Towns and Cities


Bartow sends a welcome to you and a welcome that comes from the heart. We say to all who are seeking the most desirable locality in Florida, come to Bartow. She offers you the full advantage of a tropical climate, beautiful asphalt streets, splendid class of people and the best of social attractions. She has beautiful homes--an excellent school, good churches, prosperous banks and up-to-date merchants. No finer water and light systems found in the South and one of the healthiest places in the South, being midway between the ocean and gulf, it is a very desirable place for a winter resort or a permanent home.

Bartow is the Capital of Polk County--the second richest County in the State, Duval being first, which includes the great City of Jacksonville. Bartow is two miles square, is a town of about 5,000 people with a live Board of Trade, progressive and has the ability to do things. Tourist accommodations of the best and prices not excessive. Bartow is of the present day modern town. It is in the centre of a farming country, large citrus groves, and four large phosphate plants. Bartow offers her tourists a fine golf course, that will meet their every need, fine asphalt drives for miles in all directions with beautiful scenery that can be seen nowhere but in Polk County. One of the greatest pleasures of living in Bartow is, it is the centre of a wide circle of the most valuable lands. In the rural districts around Bartow are good fruit and garden lands and fine citrus groves. The volume of county business assists in making Bartow a good all the year round town. In the winter a goodly number of winter tourists are entertained.

Another attractive feature is the pretty Carnegie Library and excellent school buildings---four handsome brick structures, set in a delightful campus, in the most beautiful residence part of the city. Tuition free to all white children in Polk County. The school is known as Summerlin Institute, in honor of an old pioneer, Jacob Summerlin, who gave ten acres of land for school purposes. In his deed he specified that only white children of Polk County could enter this school free of tuition. The first building was erected in 1886. The increase in population of Bartow demands three other large buildings with a large auditorium. This is a weather vane showing what investors are doing, and Bartow is noted as a time-keeper of progress, indicating opportunities knocking on the doors of those who have capital to invest.

Use good judgment and invest in Bartow, the homeseeker's goal. Here are many fine homes and churches of eight denominations. All the churches own nice parsonages which is a credit to any city. Bartow's handsome residences are indicative of her wealth and refinement. Bartow's two banks have resources of millions of dollars, Bartow merchants carry stocks equal to any city in the State, and it is rapidly developing into one of the greatest business centers of the State. Bartow has a motion picture theatre, a Woman's Club which is federated with eighteen other County Clubs, which means a County Federation of nineteen clubs of Polk County---there is also a Business and Professional Woman's Club in Bartow.

There are fine asphalt roads leading out to all parts of Florida and automobiles are the only conveyances used. There are four up-to-date garages; Bartow has jitney lines to Tampa and other points, in which facilities the town and county is unusually well served. In the meantime, the railways from North, South, East and West are daily scheduled into Bartow and Bartow's union station is a first class station and automobiles are there ready to distribute the people according to their wishes. Many find congenial homes in Bartow. There is a whiteway line to and through the principal parts of town. During the world war, when all the business was much crushed, cost of living high, young men and many young women were overseas or in camps, it seemed that Bartow's future hopes had all been swept away, but the people who had planted their homes in the little town, held on with abundant courage, and with invincible hope they gathered to themselves what of strength they could. Now in the short period of four years Bartow assumes an appearance of enduring solidity.

Bartow's citizens are thoroughly moral, religious, broad minded, and noted for their hospitality. Many are natives of Polk and the State, but it is a cosmopolitan town, more of its inhabitants were born in other states and foreign countries. All are welcome, merit rather than money is the price of admission to Bartow society. Fraternities are a prominent feature of Bartow's social life. The Masons and Knights of Pythias have lodges. Eastern Star, Odd Fellows, are all in a flourishing condition. Bartow has a government $60,000 Post-office and a $17,500 city hall.

An artesian well 726 feet deep, completely cased to prevent contamination furnishes a plentiful supply of water. Wastes and surplus rainfall are carried off by the septic tank sanitary storm sewer system. Motor-driven American-LaFrance fire engines are an important feature of the fire fighting equipment in charge of paid drivers with a volunteer fire company. The court-house is said to be the finest in the State and was built without a bond issue, the cost being $100,000. The county jail is a modern structure costing $60,000. The colored population of Bartow live entirely in their own sections. There are two colored towns---one East and one West of Bartow proper. Each town has its own churches, schools and stores and other businesses they engage in. They are a well behave people, and make good servants, coming to their work each day and returning to their own homes after working hours.


Bartow is wonderfully rich in her soil, her climate, in her good roads, in her manufacturing interests, and in varied industries of one kind and another; but she is likewise rich in those things that make a happy people. Man enjoys the beautiful works for the material, but finds satisfaction only in those things which have to do with the development of his better self. So here in this wonderful land of opportunity with all of its beauty and prosperity there are Churches and Schools for the development of character. Here the newcomer can find almost any church of his choice--all shades of belief and "near-belief." The leading denominations, such as the Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Congregational, the Lutheran, the Christian and the Reformed bodies are well represented here. There are a number of these different denominations in the city and they extend a most cordial welcome to those who are seeking a church home. Our schools, too, are of the very best. Good equipment, competent faculties and efficient management appeal to those who are seeking to fit their children for the duties of life. We can conscientiously invite the investor to our midst knowing that his religious and educational interests will be well cared for.


Bartow is acknowledged by all as possessing more public buildings than any other city of its size in the State, and it may be truthfully said that every one of these buildings is so designed that it fits into the landscape upon which it is situated in a manner that gives to the city that uniform beauty that can be obtained only after great care and skill is expended by men of unusual architectural ability. Each building, together with the lawns, flowers, shrubs, trees, etc., that surround it receives that infinite care and attention that is usually given only to the home of some painstaking housewife, thus Bartow surely deserves her reputation of being an extremely clean and beautiful city. Notwithstanding this hearty welcome on arrival and soon becomes one of us, in order to enjoy our blessings, by visiting our city hall, wherein is located the Council Chamber, City Offices and Board of Trade, or he may visit and enjoy our Public Library. At the post-office he receives excellent service, and speaking of service, Bartow's fire department is unexcelled by any town her size and very few larger, using two American La France motor fire trucks, manned by an organization composed of home boys that take pride in their efficiency. Then, too, we have a modern jail and court house that are very beautiful and well kept wherein one may receive most courteous treatment and excellent service. Bartow bids you welcome. (Write the Board of Trade.)


Bartow has two thriving banking institutions, namely, The State Bank of Bartow, with combined capital and surplus of $59,000.00 and The Polk County National Bank, combine capital and surplus $240,000.00. Both banks are old-established institutions, strong and progressive. Deposits on December 30, 1921, were as follows:

State Bank of Bartow..............................................$354,987.89
Polk County National Bank.....................................1,088,834.21
Combined Total..........................................$1,443,822.10


Few cities the size of Bartow can boast of being so well equipped with public utilities, built, owned and operated by the city government. Our municipal electric light and power plant equipped with Diesel engines, using fuel oil, produces all the electric current for lighting purposes and a surplus of power which is supplied at a reasonable rate to local industries and to the hundreds of acres of irrigated truck farms adjacent to the city. From the same power plant water is supplied the city for all purposes, including home use, industries, and fire fighting. This water comes from a bored well 726 feet deep, cased all the way to prevent possible contamination from surface or underground sources. As a drinking water it is famous for its pleasant palatability and freedom from mineral tastes. Miles and miles of concrete sidewalks and asphalt-paved streets, shaded with great live oaks and water oaks, to which additions are frequently made, give Bartow the well-earned reputation of being one of the best paved and cleanest cities in the state and cause it to be known as "The City of Oaks." Sanitation is provided by separate sanitary and storm sewers and by regular garbage collection by city truck. Fire protection is furnished by La France motor equipped trucks and an unusually efficient volunteer force. The Seaboard Air Line and Atlantic Coast Line Railways serve Bartow through a union passenger station maintaining separate freight depots. Automatic telephones have been installed in Bartown by the Peninsular Telephone Co.


Bartow is an excellent location for industries of various kinds because of being the County site, located about the center of the richest and most progressive county in the State (Polk County), having two large railroad systems as well as having direct asphalt road connection with every town in the county. There being more than a dozen incorporated towns in the County one may easily judge Bartow's place as an industrial center. Yet there is always room for more. Competition is the life of business. Bartow is the home of the Reho Drug Company, a thriving drug manufacturing business, which sells its goods in all the Southern States. Bartow also has gained prominence as a lumber city, because of there being three large lumber companies doing business here, selling anything from rough lumber to orange boxes or novelty work. Bartow also has a share in the wholesale business. Its wholesale grocery, fertilizer and ice companies do a very prosperous business. Bartow also has two citrus packing houses and two phosphate mines as her share of those industries. In fact, Bartow is so located she looks for support on the citrus industries of the eastern and northern part of the County (the great citrus section of the state); to the western and southern part of the County are the greatest phosphate mines in the world; the cattle ranches scattered over the County, and also to the truck farms that are located in and about the town. Come see for yourself. We want more business. Write the Bartow Board of Trade.

Bartow is an ideal city to live in. It is a real home town. Our streets, yards and homes are unsurpassed for beauty and comfort. Flowers thrive here when given proper attention. We have people here just like you havve at your home---human. We have, in fact, all requirements for the mind, body and soul, such as; good lights, water, sewerage, churches, schools, library, picture show, golf club, dancing, pavilions, bathing resorts and good merchants, etc. COME AND SEE.


There is possibly room for argument as to which represents the greater investment in Polk County, Bartow's trade territory, the phosphate industry or the citrus groves. It might be debatable as to which produces greater income for the county---both go well into the millions of dollars per year---but Bartow business men and Bartow's laboring men are equally pleased to have both industries to depend on for their income. It is entirely probably that the investments in phosphate lands and mining equipment in Polk County along is between $75,000,000 and $100,000,000. The vastness of the deposits, the permanence of the industry will probably appear more tangible to the reader when it is stated that the deposits in Polk County alone embrace practically five townships of thirty-six square miles each, or about 115,000 acres. Its importance to the United States may be recognized from the fact that this County produces approximately 80% of our national consumption of phosphate; its importance to the world, by the statement that Polk County produces about two-thirds of the world's consumption of phosphate; and its importance to Bartow is best shown by the statement that it furnishes employment to thousands and pays out in wages and salaries annually from three to five million dollars. Reading up from the lower illustration on this page they show: 1st, plant for grinding soft phosphate; 2nd, employees' residences; 3rd, storage bins; 4th, washer for separating pebble from matrix; 5th, power plant.


Bartow, besides having many other advantags has all of the natural requirements for Livestock, Dairying and Poultry. It has that wonderful balmy climate that can be found only in the center of an island or peninsula, never too hot and never too cold. Livestock, dairy cattle and poultry are never kept in winter barns, but are kept on green pastures the entire year. Think of that saving in health, labor and expense. Then, too, a native Florida cow, whether of registered stock or not, only contracts T. B. on rare occasions and never develops it as cattle in the more severe climates. Bartow has many dairies and livestock farms and poultry farms. One of these dairies has the largest and best herd of registered Jersey cows in the State. In this herd is the Florida State Grand Champion Cow and Bull, N. Y. State Grand Champion Cow and two full sisters of world champion, four-year-old Jersey cow. Another dairy and livestock farm has largest and best herd of registered Ayrshires in Florida, best and largest herd of Duroe-Jersey hogs in Florida and the Southern Grand Champion Duroe-Jersey boar. Many high-grade beef cattle and a drove of imported thoroughbred Arabian horses. There are many other prizes held by Bartow stock and from all indications Bartow is destined to be one of the leading livestock, dairy and poultry farming sections in the United States because everything is done according to the latest sanitary methods in this clean, pure climate. Come and see Bartow, the sanitary city.


So radically different in their physical aspects are the phosphate and citrus industries, they would amost leave the sightseer wondering if it is possible that the two exist in the same county. Except to the geologist or the investor, phosphate mining is prosaic, indeed---a conglomeration of water, mud, pipes, machinery and grime, while the citrus grove, well kept and laden with golden riches, is the embodiment of poetry, romance, beauty and fragrance. This page is written Christmas week but it is not only at that season, but only then, specially impressed, by a drive through the thousands of acres of citrus groves on all sides of Bartow that a citrus tree full of beautifully golden colored fruit is not so much like anything else as it is a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Thousands of children who seldom taste an orange, except at Christmas time have grown to maturity with the thought in mind that no Cinderella store could be more enchanting than the privilege of plucking from the trees the golden balls filled with sweetest nectar, and eating thereof to their utmost satisfaction. We want those thousands to know that it is in Polk County, of which Bartow is the County seat---that this production of citrus fruits, oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines attains its very pinnacle of perfection. But little of the romance is stolen away by the production being a business so profitable that it has become so enormous in this county that we produce one-third as much fruit as the whole remainder of the state.


Those who are interested in the raising of vegetables may well give a little thought to Bartow, for the real truck farming section of Florida lies in and about Bartow. In truth, Bartow ships more cabbage and lettuce than any other city in the State of Florida. Thousands of crates of vegetables are shipped from Bartown each year, thus furnishing employment to many people, besides bringing wealth to the men who labor and put capital behind these crops. The farming is done in the most improved manner, with the best implements made, as well as having the farms equipped with overhead irrigation so that the crops may never suffer for water, and at the same time furnishing the water to the crops as near like a natural rain as it is possible to do. With the above described irrigation system, it is always possible to set the plants out in the field during a light shower, thus the planter has the assurance that the plants will live. Bartow is also blessed by nature giving to her a mild, pleasant weather at all times and seasons. Though we have stressed the importance to Bartow of the truck farming, we must say that general farming is carried on very extensively in and about Bartow, together with the raising of a large amount and variety of other vegetables. Stock and poultry raising is extensively done in and about Bartow. Also the raising of corn, potatoes, oranges and most of the tropical and semi-tropical fruits. Come to Bartow and see for yourself.


To the seeker of pleasure Bartow offers a variety of sports and amusements that can hardly be equaled anywhere. For instance, the motoring is as good as can be found at any place. Within the city there are miles of asphalt streets and cement sidewalks, and leading out of town in every direction are the same kind of roads. There are more than three hundred and fifty miles of these roads; asphalt boulevards connecting Bartow with every town in the county, and in riding on these wonderful roads there is always somewhere to go and something to see. They pass the phosphate mines, the orange groves, the cattle lands and along the shores of Polk County's many beautiful lakes. One may ride on these roads to any of these lakes and there enjoy a few hours of fishing for trout, bass, perch, bream and many other varieties of fish, or if he prefers to spend a while hunting, all that is necessary is to go into the woods at any place along the road and there he will find quail, doves, squirrel, rabbits and many other kind of game, and on the lakes and streams he may find ducks and other water birds. However, you may not care for the pleasure of pitting your skill against the cunning of the fish and game, but prefer a human brain and muscle to compete with. If that be the case, then come to Bartow and enjoy her golf courses, tennis courts, bathing resorts and dance floors. For instance, Bartow is within not more than one hour's ride to seven golf courses, all of which are in excellent condition, though the course at the Bartow Golf Club, located exactly one mile from the center of town, is used more than any other courses because of its location and quality. There, the tennis enthusiast may find an excellent court also. One may also enjoy a good swim in Eagle Lake, a beautiful body of clear, pure water, or he may go to Kissingen Springs, both being just ten minutes' ride from Bartow. Kissingen Springs is a large basin of crystal-clear water flowing among beautiful shade trees, the water remaining the same temperature of seventy degrees all the year, thus giving that exhilarating and invigorating feeling that nothing else will. At Kissengen Springs or the bathing beaches one may purchase drinks and sandwiches to satisfy that ravenous appetite that always follows one of these swims. Then, if he cares to trip the light, fantastic toe there is a good floor and music awaiting. Bartow also has an active music club, woman's club and many fraternal orders.

[Source: The Florida Boom and Bust, 1919-1929; Florida ephemera collection (P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History).

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