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Lake Wales News • Polk County Democrat • Frostproof News • Fort Meade Leader • Your Haines City Herald

DAY 2 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

Fun • 2013



Lots of fun, education and history in Polk County’s tourist scene



The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, a Frank Lloyd Wrightdesigned building on the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, is fondly called “God’s bicycle rack” so called because of the metal sculpture atop the building.

the previous park, Cypress Gardens. The largest LEGOLAND Park Tourists, residents, or anyone looking for a fun vacation or day trip in the world, it features more than 50 rides, shows, and attractions, will find loads of options in Polk County. restaurants, shopping, a breathtaking botanical garden and the all-new From outdoor hiking and biking trails, to theme parks for kids and LEGOLAND Water Park. family alike, to the serene vistas of world-renowned gardens, to some LEGOLAND Florida is open seven days a week, but may be closed of the richest history in Florida — one would be hard-pressed to say “There’s nothing to do.” Here’s a quick look at some of the leisure activities Polk has to offer: some brand-new, such as Legoland, and some which have been around longer than the county itself. Outdoor Fun: (Just to mention a few) The Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland is a close neighbor to Bartow and Winter Haven as well, with its central location off Winter Lake Road. The reserve is home to a vast number of bird species as well as natural communities of oak PHOTO BY MARY CANNADAY hammocks and forested wetlands. The reserve encompasses The Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland is a close neighbor to Bartow and Winter Haven as well, with Lake Hancock, which is home to a large number of alligators, its central location off Winter Lake Road. The reserve is home to a vast number of bird species as so dogs are no longer allowed at the reserve. There are hiking well as natural communities of oak hammocks and forested wetlands. The reserve encompasses trails as well as the Nature Discovery Center, with its picnic pavilions, wildlife viewing platforms and boardwalks. There is Lake Hancock. Admission to the nature preserve is free. no admission charge to visit the reserve. In Bartow and Highland City, bikers and hikers will find a wellon Tuesdays and Wednesdays during specific periods. LEGOLAND designed venue at the Fort Frasier trail, which begins right off Van Fleet Florida is located at One LEGOLAND Way, Winter Haven Florida 33884, Drive in Bartow and continues to County Road 540 in Lakeland. The just 45 minutes from the Orlando theme parks or downtown Tampa. path is expected to intersect with Circle B Bar Reserve at some point in LEGOLAND Water Park is a seasonal attraction, and people should refer the future. There are restrooms at the Highland City Trailhead, as well as to operating calendar for opening days and hours prior to planning your waster fountains. There are benches for resting or just enjoying nature visit. There are as number of admission packets available, but prices are along the way. Fort Frasier is a “rails to trails” project, built in place of subject to change, so it is best to visit their website for current prices. railroad tracks no longer active. Fantasy of Flight, in Polk City, is a utopian destination for aeronautic Hollis Gardens, on Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland, is a buffs or those looking for something new and different. Started by gorgeous collection of both exotic and local flowers, plants, trees longtime aviator Kermit Weeks, it houses an enviable vintage collection and shrubs, with fountains, water features, and a goldfish pond of aircraft represents all eras of aviation from early flight to the 1950s. dotting the landscape. The plantings change frequently at According to their website, some aircraft have been carefully restored Hollis, and the tranquil, scenic setting is often the site of to represent the same dignity they possessed when they ruled the skies. weddings. Others, shown in the immersion experiences, look exactly the same as The gardens were a gift from the Hollis Family, when Weeks acquired them. In addition to the museum, there are activilongtime philanthropists in Polk County. There is ties, such as flight simulations, ropes courses, ziplines and educational no admission charge to Hollis Gardens, which opportunities, as well as places to shop. Prices are surprisingly affordare open every day except Monday, to able, with the highest combination admission under $50. Fantasy of the public. Flight is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, excluding Thanksgiving & Thrills and chills and lots Christmas. Hours may of fun vary occasionally for LEGOLAND, Florida, Central special events. Fantasy Florida’s newest theme of Flight is located at 1400 park, is a 150-acre, full Broadway Blvd., S.E. Polk two-day interactive City. The contact number is family theme park 863-984-3500. specifically designed for families with children History and natural wonders ages 2 to 12. Visitors Bok Tower Gardens is a Florida attracof other ages will tion” located in Lake Wales. no doubt enjoy it as Nearly 50 acres of Olmsted gardens well, though, due surround Pinewood Estate, a 1930s to the shopping Mediterranean-style mansion, and and dining opthe 205-foot art deco and neo-Gothic portunities and the Singing Tower housing one of the world’s botanical finest carillons with 60 bells that ring gardens every half hour and during daily which concerts. were The National Historic Landmark was preserved from PHOTO COURTESY OF LEGOLAND


Legoland Florida celebrated its first birthday in WInter Haven October 2012.

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advocate. According to their website, Bok Tower Gardens is open 365 days a year from 8 FROM PAGE 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. with last admission at 5 p.m. The Visitor Center, Blue Palmetto Café and Tower & Garden Gift Shop dedicated in 1929 as a gift from Dutch are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General immigrant Edward Bok, a Pulitzer admission is $12 for adults and $3 for Prize-winning author and world peace children and admission to Pinewood Estate is $6 for adults and $5 for children (Holiday Home Tour pricing is $8 for adults and $6 for children). The Singing Tower carillon bells can be heard every half-hour and daily concerts are at 1 and 3 p.m. General admission tickets are good for one day only and do not include admission to specially ticketed events. The Polk County History Center and LB Brown house are both great stops during a day trip to Bartow. Located inside the historic Old Polk County Courthouse, at 100 E. Main St., it houses a wealth of arPHOTO BY JEFF ROSLOW tifacts and historical information about Polk County. Cadets from Summerlin Academy at the L.B. Brown Heritage The historical archives there Festival. Brady Delbiudice, Samantha Paul and Michael are among the world’s most Chase. Behind them are Patricia Rye and Samantha Valentin. comprehensive and well-


Orlando Philharmonic Harpist Rosalind Beck readies her harp during festivities at Bok Tower Garden’s Sunset & Symphony.

The L.B. Brown House was designed and constructed in the 1890s by a self-taught master carpenter and freed slave, Lawrence B. Brown. It contains nine rooms and is approximately 1,700


Deborah Mack from the Smithsonian on the left, talks with Cliff Lewis inside the Brown House. Between them on the table is a box full of Brown’s correspondence and business records that is kept preserved.


A few of the airplanes in one of two hangars open to the public at Fantasy of Flight in Polk County.

The Polk County History Center.

maintained. In addition. the history center also offers special events, educational opportunities, and volunteer programs to help enrich the community. Be sure to visit the museums gift shop and children’s gallery. Admission to this community space is free to the public. Closed holidays, the center is open Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The LB Brown House is a beautifully restored home at 470 L. B. Brown Ave., in the downtown area of Bartow.

square feet. It is adorned with heavy Victorian ornamentation. The house is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and may be the only one of its kind in Florida, still in existence, that was built and owned by a former slave. It is being considered for inlcusion in the African-American museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The annual L. B. Brown Heritage Festival is held there each year, with the 13th planned for Feb. 8-10. Information about special events and guided tours, (available seven days a week,) may be obtained by calling Bartow City Hall, at 863-534=0100. There is no charge for the guided tours. Florida Southern College in Lakeland houses the largest collection of buildings designed by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is also home to the water-dome, a Wrightdesigned fountain in front of the Roux library that was out of commission for many years until recently restored. SelfGuided tours are available throughout the day, and a Frank Lloyd Wright visitors center is in the works. In total there are 10 Wright buildings and two additional Wright structures on campus, and is in the National Register of Bok Tower Gardens hosts many family activities Historic Places.

throughout the year.

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Historic landmarks 6 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

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Polk County’s historic landmarks



It’s one thing to be an historic building, but quite another to be designated by the National Park Service (NPS) as a National Historic Landmark. Polk County has two of the 43 in Florida, Bok Tower Gardens and the Florida Southern College Historic District, “Child of the Sun,� one of the largest collections of buildings by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The county’s rich historical background includes many other landmarks that are listed on the NPS Register of Historic Places and U.S. Historic Districts.

Center, formerly the Lake Wales City Hall; the Polk State College Lake Wales Arts Council, built as the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in 1927; and First Baptist Church. In 1991, the Register added the Mountain Lake Colony House designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. in 1916. He also designed Mountain Lake Estates, developed in the 1920s as an exclusive residential area created “to attract the nation’s business elite.� It was designated as an Historic District in 1993. In addition to 16 historic buildings in the Lake Wales Commercial Historic District, there are 206 historic buildings


Rosenbilt Arcade in Lake Wales. movies, it was designed by well-known architect Leo Elliott.

Polk State College Lake Wales Arts Center.

Lake Wales: in the Lake Wales Historic Residential Not far from Bok Tower Gardens, District. Historic homes in Lake Wales Chalet Suzanne is another internainclude the B. K. Bullard House; Casa tionally known landmark. It began as De Josefina, known as the I.A. Yarnell the Carleton Club envisioned by cheese House, a 25-room mansion built in baron James L. Kraft and Carl and 1923 and added to the Register in 1975; Bertha Hinshaw as a golf and tennis the L. Johnson House, placed on the residential resort in the early 1930s. Register in 1989; and the G.V. Tillman When Kraft bowed out and Carl died, House, added in 1990. Bertha launched the restaurant and In 2000, the Register accepted the inn, naming it after her only daughter. Lake of the Hills Community Club. Duncan Hines was one of the first In 2001, the Roosevelt School, now celebrities to sing its praises. Placed on called Roosevelt Academy, was added the Register in 1990, Chalet’s touts its to the Register. The same year, the Romaine Soup, as “out of this world� af- North Avenue Historic District became ter James B. Irwin and the crew aboard a U.S. historic district with 12 historic Apollo 15 astronaut took it aboard buildings. their trip to the moon in 1973. The “Moon Soup� also went into space on Apollo 16 and the joint dinner meeting in space with the Russians on Apollo-Soyuz. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Depot was built as a passenger station by the Polk State College Lake Wales Arts Center. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1928 and was added Other area historic buildings include to the Register in 1990. Also known as the Dundee ACL Railroad Depot, added The Depot, it houses the Lake Wales to the Register in 2001; the Babson Park Museum and Cultural Center. Woman’s Club, constructed in 1931, In 1990, the Register accepted five and placed on the Register in 1997, historic landmarks in Lakes Wales: the the same year the Old Frostproof High Rhodesbilt Arcade, erected between School, the Frostproof City Hall, was 1924 and 1926 and built by Jesse T. added. Frostproof’s Ramon Theater Rhodes; the 11-story Grand Hotel, the was built in 1925 by Frank and Vera Dixie Walesbilt Hotel built in 1926; Thompson. A source for a variety of the Polk State College JD Alexander entertainment from vaudeville to



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Lakeland: Along with the internationally renowned Frank Lloyd Wright buildings at Florida Southern College, one of Lakeland’s historic landmarks is the Polk Theatre. The 1,400 seat theatre was built in 1928 and added to the Register in 1993. In 1983, the Lake Mirror Promenade, the First Civic Center, was added to the Register. It was designed by Charles W. Leavitt and completed in 1928. In 1985, the South Lake Morton

Historic District was designated a U.S. historic district with 557 historic buildings. In 1993, another historic district, East Lake Morton Residential District, was designated with 215 historic buildings. In 1993, the Old Lakeland High School, the Polk Opportunity Center, was added to the Register. Also home to the Lakeland Middle Academy that was renamed Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in 1999, an alumnus of Lakeland High School. In 1995, the Register accepted the Oates Building, former home of the Oates-Corley Furniture Company designed by noted architect Edward Columbus Hosford. In 1997, the Munn Park Historic District was designated a U.S. historic district. Named in honor of the city’s founder, Abraham Munn, it contains 48 historic buildings. In 2002, the Lake Hunter Terrace Historic District was designated an •

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Options abound for Polk County golfers By LARRY JEWETT CORRESPONDENT It’s not hard to find an aspect of Polk County that is appealing. Ask any golfer, but prepare to be listening for a while. Golf in Polk County is plentiful and the variety of courses offered allows for many tastes and skill levels. Within the confines of the county, you will find no fewer than two dozen public golf courses. Of course, there are a few semi-private and a few private courses, but the average golfer usually has more options than available time to partake in the sport. It doesn’t take long for the average golfer to find a course that is comfortable, yet challenging for that golfer’s game and skill level. If you fear water, there are courses where water is not as


Lakes in Mulberry, which offers 18 holes and makes efforts to keep rates affordable for the average golfer. The toughest hole in the place is the par 5 sixth, which stretches out to 537 yards. Even though 12 is considered the toughest on the backside according to the scorecard, golfers can tell the par 4 14th is anything but easy and the 18th does provide a rewarding finishing hole. Owner John Lennon happened to be in the clubhouse that day and said while the course can be challenging, it is becoming a favorite of lady golfers. “Every day is ladies day,”

plentiful as others. If you like the challenge of avoiding sand traps, you won’t have any trouble finding a few courses that feature more than 100 hazards along the way. The elevation changes don’t rival the Smokies or the Rockies, but there are places where some of the holes run up hill and some of PHOTO BY LARRY JEWETT the holes run downhill. You’ll find There are plenty of golf courses to choose from courses that have comfortable clubhouses for re-living your best in Polk County and they allow for many tastes and skill levels. round and some places where the pro shop isn’t enough, but it works just fine for this course. said Lennon. There have been whole magazines Not far from Imperial, The Club at devoted to the golf courses of the Eaglebrooke sits inside a residential county. There’s a challenge here that community. To play here requires becomes almost equal to a tree-lined passing through a guarded gate, so a par 5. Any golfer who has read course tee time is a good idea. Eaglebrooke reviews usually ends up saying, “Well, appeals to the golfer who clearly that’s just great, but it doesn’t help.” You understands his or her abilities. While see, golfers who review courses may be many courses will offer three sets of better than the average guy, who can’t tees, Eaglebrooke utilizes six “courses.” make a living out of playing golf and It’s part of the “Play it Forward” idea certainly won’t try to do writing about that provides a yardage appropriate them. You can put me in that category. course to allow the golfer to enjoy the Because there are so many golf experience without punishing the courses in Polk County, you won’t find game. The elevated green sitting beside many people who have played them water on 18 makes you thankful you all with some regularity. That’s the finished. Every hole along the journey funny thing about a golf course … you has offered some challenge to test your really can’t judge it by playing it once. shot making or club selection. Pin placement changes all of the time, Moving to the next stop, we venture adding an element of difference in into Bramble Ridge Golf Course. Mike the game. Perhaps a course has just was working the counter that day finished aerating greens when you get and he has had plenty of time on the there and you’re not going to get the course. Bramble Ridge is divided into true roll that you might somewhere three nine-hole courses. The C course else. We have all seen courses on good is considered to be the toughest of the days and on bad days (think summer trio. A three-tiered green on 6-A makes droughts or monsoon afternoon rains it nearly impossible to face a single that close off low-lying holes). As golfputt. The holes are not long, but can be ers, we have good days and bad days tight. Hole 1 on the and it’s not the course’s fault (though B side can be we may try to say it is). a nightmare A tour We took off on a little tour to touch on some of the courses in Polk County, asking golfers and pro shops attendants about their course. We’re not going to be able to cover the whole county, but follow along as we make some stops. Our first stop is Imperial


if the wrong club is selected for the tee shot. The green fees make this enjoyable for parents and children to enjoy and learn the game together. Another course offering a trio of 9-hole layouts is Cleveland Heights, which is now officially called “The Heights” according to the scorecard. At times, one course will be taken out of play for work. Recently, the course, operated by the City of Lakeland, included a green replacement fee to help offset the cost of course improvement. The green fee remains competitive and the course continues to be a popular choice for residents and visitors.

course, the last one, plays 275 yards from the white tees. Links style golfing is the hallmark of Huntington Hills in north Lakeland. The course’s par 4 third hole requires a placed tee shot (not a driver) into a green that has water on two sides and a woods four paces behind it. It is followed by a deceptively long par 3 and a par 5 that has trouble to the left. The fairway slopes to the left, so tee shots have to be shaped to avoid trouble. The backside has a reachable par 4 from the tee box, though the green is hidden. One of the newer courses getting plenty of attention is Providence Golf Club. With undulating greens and great scenery, this course turns a game of

For those who don’t like to pull out the big stick (driver) often, there are courses in the county that can provide the challenge without the big clubs. An example is The PHOTO BY JEFF ROSLOW

Hamptons. This residenJimmy Morris takes some practice shots at the green at Bartow tial course is a favorite Golf Course. The 1982 Bartow High grad has been playing on of a lot of senior golfers the course for 33 years. who enjoy a good game without having to have 300 yard drives. The course golf into a sensory experience. The picks up in the first quarter of length of the par 3s is manageable for the year as it is very popular with visitors. There are 829 even a golfer with little experience, but getting to the green is only one part of homesites surrounding the the battle. This is one of those course and some are courses that makes you book quite close to a second tee time to get the fairways. the full effect. It has become Our final stop on the a great tour brought us back place home to the Bartow for Golf Course. This young course has its own golfers challenges, but can be and very rewarding on nearly ladies every hole. The scorecard because it’s will tell you that number more about four is the toughest hole and a shot making than distance. The GOLF | 10 longest hole on the

Celebrate Polk

2013 • Fun

Heartland Newspapers • 9



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Fun • 2013

GOLF FROM PAGE 8 case can be made for that as it is longer than any other par 4 (except the finishing 18). The toughest hole to many is number 8, which doesn’t appear to be difficult, but the small green is guarded well and a precise shot is required or you’re often putting for bogey. The par fives are reachable. If you don’t like water, you’re OK after the fourth hole until you get to 14 and then it comes into play all the way in. There you have one man’s view of a few golf courses, about a third of what is out there. The next guy’s view will differ and so will the view of the guy after him. Golf is a game that isn’t played, it’s experienced. The only way to get the experience is to get out and do it. The weather is conducive to making it happen, so grab a friend and a cart and play an old favorite or try something new. When it comes to golf in Polk County, there’s something for everyone.


Katie Moore cleans the sand trap during the tournament at the Bartow Golf Course on Aug. 26.



Recently, the course, operated by the City of Lakeland, included a green replacement fee to help offset the cost of course improvement. The green fee remains competitive and the course continues to be a popular choice for residents and visitors.


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With undulating greens and great scenery, The Providence Golf Club turns a game of golf into a sensory experience.

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Eaglebrooke appeals to the golfer who clearly understands his or her abilities.


Bramble Ridge is divided into three nine-hole courses.





Celebrate Polk

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Heartland Newspapers â&#x20AC;˘ 11

Streamsong launches

Golf courses, clubhouse now open By BRIAN ACKLEY



At one time, Streamsong was just an idea on a map for Tom Sunnaborg and the Mosaic development team.

or the better part of two years now, Tom Sunnaborg has had the best seat in the house in watching Streamsong Resort slowly spring to life in the sand dunes west of Fort Meade. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because as Mosaicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vice President of Land Development and Management, it was his job to shepherd Streamsongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s evolution, creating a world-class resort destination from an old phosphate mine. So far, so good. Golf operations were opened to the public Friday, marking the first major milestone in a project that will cost more than $70 million and ultimately create more than 300 local jobs. Open, too, is the golf clubhouse which includes 12-guest rooms, banquet hall and meeting space, and Restaurant Fifty-Nine, a steakhouse â&#x20AC;&#x153;themedâ&#x20AC;? eatery that is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sunnaborg has been there since before the first shovel of reclaimed mine land was turned. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very good day for us,â&#x20AC;? Sunnaborg said around midday Friday. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very gratifying and terrific, all the things you could imagine. But we know we have a bigger project, with the lodge, well under way. â&#x20AC;? There are two 18-hole links style courses as part of the 16,000 acre property that will also contain a hotel, or lodge, and conference center with more than 200 guest rooms. The main part of the resort is on schedule to open next fall, perhaps in late November, giving Mosaic and Fort Meade officials further things to be thankful for. The courses have hosted several golfing dignitaries so far, and Sunnaborg said most have come away with

the same feeling. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What has been really gratifying is how unexpected it is. The really great places around the world in golf â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re being compared to some of those places which is fantastic â&#x20AC;&#x201D; those places you know by reputation, and you know in advance what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to get. When you go to Brandon Dune or Pebble Beach, you know youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to see the Pacific Ocean. And itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fantastic, but you expect to see that. At Streamsong, people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what to expect.â&#x20AC;? In fact what might be considered a weakness, the difficulty of those familiar with the courses to adequately describe them, is actually a strength. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you see it, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very unexpected. People have a hard time describing it, describing what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re feeling, but its fun to watch their faces and just be amazed,â&#x20AC;? he added. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very hard to describe it in words. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not rustic, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s elegant, but were out here in nature. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not something that most people ever experience.â&#x20AC;? Also on-site is a private dining area called the Cork Room. The large banquet hall is known as the Canyon Lake Room and all 12 guest rooms are individually named for world-renowned golf architects. Fifty-Nine, by the way, was chosen because it is the lowest score ever recorded in a PGA tour event. An official grand opening is planned for Jan. 26 in conjunction with a PGA show in Orlando. Golf Magazine recently named Streamsong Red as the Best Golf Course You Can Play for 2012. Sunnaborg said while there have been challenges along the way, there was nothing so surprising as to catch the development team off guard. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is complicated, commercial real estate development,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been thrown any curve balls we couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hit yet, but every day is a challenge. But our board and senior leaders are committed to making this work. So far, so good.â&#x20AC;?

From walking trails to Civil War Battle Re-enactments and craft fairs to the spirit of local sports and our the historical museum

Something good is always happening in Fort Meade! Fort Meade is the oldest city in Polk County, dating back to 1849 when a settlement grew up around a U.S. Cavalry Fort during the Seminole Indian Wars. The name â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fort Meadeâ&#x20AC;? comes from a young lieutenant who surveyed the area while garrisoned there and who later became General George Gordon Meade of Civil War fame. Stonewall Jackson, later a general in the Confederate Army, was one of those serving under Meade. His post at Fort Meade was his last service with the United States Army. Fort Meade is also the site of the last skirmish of the Seminole Indian Wars, in which four men were killed in an Indian raid in 1856. The Indian raiders were later captured or killed by soldiers. A monument to Stonewall Jackson is located at Heritage Park on Northeast Third Street between Cleveland and Perry Avenues. Another park, on Southeast Second Street between Church and Hendry, is the site of a monument dedicated to those killed in the last Seminole uprising. Incorporated originally in 1885, then again in 1915, Fort Meade operates under a City Manager-Commissioner form of government, including a Mayor-Commissioner. The City owns its own water, sewer, electric, and natural gas. Recreation in the form of fishing, hunting, bicycling or walking on nature trails is plentiful in Fort Meade. The City maintains several parks, the largest of which is the Fort Meade Recreational Area, where visitors can launch a canoe on the Peace River, fish, use one of the picnic tables, pavilions or barbeque grills, or enjoy a quiet walk in the 120 acre wooded area. We also offer group overnight camping. The oak trees in this park, as well as those within the City, are often over 100 years old. There are over 2 dozen churches representing ten denominations in the City and surrounding area. Citizens can remain up to date on events by the local paper, Fort Meade Leader, which is distributed twice a week. The City has three elementary schools and a junior/senior high school, and is in close proximity to Florida Southern College, Polk County College, the Lakeland Campus of the University of South Florida, and Travis Vocational Technical Center. The Fort Meade Public Library contains more than 21,000 books and nearly 300 record albums.

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The City of Fort Meade Hwy 17 and Broadway â&#x20AC;˘ Ft. Meade 

Celebrate Polk

12 • Heartland Newspapers

Fun • 2013

What’s in a name? There are 12 counties in the U.S. called Polk



Polk County was established by the state government in 1861 on the eve of the American Civil War and named after the 11th U. S. president, James K. Polk who served from 1845–1849. All except two of the 12 Polk counties in the U.S. were named after the president. “Polk County was named after President Polk because Reading Blount, Bartow’s founder, had met the president who was in office at the time the county was established,” explained Lloyd Harris, chair of the Polk County Historical Commission. Noted for his foreign policy successes, Polk threatened war with Britain over the issue of which nation owned the Oregon Country, then backed away and split the ownership of the region with Britain. When Mexico rejected American annexation of Texas, Polk led the nation to a sweeping victory in the MexicanAmerican War, which gave the United


Polk County is named after James K. Polk, the 11th president of the U.S.

States most of its present Southwest. He secured passage of the Walker tariff of 1846, which had low rates that pleased his native South, and he established a treasury system that lasted until 1913. Polk oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Insititute, the ground breaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the nation’s first postage stamps. After promising to serve only one term, he did not run for reelection and died of cholera three months after his term ended. Although scholars have ranked him favorably on the list of greatest presidents for his ability to set an agenda and achieve all of it, Polk has been called the “least known consequential president” of the U.S. “Imperial” Polk County was the nickname given to the county by a newspaper editor to recognize the county’s prominence in agriculture, phosphate and cattle with the timber, turpentine and naval stores operations making strong contributions.


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2013 • Fun

LANDMARKS FROM PAGE 6 historic district with 163 historic buildings. Other historic districts included Lakeland’s Biltmore-Cumberland Historic District with 201 historic buildings and Dixieland Historic District that originated in 1907 as Lakeland’s first subdivision. Bartow: Many military leaders made their home in what was known as Fort Blount, Bartow’s name when it was founded in October 1851. In 1887, Jacob Summerlin, a wealthy cattle baron, donated 100 acres to ensure that Bartow was established as the county seat of Polk County. Historic landmarks include the South Florida Military College that started as Summerlin Academy in 1887. Added to the Register in 1972, it’s now home to Bartow High School and Summerlin Academy. In 1975, the Benjamin Franklin

Celebrate Polk In 1993, the Northeast Bartow Residential District with 26 contributing properties was listed on the Register as was the Bartow Downtown Commercial District, the Old Polk County Courthouse, with 204 contributing properties. In 2001, the Register accepted the L.B. Brown House. In 2003, the Oak Hill Cemetery was added to the Register. Originally built in 1906 by Mr. T. L. Wilson, a prominent attorney, The Stanford Inn was featured as the Sultenfuss’ residence in the 1991 film “My Girl,” starring Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin. Winter Haven: Renowned for its one-of-a-kind chain of canal-connected freshwater lakes, Winter Haven was platted in 1884 and known as Harris Corners. Home to the first Publix supermarket in 1930, it’s now home to LEGOLAND Florida along with many buildings designed by Gene Leedy, one of the founders of the Sarasota School of Architecture. Built in 1925 for Vaudeville and

Heartland Newspapers • 13

buildings was added to the Register. Auburndale: In 1996, the Holland Jenks House, known as the Stuart Jenks House, was added to the Register. In 1997, the Auburndale Citrus Growers Association Packing House, known as the Exchange Packing House or Adams Packing Co. Cold Storage Facility, was placed on the Register. PHOTO BY CASSIE JACOBY In 2001, the Ephriam M. Baynard House, Ramon Theater in Frostproof. now a museum built in including Christ Episcopal Church, 1894, was added to the built in 1889, probably the oldest Register. religious structure in the county. Fort Meade: Haines City: Fort Meade has 151 historic buildings In 1994, the Polk Hotel, also known as the Palm Crest Hotel or the Landmark Baptist College, was added to the Register along with St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, an historic Carpenter Gothic Church, and the Old Haines City National Guard Armory, the Community Center of Northeast Polk County.


Ritz Theatre, Winter Haven.


Christ Episcopal Church, Fort Meade. Holland House, built in 1895 and known as The Gables or Roy Trent Gallemore House, was added to Register. Holland was the father of Spessard Holland, one of Florida’s governors as well as a United States senator representing Florida. In 1982, the John J. Swearingen House, the R.H. Langford House, was added to the Register. In 1989, the Old Polk County Courthouse, home to the Polk County History Center, was added to the Register. Constructed in 1908-09, it was designed by noted architect Edward Columbus Hosford.

silent movies, the newly renovated Ritz Theatre will welcome the return of entertainer and Winter Haven native son Jim Stafford for “Puttin’ on The Ritz” concert on Feb. 28. at 3 p.m. In 1998, the Woman’s Club of Winter Haven was added to the Register. In 2000, Winter Haven Heights Historic Residential District was added to the Register with 147 historic buildings. In 2001, the Register accepted the Pope Avenue Historic District with 29 historic buildings. In 2002, the Interlaken Historic Residential District with 50 historic

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14 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

Fun • 2013

Tigers to start 77th spring training here next month PHOTO BY PEGGY KEHOE

Warm weather and a strong fan base help fill the stands and the berm behind third base at a Detroit Tigers spring training game in Lakeland’s Joker Marchant Stadium. That is also the home of the Minor League Flying Tigers. By LARRY JEWETT CORRESPONDENT Baseball players are called “The Boys of Summer” because the long season encompasses the mid-year months. Before anyone can play the games in June, July and August, they have to go through spring training, the pre-season ritual that sends teams to Florida and Arizona. Spring training has been in existence for more than a century. In fact, the 2013 season marks the 125th anniversary of the concept of spring training and it all started in Florida. The Washington Senators traveled to

Jacksonville in 1888 to get in workouts in better weather. The players enjoyed it very much, perhaps too much for the liking of the thinking of the management at the time. It wasn’t something that they did every year back then. For 20 years, spring training was all about conditioning and intra-squad games. In 1908, the Cincinnati Reds actually had a game scheduled, playing the semi-pro St. Petersburg Saints. Five years later, the Chicago Cubs came to Tampa. The Tampa mayor offered $100 per player to bring the team to the city, covering the club’s expenses. The highlight of the Cubs stay had to be the series of games played against the Havana Athletics, a Cuban barnstorming team that brought cigar factory workers to the games with split allegiance. While this was taking place, the Cleveland Indians had established their Florida presence by playing games against local

squads in Pensacola Polk County has had a prominent part of spring training since 1928. That spring, the Philadelphia Phillies came to Winter Haven to establish a home for their February and early March action. Florida was well on its way to becoming THE place to bring a ball club. In those days, the major league teams were all east of the Mississippi River. Travel to Florida just made sense and any team that had the budget was bringing its players in a little bit early. The Detroit Tigers put Lakeland on the map with their first visit in 1934. The team returned in 1935 and promptly went out and won the World Series that season. By the time the Tigers came back for 1936 spring training, their esteemed position as world champions drew greater attention and crowds were starting to build for Lakeland games. The Phillies left Winter Haven in 1937, leaving a void that would take nearly 30 years to fill. In the meantime, Detroit stayed loyal

to Lakeland, but World War II interrupted the annual visits. Because of the war, baseball teams were prohibited from traveling south of the Potomac River. The Tigers went to Evansville, Ind., but when the war ended, they returned to Lakeland and they haven’t left. This spring, when the American League champion Detroit Tigers report to Tigertown, it will mark the 77th appearance and 48th consecutive, interrupted only by the war. Some cities may have been hosting spring training longer, but no city can claim the relationship with one team/city like the Tigers/Lakeland pairing. The Tigers played their earlier games at Henley Field, located near the corner of Florida Avenue (U.S. 98) and Memorial Boulevard (Highway 92). The field is currently the home of the Florida Southern College baseball team and serves as a great reflection on that era of baseball. In 1966, Joker Marchant Stadium was built, giving the team a new home. Within a few years, Detroit was once again back in the World Series and entered one of its heydays in the sport. Joker Marchant Stadium went through a $10 million renovation, completed in 2003, and is operated by the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department. When the Tigers go north for the regular season, the stadium becomes the home of the Lakeland Flying Tigers, a Single A team that competes in the Florida State League. This club got its name from the fact that Joker Marchant Stadium was built at the former site of Lodwick


Celebrate Polk

2013 • Fun

TIGERS FROM PAGE 14 Field, a World War II pilot training base. Some of the original buildings remain as part of Tigertown. In 2012, the Lakeland Flying Tigers won the Florida State League Championship. Sadly, the Tigers remain as the only Major League Baseball team that conducts spring training in Polk County. The Boston Red Sox moved into Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven in 1966 and stayed until 1992. The park appeared to be destined to be empty until Hurricane Andrew leveled the new practice facility for the Cleveland Indians in Homestead. The Indians had held their spring training in Arizona prior to the commitment to Homestead and now needed to find a home in short order. The availability of Chain of

Heartland Newspapers • 15

succumbed to the fiscal temptation offered by Arizona authorities and moved away after the 2002 campaign. The stadium sat for three years, unoccupied. It was torn down to make way for the current Posner Park shopping complex nearby. With Detroit’s long history in connection with Lakeland, hundreds of baseball superstars have taken the field as Tigers or members of a visiting team. Future talent was nurtured through Tigertown activity with players going to developmental programs in the minors, only to eventually wear the uniform of a big league team. At various points in time, Tiger players established homes and raised families in the community. Some even invested in local businesses. Among the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, there are 12 players and two managers who spent time on the field in Lakeland as part of the home team. Sparky Anderson managed the AP PHOTO

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, left, talks with teammate Victor Martinez during a spring training workout at Joker Marchant Stadium .


Fame are Earl Averill, Jim Bunning, Mickey Cochrane, Larry Doby, Charlie Gehringer, Goose Goslin, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, George Kell, Eddie Mathews, Hal Newhouser, and Al Simmons. Players like Doby and Mathews played more games with other teams, so they know the experience from both sides of the field. There will be plenty of excitement, not to mention plenty of out-of-state visitors, when the Tigers return for 2013. Estimates vary, but area hotels and restaurants see a significant bump in business during spring training as visitors from Michigan and Ontario travel south to see the team they will be seeing in Comerica Park come April. For the Tigers, the opening home

Bartow’s Carlos Fernandez got to see his picture on the giant screen at Joker Marchant Stadium during the home run derby last year at the Dixie Youth League World Series. Lakes Park allowed the Tribe to move in in 1993 and they remained until returning to Arizona after 2008. At the junction of interstate 4 and U.S. 27, the land many remember as Circus World transitioned to Boardwalk and Baseball and included a major league style ballpark. Those grounds were occupied by the Kansas City Royals, starting in 1988. The Royals

Offering “Florida Style” Fine Furniture in Polk County for Over 90 Years!

squad for many years and came out of the first base dugout on countless occasions at Joker Marchant Stadium. Bucky Harris played with the Tigers before they came to Lakeland, but managed the Tigers in 1955 when the team was playing at Henley Field. Players who wore the Tiger uniform for spring training in Lakeland and now have their plaques in the Hall of

Draper’s Furniture was opened in 1919 by H. E. Draper when he returned from World War One. He purchased Wales Furniture and renamed it. In the early 1920’s, H. E. moved into the Caldwell-Temple Building on Stuart Avenue, which at the time was the largest building in Lake Wales, Florida. The showroom was on the main fl oor and the inventory was stored on the upper fl oors. In 1989, Lori Draper became the company’s president and the store name was changed to Lori Draper’s New and Used Furniture. Lori runs the business alongside her husband, Mike – who is H. E.’s grandson.In the 1990’s, the store was moved to 123 East Park Avenue in Historic Lake Wales and encompasses two storefronts, both of which cover 5,000 square feet. One storefront contains new furniture, accessories, decor items, and lamps. The second storefront contain gently used items their customers have traded in. You can spend hours looking through the entire store!They specialize in offering furniture that gives you True Florida Style without the expense.


Kids and parents got information from school psychologists and community agencies at a Flying TIgers baseball game in Lakeland.

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game of spring training is Saturday, Feb. 23 and the final game at Joker Marchant will be March 29. Opponents who will come to Lakeland to play Detroit include Toronto, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Houston, New York Mets, Washington, Tampa and the New York Yankees. The Tigers have made some roster additions with all-star outfielder Torii Hunter and the return of veteran catcher Victor Martinez. Tickets for games are available at the Joker Marchant box office or online at The time honored tradition of spring training continues. Others have come and gone, but the connection between Lakeland and Detroit is strong. It’s now the only game in town.




123 East Park Avenue • Lake Wales, Florida 33853 M-F 10-5 • Sat. 10-3 •

16 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

Fun • 2013

Be one with nature.


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863.676.1408 • 1151 Tower Boulevard • Lake Wales, FL

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