Greenwood. The park is filled with artifacts and relics of folk life reminiscent of early rural farm life in Jackson County. The Park hosts Heritage Festivals twice a year in September and December. African American tradition bearers demonstrate to visitors traditions such as pig picking, hog dressing, and sausage and soap making. At the park, visitors can even watch sugar cane, grown on-site, be cooked down to syrup in an 80-gallon, cast-iron kettle. When the festival isn’t happening, the park hosts camping sites and educational retreats. Through this outreach, Danny Sylvester is able to share the history and resilience of rural African American communities in Jackson County.