Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Polk





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Polk

ACTON COMMUNITY
Location:U.S. 92(E. Memoyial Blvd.) at Interlachen Parkway
County: Polk
City: Lakeland
Description: In 1884, a group of Englishmen established Acton, named after English author Lord Acton, two miles east of Lakeland. Acton lasted from 1884, until 1894, when its residents scattered after the great freeze. During its decade of existence the town had about 200 people, a hotel, sawmill, stores and a church. Its atmosphere, dress and custom were typically English. Polo, fox hunting and cricket were a part of the village's daily life.
THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT CAMPUS OF FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE
Location:on the Florida Southern College grounds.
County: Polk
City: Lakeland
Description: At Florida Southern College is located the largest collection of buildings on one site ever created by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of America's foremost architects. Wright's plan for the campus is the only tangible example of his community planning ideas, termed "Organic Architecture." His concept was to decentralize the city by distributing urban functions to rural areas and to utilize new technologies in the building trades. Wright's involvement at the campus was the result of urgings from Ludd M. Spivey, then president of the college. Wright insisted that the college's individual buildings reflect their environment through the use of "native materials all universally adapted to the uses of young life." Eighteen buildings, only seven of which were completed, were originally planned for the campus. The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, begun in 1938, was the first to be built, and the Polk Science Building, completed in 1959 during the presidency of Charles T. Thrift, Jr., was the last. Later buildings on the campus were designed by Nils Schweizer, an eminent Florida architect and student of Wright. The Florida Southern College Architectural district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Florida Southern College in cooperation with department of state
THE WOMEN'S CLUB OF LAKELAND
Location:59 Morton Dr.
County: Polk
City: Lakeland
Description: The Woman’s Club of Lakeland was organized in 1912. In 1923 they purchased this property as the site for their clubhouse. W.B.Talley, a Lakeland architect, designed this colonial revival building in 1927 and in 1928 construction was completed by the Billman-Purdy Construction Company at a cost of $13,000. This clubhouse would serve one of the city’s oldest and most active social civic organization for the past fifty years. The Colonial Revival style was first introduced at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876 and was brought to Florida in the late 1880’s It signified a rebirth of interest in the early English and Dutch houses of the Atlantic Seaboard and drew upon Georgian and Adam architecture for references. Typical Colonial Revival characteristics that can be seen here include an accentuated front door with a decorative pediment and sidelights, a hipped roof, and double hung sash windows in adjacent pairs. The Woman’s Club is a contributing structure to the East lake Morton Historic District, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
Sponsors: THE CITY OF LAKELAND HISTORIC PRESVERATION BOARD AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE.
THE SOROSIS CLUB BUILDING
Location:90 Lake Morton Drive
County: Polk
City: Lakeland
Description: In 1922 the Sorosis Club or sorority, a women's club in Lakeland, was organized. Named after the first incorporated women’s club in America, the Sorosis Club of New York, the Sorosis Club’s mission included service to the community, as well as social and cultural activities. This property was purchased in 1925 as the site for its new clubhouse. Plans for the Italian Renaissance building by W.B. Talley (1871-1956), a Lakeland architect, were approved in 1926, and construction was completed by N.L. Snelson in 1927 at a cost of $42,000. This clubhouse was the first community center in the city. The Italian Renaissance style was most popular in the United States between 1890 and 1935. Typical elements of the style include the symmetrical design to the front of the building, a flat roof with a low wall around it, wrought-iron railings, recessed porches with arches, and small classical columns. Goldenrod, the club flower of The Sorosis Club, is stenciled below the roof. Two large stone lanterns on each side of the front walk represent knowledge and leadership. The detailing of this building is unique in Lakeland, and unusual in the Central Florida region.
Sponsors: THE CITY OF LAKELAND HISTORIC PRESERVATION BOARD AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE RAILROAD IN DUNDEE HISTORY
Location:103 Main St.
County: Polk
City: Dundee
Description: The Dundee Passenger Depot, built ca. 1912, was the first depot on the Haines City to Sebring Line of The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Most of Dundee’s early growth can be attributed to the railroad. With the advent of the railroad, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Highland Development Company brought settlers down from the Midwest, refunding their fares when they purchased land. Dundee and the railroad both prospered. Hotels and rooming houses were built to house the prospective buyers and others who came just seeking a spot in the Florida sun. The station was segregated from 1912 to 1954. Although passenger service was discontinued in ca. 1954 the depot continued to handle freight until c. 1975 when the line was discontinued. The depot was then moved to its present position and renovated into a museum commemorating the role the railroad played in the development of the town of Dundee.
Sponsors: THE DUNDEE DEPOT RESTORATION COMMITTEE AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OLD POLK COUNTY COURTHOUSE
Location:100 E. Main Street
County: Polk
City: Bartow
Description: Polk County was established February 8, 1861 formed from eastern Hillsborough County and western Brevard County and comprised one of two counties created after the state's secession from the union. Polk County was named after James Knox Polk the eleventh president of the United States. Polk served from 1845 to 1849, and was the first president to hold office after Florida achieved statehood. The turbulent 1860's saw Polk's seat of government changed several times. Located first at Mud Lake, the county seat soon moved to Jefferson, a surveyed town site within the present day limits of Bartow. Court and County records were maintained in the home of the county clerk the Reverend Jeremiah Hayman at Six Mile Creek. In 1867 cattleman Jacob Summerlin donated 120 acres of land at Bartow for a town site and seat of county government. Several courthouses have existed at this site, built in 1867, 1884 and 1909.
Sponsors: POLK COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE HISTORIC L. B. BROWN HOUSE
Location:470 Second Avenue
County: Polk
City: Bartow
Description: The L. B. Brown House was built in 1892, during the period of Bartow’s initial development. It is a good example of Frame Vernacular construction typical of that period. This house is decorated with intricate mill work and gingerbread. The house has nine rooms. The Brown house was built by Lawrence Bernard Brown (1856-1941) who was born into slavery, in Wacahoota, outside of Archer. He moved to Deland around 1882 where he built a number of houses. Lawrence moved to Bartow during the 1880s and built a large number of dwellings, one of which was the L. B. Brown House. Lawrence and AnnieBelle (1882-1938) Brown raised seven children here. Lawrence and his wife are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Bartow. The house is now owned by the Neighborhood Improvement Corporation of Bartow, Inc. Restoration was completed in 2001 with the cooperation of the city of Bartow, citizens of Bartow, and the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources.
Sponsors: The Neighborhood Improvement Corporation of Bartow and the Florida Department of State
HISTORIC PUGHSVILLE NEIGHBORHOOD
Location:1601 Third Street
County: Polk
City: Winter Haven
Description: Pughsville was one of Winter Haven's earliest neighborhoods, populated predominately by African Americans. These individuals cleared land and settled in what is now the southeast section of the city. For many decades, Pughsville remained a vibrant and thriving community. Pughsville was named in honor of one of the earliest black pioneers, the Reverend Charles Pugh, who was one of the founders of one of the oldest black churches in Pughsville, Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Pughsville boasted three other churches: Bethel A.M.E., St. Paul Holiness, and Church of Christ. During the peak of its existence (1900s -- 1950s), Pughsville had an African-American school, social halls, small grocery stores and restaurants. Many residents worked in the citrus industry, but others were restaurant owners, business professionals, educators, construction workers and domestic workers. Still others worked in local, state and federal government jobs. Pughsville produced Winter Haven's first African-American commissioner, medical doctor, mayor, fire fighter and postal worker. The original Pughsville began to decline during the late 1970s as larger commercial establishments began arriving in the area, driving up property values.
Sponsors: BY THE CITY OF WINTER HAVEN, THE POLK COUNTY COMMISSION, AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HISTORIC PUGHSVILLE NEIGHBORHOOD
Location:Highway 17 and Avenue "O" Southwest
County: Polk
City: Winter Haven
Description: Pughsville was one of Winter Haven's earliest neighborhoods, populated predominately by African Americans. These individuals cleared land and settled in what is now the southwest section of the city. For many decades, Pughsville remained a vibrant and thriving community. Pughsville was named in honor of one of the earliest black pioneers, the Reverend Charles Pugh, who was one of the founders of one of the oldest black churches in Pughsville, Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Pughsville boasted three other churches: Bethel A.M.E., St. Paul Holiness, and Church of Christ. During the peak of its existence (1900s --1950s), Pughsville had an African-American school, social halls, small grocery stores and restaurants. Many residents worked in the citrus industry, but others were restaurant owners, business professionals, educators, construction workers and domestic workers. Still others worked in local, state and federal government jobs. Pughsville produced Winter Haven's first African-American commissioner, medical doctor, mayor, fire fighter and postal worker. The original Pughsville began to decline during the late 1970s as larger commercial establishments began arriving in the area, driving up property values.
Sponsors: BY THE CITY OF WINTER HAVEN, THE POLK COUNTY COMMISSION, AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
FLORENCE VILLA TRAINING SCHOOL
Location:700 Block "O" Ave
County: Polk
City: Winter Haven
Description: The Florence Villa Training School for Negroes replaced an earlier African-American school built in 1916 on the corner of 2nd and Palmetto Street. By 1922 the first school was in disrepair and classes were held at the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Seeing the need for a permanent campus, local white physician Dr. Mary B. Jewett in March 1924 approached the Board of Public Instruction with construction plans and an offer to donate this land. Construction began in August 1924. Funding sources were as follows: Negro donations: $2,000; White donations: $11,000; Ad Valorem Taxes: $5,000; and Julius Rosenwald School Fund: $1,500. When the five-acre campus opened on December 1, 1924 the building consisted of six large classrooms, a Domestic Science Department and an auditorium. Enrollment peaked at 250 students. On the night of January 17th, 1925, a fire destroyed the school and its furnishings. The Florence Villa Town Council offered a $500 reward for information leading to the apprehension of those responsible, to no avail. This property was returned to Dr. Jewett in May 1925, and an alternate school location was chosen farther to the north.
Sponsors: SPONSORED BY THE CITY OF WINTER HAVEN, THE POLK COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE JEWETT HIGH ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HISTORIC KESSINGEN SPRING
Location:Mosaic Peace River Park
County: Polk
City: Bartow
Description: Historic Kissengen Spring is located approximately one mile north of this location. At one time the spring discharged up to 20 million gallons of water a day into the Peace River. The spring’s pool was 200 feet in diameter and reached a depth of 17 feet above the spring vent. Its boil reportedly was so powerful that the strongest swimmer could not reach it. Archaeological evidence shows this area of the Peace River was inhabited by Native Americans who established large villages near the river’s springs. In the late 1800s developers sought to acquire the spring as a resort destination and sanatorium. Although plans for rail lines, trolleys, and boats never were realized to exploit the spring for tourism, a dance floor, dive platform, and bathhouses were built, and thousands of locals and tourists visited over 75 years. In the 1930s the popular spring was the site of major political rallies. During World War II, it served as a rest and recuperation resort for members of the military based near Bartow. The spring ceased to be a tourist destination after its groundwater was captured for other uses.
Sponsors: IN MEMORY OF THOMAS E. JACKSON SPONSORED BY THE POLK COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION SOUTHEASTERN GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY THE GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS OF KISSENGEN SPRING AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE