Towns and Cities


The eyes of the whole world are directed towards Florida as never before, the interest growing rapidly with each succeeding year. Tired of cold, inclement winter, tired of the hard struggle to keep the wolf from the door, disappointed in hopes and expectations of securing either a competence or wealth, wearied in mind by continuous exhaustive effort, imbued with a strong desire to secure a fortune, or, enfeeble in body by the disease so prevalent in various sections of the country, people everywhere are desirous to make a change for the better.

Reports, faint and few at first, and more than counterbalanced by those of an opposite character, have, for the past few years, been heard from Florida, from the land where, more than three centuries ago, notable Spaniards sought health—a fountain of eternal youth—and others sought wealth—the glistening yellow gold. Both are to be secured in this fair and balmy land, if rightly sought. The truth of the message, "Seek and ye shall find," can here be realized by all truly earnest souls.

The better reports have grown stronger and more numerous from year to year, until at the present time there are few sections of the Union that have no representatives in lately despised and bitterly-maligned Florida. Thousands have here secured restored health, and other thousands have gained fortunes, or at least a satisfying competence, as well as health.

Consequently, diligent inquiry and earnest effort is being made by the more energetic people of all classes, in all sections, to learn the exact facts with regard to this delectable land of sunshine and balmy breezes. "Are the good reports true regarding Florida?" is the earnest and oft-repeated inquiry.

This question, and many others, it will be the endeavor of this pamphlet to answer as regards Polk County, an interior section of the delightful South Florida peninsula that its residents, as well as the rapidly increasing number of visitors, consider the very choicest and most desirable locality that the whole word affords. Its lands are fertile, its waters are pure and abundant, it is noted for its healthfulness, its climate is the most delicious that can anywhere be found, its surface is diversified with hill and dale, meadow and plain, numerous lovely clear-water lakes reflect the bright sunshine, while their banks afford delightful building sites; here are running streams of sparkling water; here you can listen to the mocking bird to your heart's content, or watch the in their sportive glee; sturdy oak as well as beautiful pine and other trees abound on the uplands, while along the courses of the numerous streams are hickories, oak of several varieties, maple, gum, cypress, wild orange, cabbage palm, whitewood, magnolia and other varieties too numerous to mention. The surface of hill, plain and valley is covered with vigorous luxuriant native grasses, as well as beautiful trees; the numerous lakes and streams are well stocked with fish, turtle, etc.; cattle, swine and sheep thrive on its fertile ranges, in winter as well as in summer; sheep raising is found to be very profitable; poultry thrive and give quick returns; honey is abundant, bees increasing rapidly and laying up large stores; the growing of corn is more profitable than in the far West; sweet potatoes, pease, rice, sugar-can, cassava, etc., are staple crops; all the citrus and many other semi-tropical fruits grow vigorously and produce abundantly; garden vegetables give immense returns; all kinds of industries thrive; new settlers are locating rapidly; the residents are eminently sociable and hospitable, kindly welcoming new comers; numerous business and social centres are already established, with churches, schools, stores, etc.; well regulated railroads give close and continuous connection with the roads of the whole country; other roads will soon be built, and the present roads be further extended; desirable locations abound, and lands can now be purchased at moderate prices, but are rapidly increasing in value; the roads are hard and firm, as well as free from mud or dust; snow is unknown and frost is rare; the country is exempt from cyclones, tornadoes, electrical storms and destructive winds, it being in a neutral zone, where it is impossible for such storms to enter. Many other pleasing and attractive characteristics might be mentioned, but I desire to be brief.


"But," says the reader, "where is this wonderful land, this healthful, productive, attractive and charming County of Polk?" It is located near the centre of the Florida peninsula, which is destined to be the most populous and wealthy, as well as the most enjoyable and desirable part of the known worlk. It lies mostly between the twenty-seventh and the twenty-eighth parallels of north latitude, and east of the eighty-second degree of longitude, an area that Judge J. G. Knapp, a prominent and well informed writer on Florida, designates as the Central Zone. It is, in fact, the "golden mean" between extremes that is so sincerely desired and earnestly sought.


Polk County has no high mountains, but a broad plateau of high land extends through it, near the centre, from north to south, the roadbed of the South Florida Railroad at Haines City reaching an elevation of 210 feet, about the same elevation being maintained at Lakeland, some twenty-five miles to the west. Some of the hills are still higher, being from forty to sixty feet above the surface of some of the lakes.


An incomparable charm is given to the surface of the country by the hundreds, if not thousands, of lovely clear water lakes, many of them with attractive shores that afford delightful residence sites, that are scattered promiscuously over the face of the county. They are the most numerous, however, just north and northeast of the centre of the county, forming the far-famed Lake Region of Polk. In size they differ greatly, varying from one acre to five thousand acres in extent. On the eastern border of the county are the great Lakes Tohopekaliga, Cypress and Kissimmee, with respective elevations of 64.5, 62 and 59.66 feet above the sea level. South of Lake Cypress, in Township 28, Range XXIX, is Lake Hatch-e-ne-haw, with an elevation of 60.23 feet. In Township 29, Lake Rosalie, in Townships 30 and 31, Lake Walk-in-the-Water, 61.94 feet above the sea. Also, Lake Arbuckle, in Township 32.


The Kissimmee River, a broad and navigable stream, forms the eastern boundary of the county, separating it from Brevard and connecting the three great lakes first mentioned. Arbuckle Creek connects a series of lakes to the west. By cutting connecting channels the Drainage Company has made navigation practicable through lakes and river to the Calossahatchie River, and through that to the Gulf of Mexico. The result has also been the drainage of large quantities of overflowed lands. In fact, the configuration of Polk County is such, and its elevation so considerable, that portions needing it can be easily drained, it being highest in the centre.

Peace River, which has its source in Lake Hamilton and its tributaries in the north-eastern portion of the county, Range XXVII, runs in a southwest course to Range XXV, Township 29, where it is augmented by the waters from Lake Hancock, flowing through Saddle Creek. It then continues southward in Range XXV. It could be made navigable the whole distance at a moderate expense, and undoubtedly will be in the near future, a charter having been secured for the purpose.

Tiger Creek and Arbuckle River, in the eastern part of Polk County, connect the series of large lakes found there with the Kissimmee River, and are being made navigable, which will give excellent facilities in the matter of transportation, and aid greatly in the development of that attractive section.

The Alafia and Hillsboro' Rivers and their branches intersect and drain the fine lands in the western part of the county. It was among the headwaters of these rivers that the first settlements were made in the county some forty years since, Tampa, in Hillsboro' County being the seaport and trading headquarters. Polk County is well watered by numerous creeks and streams of pure running water.


Beferring to the survey made by the General Government, it will be seen that Polk County extends north and south through Townships 25 to 32, inclusive. At the south it is included in Ranges XXIII to XXXI, while the northwestern corner that projects up to the western border of Orange and into Sumter County is included in Ranges XXII to XXVI. The area of the county is 2,060 square miles or 1,388,400 acres.


A comprehensive, or bird's-eye, view of Polk County shows it to be divided by nature into strips of a few miles wide, extending in a northerly and southerly direction. Near the centre, from east to west, is evidently the finest, most attractive and productive strip of country; at all events, here are the most improvements and much the greater portion of the population.

Lakeland, Acton, Auburndale and Sanataria, on the South Florida Railroad, some fourteen to sixteen miles in a northerly direction from Bartow, the county seat, are active and thriving new towns, the growth of the past year. To the north of them for a number of miles is a fine high country that will soon be developed, as the Florida Southern Railroad passes through it from north to south, forming a junction with the South Florida at Lakeland. To the South, fourteen miles to Bartow, six to the Bethel neighborhood, six more to Fort Meade, and a few miles beyond to the southern boundary, is a very notable strip of high pine and oak land from three to five miles wide. On this are many clearings, cultivated fields, fruitful groves, pleasant and even elegant residences, and three busy, rapidly-growing towns, Lakeland, Bartow and Fort Meade, with churches, schools, hotels, stores of varied kinds, public halls, post-offices, express and telegraph offices. The first two have railroad depots and the other doubtless will have in a short time.

This central, well developed strip of country lies to the west of Peace River. To the east is another apparently equally choice strip of land extending through the county; but as yet, however, thinly populated, there being neither post-office nor store. At short intervals on either side of Peace River are creeks, or rivulets, that empty into it the drainage of these fertile side lands, hammock at first, but gradually rising to productive oak and pine lands, then less fertile pine edged with a strip of varying width of a flat-woods character, interspersed with bays, cypress swamps, grass ponds, etc.

The northwestern portion of the county may be considered as a separate division by itself, as Judge Knapp does with the northwestern part of the State. Its characteristics are those of Hernando and Sumter rather than of Polk proper, the bulk of which lies below the 28° of latitude, while this projection of four ranges, between four and five townships in depth, is north of that line. Consequently, it is in the North Central, instead of the Central Zone, according to the very convenient division of the State of Florida by Judge J. G. Knapp into the Northwestern, the Northern, the North Central, the Central (in the northern part of which the most of Polk county is situated), the South Central, the Southern, the Semi-Tropical and the Tropical Zones, each of which, with the exception of those at the extreme north and south of the State, occupy a full degree of latitude.

This "baker's dozen" of townships contains considerable quantities of excellent land. There are also many ponds, cypress swamps, flat lands, etc., especially on the eastern half adjoining Orange county, which, by some freak of the law-makers here, adds a half dozen townships to its southwestern portion. It is certainly high time for a change in the State Constitution, that the boundaries of a number of the counties may be revised.

Along the western border of the county, expecially in the southwestern portion, and also along the eastern, the lands are of a flatwoods character, a rim of which virtually extends around the county. The soil is mostly fertile and there are numerous knolls, or broken ridges, that supply excellent sites for buildings, groves and cultivated fields, while the lower lands afford nutritious grazing for fine herds of cattle, swine, etc. These opportunities are being improved and the residences of farmers and cattle-men are well scattered over the whole county, especially in the western section.


North of Bartow, in Range XXV, Township 27, the beautiful Lake Region proper commences and extends in an east and southeast direction through Polk to the centre of the eastern portion of Manatee County, which is situated in the southern part of the delightful Central Zone. There is also a group of fine lakes in Range XXIV, Townships 27 to 29. The drainage of the whole eastern part of the county tends to the great Lake Okeechobee, from which the Drainage Company is cutting canals to Gulf and Ocean, thus insuring the drainage of an extensive tract of country.

That which is designated as the Lake Region proper lies to the northeast of Bartow, beautiful sheets of water being here grouped very thickly together. The South Florida Railroad passes through the heart of the lake system, and new towns are springing up as if by magic. The more important thus far are Haines City, Bartow Junction and Winter Haven, which, though of the present year's growth, are developing very rapidly, the chief attractions being the rare beauty and healthful salubrity of the country. The soil, though not as fertile as in the exceptionally fine strips of productive country on either side of Peace River from Bartow to Fort Meade, which is the most desirable that can be found in Florida, is nevertheless well adapted to citrus fruits. Along the margins of the lakes and small streams are many tracts of very fertile land well adapted to the profitable production of all kinds of vegetalbes for market, the numerous sheets of water being a good guarantee of protection against frost. Strawberries, pine-apples, banana, etc., also succeed well in these sheltered localities. Judging from present indications, but a short time will pass before this whole lovely region will be very thickly populated.


Going southeastward from Haines City, we find a high ridge of land several miles in width, with lovely lakes to the east and to the west. This has been so unfavorably situated as regards transportation that almost the entire surface is yet covered with the primeval forest. Settlers are pouring in there, however; railroads will soon follow, and an entire transformation will be wrought in a very few years, while the hardy pioneers will have secured fortunes. Even now a railroad is projected from Haines City to Rosalie, a new and vigorous town on the lake of the same name. Steamers run to this place from Kissimmee, on Lake Tahopekaliga, and past here through the Drainage Company's canals that connect the several lakes with the Caloosahatchie River and the Gulf of Mexico. Those who have traveled through the section, from Lake Hamilton on the north to Lake Arbuckle at the southeast, are enraptured with the beauties of the high rolling country and the many advantages to be secured by the settler. There is little opportunity to obtain homesteads, as all the choicest tracts are already purchased or occupied.

The flat lands between this delightful ridge and the Kissimmee River are excellent for grazing, and when the Drainage Company shall have completed their operations, here will be found extensive and profitable fields of sugar cane, rice, etc. The cane fields at Rosalie are already giving wonderful returns.


Unquestionably Polk County contains a greater variety of soil and scenery than any other section of the State, thus affording something almost sure to suit all tastes and desires, however varied. The diversity of vegetation is also very great, while the cultivatable crops embrace nearly every variety grown by civilized man in both the eastern and western hemispheres. The capabililties of the county are immense and the value of its products can be readily increased at least a thousand-fold by earnest and active intelligence.


The chief source of wealth in the past, and an important industry at the present, is the raising of cattle for market, most of the business and professional men, except the later arrivals, having been "cowboys" in their youth, their herds grazing not only in Polk County, but also far to the southward. This industry is now somewhat depressed in consequence of the closing of the Cuban market, from whence they have drawn large store of gold; but the rapid increase of emigration into Polk County will afford some relief by the increased consumption here.

PONIES are raised in moderate numbers, but the supply falls far short of the demand. Consequently the larger number of horses and mules are imported from other States.

SHEEP are not raised extensively as yet, but have been found to be well, giving excellent and profitale returns.

SWINE here find their paradise, the abundant "mast" furnished by the frequent oaks and the great quantities of esculent roots along the water courses giving them abundant food with little trouble.

POULTRY thrive here as in no other section of the Union. Broods of chickens are hatched every month in the year and grow rapidly, giving abundant returns.


CORN is an important crop and large quantities are raised for home use. Its growth secures to the cultivator more profit to the acre than is realized by the grower in the far West. The average yield is from ten to forty bushels per acre, according to the quality of the land.

FIELD PEASE are an easily-grown and profitable crop, affording a large amount of sustenance for both man and beast. The seeds are especially excellent for poultry and the vines are greedily eaten by cattle.

RICE yields bountifully both upon the uplands and the lowlands. The straw make excellent forage.

SWEET POTATOES are a standard crop and always find a ready market at good prices. The yield varies with the quality of the land, the preparation and the attention given, ranging from one hundred to five hundred bushels per acre.

CASSAVA is also a very desirable and profitable crop, easily raised and should be grown extensively.

SUGAR CANE gives excellent results. Fine fields of cane are quite common and profitable.

COTTON of fine quality has been raised, the soil being adapted to its growth, but other products can be grown with so much more ease that it receives but little attention.

WHEAT, barley, buckwheat and some other grains are but little cultivated, though there seems to be no known reason why they would not do well if planted at the right time and given proper care.

OATS have given excellent results at times, but are mostly grown as a forage crop and fed in the sheaf.

RYE is attracting attention as a soiling crop, and can be grown extensively with profit. Sown in the fall, it will grow all winter, giving a very pleasant appearance to the fields as well as profit to the owner.

THE PEANUT, or Pindar, here finds soil and climatic conditions very favorable and yields large returns.

CHUFAS, a species of ground-nut, are very productive and are excellent for promoting the growth and fattening of swine and poultry, who prize them highly and will help themselves whenever the opportunity offers.

FIELD BEANS are recommended as a sure crop, by high authority, if planted in June.

TOBACCO grows finely, but its culture is not advised, as it is a very exhaustive crop.

EXPERIMENTS should be made carefully and continuously with all known products. Some of the results will be agreeably surprising and profitable.


The natural grasses are so abundant and some of them are so nutritious that but little attention has been given to the cultivated. Crab grass springs up and grows luxuriantly in cultivated fields, and ought to be utilized for hay. A kind of blanket grass makes excellent pasturage. The same is true of smut grass. Bermuda grass grows luxuriantly, and a mixture of this with smut grass would undoubtedly make excellent pasturage. I have also seen fine specimens of red clover growing in a number of places. It might thrive on the firm lands of Polk County. Alfalfa ought to be given a thorough trial throughout the county, as it is a great favorite in California and is winning high esteem in the Southern States. It might be grown in the orange groves, as its roots penetrate the subsoil; hence it would not be open to the objections urged against grasses that are surface feeders. St. Augustine grass has been highly recommended for lawns.

The country seems naturally adapted to grasses, most of which, however, are too wiry when mature for fodder. There is no doubt but that by judicious care and attention good stands of cultivated grasses can be secured, and dairies be made numerous and profitable with as little trouble as in any part of the country. Every family can keep a cow, and there are no long cold winters to necessitate filling large barns with hay. They can be fed profitably with the large variety of green forage and root crops that here grow luxuriantly.


IRISH POTATOES give good returns. They are planted in the fall or winter and dug in the spring.

SWEET CORN is a profitable crop, for which there is a good demand for home use as well as for shipment. Those who desire can have it on their tables from Christmas to the 4th of July.

MELONS, squashes, pumpkins, etc., grow to large size and produce abundantly. In fact, Polk County seems to be the native habitat for vines, as all kinds grow luxuriantly.

CUCUMBERS, beans, tomatoes and cabbage are standard crops for shipment, and give large and profitable returns.

CABBAGE, cauliflower, and the like, find soil and climate especially adapted to their vigorous growth.

BEETS, turnips, carrots, parsnips, radishes, etc., here find favorable and satisfactory conditions, and yield abundantly.

EGG PLANTS, okra, lettuce, etc., do finely.

ONIONS grow to a large size and are of excellent flavor.

PEPPER PLANTS grow to the size of small trees and yield abundantly from year to year, at all seasons, in winter as well as summer. They are ornamental as well as profitable.

HERBS and plants for seasoning, as well as for medicinal uses, yield a supply for all needs with very little care and attentin.

GARDEN VEGETABLES, with hardly an exception, give excellent returns when planted at the proper season. They, as well as other plants, are benefited by watering, in the event of a drouth, which sometimes prevails in April or May.


STRAWBERRIES are a luscious and delightful fruit, as well as profitable. They are peculiarly adapted to the soil and climate of Polk County, and ripe berries can be had every week from December to June. They are always in demand here, but can be shipped North at a time to secure the very highest prices.

THE FIG does well and yields a good amount of pleasant and nutritious fruit.

GRAPES grow wild in the hammocks, and may be cultivated with a good degree of success.

BANANAS grow vigorously and fruit well, the stalks attaining three feet to forty inches in circumference and twenty-five feet in height, with leaves from twenty to twenty-eight inches across and five to six feet in length.

THE GUAVA is a favorite fruit that grows well and fruits abundantly in most localities, but, like the banana and pine-apple, is quite susceptible to the effects of frost.

THE LIME is an important fruit for extensive cultivation, but, like the guava, requires favorable localities as regards exemption from frost. It has been recommended for hedges as well as for fruit.

PINE-APPLES may be profitably grown under the same conditions as the banana and guava, as regards exemption from frost, and will give very profitable returns. If grown in an exposed locality it would pay to give them protection in the event of probably frost, for there is no such thing as a frost line in Florida, though the low latitude of Polk County and the large numbers of lakes to the northward give the main body of the county exceptionably favorable conditions, superior to more northern localities; yet, even here, much depends on the situation, which can only be learned by personal observation and experience.

THE LEMON grows well, and is destined to be a very profitable fruit. It is more hardy than the guava and the lime, but less so than the citron, grape-fruit or orange. The genuine Sicily is the variety preferred.

THE CITRON, of which there are many varieties, has thus far been grown only for ornament, the proper mode of preparation for market being unknown; but that difficulty is about being overcome, and its cultivation will no doubt be very profitable.

THE GRAPE-FRUIT is the favorite for the spring-time, its extreme juiciness and sub-acid flavor making it very palatable and refreshing, as well as healthful.

THE JAPAN PLUM and persimmon are destined to be important fruits, but their culture is yet in its infancy.

THE PEEN-TO and the Honey Peaches will no doubt become standard fruits but attempts at cultivation are very recent.

THE MULBERRY is of quick growth, makes a fine tree and yields an abundance of wholesome fruit.

THE CASTOR BEAN, or Palma Christi, here grows to the size of a tree, and yields abundantly year after year. The making of castor oil promises to become a profitable industry.

EXPERIMENTS are being made with a great variety of desirable fruits, and there is no doubt but that within a few years the list will be greatly extended.

THE ORANGE, however, is the king of all the fruits, the standard of excellence and chief dependence. All other fruits are merely accessories, side issues, at present, though some of them may eventually rival it in profitableness, if not in lasting durability. The fertile soil and delicious climate of Polk County combine to produce the most vigorous and fruitful trees and the most luscious fruit that can be produced in any part of the world, and that, too, with the most ease and rapidity, and at the least expense. This is due to the excellent quality of the soil, it requiring very little, if any, fertilizing, and the very mild and very short winters, thus giving nearly all the year for growth, which are pertinent facts well worthy of consideration. The trees here attain an immense sixe, the older ones yielding from 1,000 to 10,000 each of the golden fruit. There being no destructive freezes here the beautiful and luscious fruit can remain on the trees all winter, if desired, and sold upon the most favorable market.


Directions for the making of a grove of orange or other fruits, or for the cultivation of vegetables or farm crops, the management of poultry, cattle, etc., have no place in a work of this character, the sole aim of which is to show what Polk County is, what has been and may be accomplished there, and the advantages it offers to the immigrant in the way of soil and climate, health and fortune. Instructions as to how work should be done are useless, until one is on the ground, ready to go to work.

The Agricultural Department at Washington has published instructions as to the making of a grove and other matters pertaining to Florida. Rev. T. W. Moore, of Fruit Cove, Fla., has published a standard treatise on orange culture, which, as well as several other agricultural works pertaining to Florida, can be procured of any book-seller or news-dealer.

To get at the true inwardness of a State, and especially of Florida, an acquaintance with its leading newspapers is indispensable. Every one desiring to know of Florida, should, as a first step, send $1.25 to the Times-Union office, at Jacksonville, Fla., C. H. Jones & Brother, publishers, and secure for that sum the Weekly Times, a large folio of thirty-six columns, and Munroe's Annual, an octavo pamphlet of about 300 pages, which contains an immense amount of statistical and other desirable information about Florida. The local papers of the section, in which you think you might be interested, would also be good investments. Their prices are from $1.50 to $2 a year. By getting the Weekly Times you secure not only an excellent family newspaper, but also matters of news and correspondence from all parts of the State, ably edited and well selected. The Dispatch, of Jacksonville, and The Agriculturist, of DeLand, are weekly papers that you will need after you get here to teach you what to grow and the best methods. The Weekly Times also has excellent articles in this line by J. G. Knapp, the experienced agricultural editor.


The tendency of the soil and climate of South Florida seems to be toward the production of fibre and but few years need elapse before the millions of dollars annually sent to the East Indies for fibrous materials can be kept at home to increase the wealth of the country. Jute, hemp and ramie, and a variety of other fibrous plants grow here with great vigor. Even the grasses here tend to fibre. Notably among them is found a plant growing wild in the woods, know as bear grass. It attains a length of three feet, and has a white fibre of wonderful strength. Jute is indigenous to the State, growing wild and becoming a pest or week about the farms, as it springs up perennially. The saw-palmetto, with which thousands of acres are covered, is also a very valuable plant for fibre. From it are made brushes, mattresses, paper, etc.; but it is needless to continue the list. The fibrous productions of Polk County only await utilization by intelligent and enterprising men to develop immense wealth.


The low latitude, the equable temperature, and the absence of destructive freezes, enable those who will to have their yards and gardens filled with flowers throughout the year, while their residences are embowered in beautiful running vines. It also gives profitable opportunity to raise roses and other plants for Northern markets, where they bring excellent prices. There will also be an active home demand for flowers from the thousands of winter visitors. Those who have a taste for plant culture have here the source of a handsome income.

IVEYS, honeysuckles, Spanish goose-berry, cypress and a great variety of other vines thrive wonderfully.


None except those resident here have any idea of the bitter injustice that has been done to Florida, and especially to Polk County, as regards annoying insects and poisonous or dangerous snakes and other reptiles. The facts are that no part of the United States, or of America, in fact, is more free from pests of this character. As regards mosquitoes, they are so few that mosquito nets are unused, and unseen in a large part of the county. The same is true of sand-flies. House-flies, too, are much less abundant than at the North. Fleas breed on hogs, but are not especially annoying after the first year. Roaches are no more common than in other parts of the South, and some places at the North. The quantity depends upon the neatness, or reverse, of the housewife. Gnats are no more troublesome or abundant than in other localities. The same may be said of the varieties of flies and other insects that are found in woods and fields all over the world. There are as few in Polk County as anywhere. Poisonous and other snakes may be dismissed with a word. There are few, very few of them; less probably than in most sections of the Union. 'Gators have been hunted so extensively for their hides and teeth that they are becoming not only scarce, but timid, and keep at a safe distance.


Game always disappears with the advent of civilized man. Polk County affords no exception. Deer, wild turkey, etc., have been plentiful. There are some foxes and squirrels, abundance of rabbits, coon, opossum, etc.; also quail and other game birds. The lakes and streams are well stocked with black bass, catfish, bream, perch, soft-shelled turtle, etc., but people here fish and hunt for the sport, and not as a means of livelihood.


Bees do extremely well in Polk County, and those who have a taste for apiculture can secure quite a revenue from this source. Florida honey is not only equal but superior to that of any other section. In this regard, as was proved at the New Orleans Exposition, even California has to take second place.


That Polk County has the capacity and the requisites for the successful prosecution of any and all the industries common at the North and West, except that of mining, will be self-evident to all who have perused the foregoing pages, besides a number peculiar to the country. It is also highly probably, so much so as to be a matter of almost absolute certainty, that the thousands of active men who are coming hither from all sections will originate many new industries, or adapt old ones to the needs of this section. Here are thousands of opportunities for earnest, clear-headed men to achieve fortunes.


That Polk County has a first-class reputation for excellence of soil has never been denied. In fact, it is credited with the possession of the best and most productive soil in the State. It also has the greatest variety, though the better class predominates. It has high and low, gray and black hammocks, poor and rich pine lands, productive oak lands, and barren scrubs, dwarf pine and black-jack ridges, wire-grass and saw palmetto lands, bay-gall and sand-flats, open prairie and grass ponds, rich bay-heads and cypress swamps and lakes of every conceivable size and variety of beauty. Every taste, desire and requirement can be gratified.


Prices are rapidly advancing, but they are so variable, and depend upon so many conditions, that it is virtually impossible to give any satisfactory idea regarding them. They range from $1.25 to $2,000 per acre, and depend upon quality, location—present and prospective, as regards business centres and railroads—and the views and necessities of the owner. Prices are rapidly changing, but the new price is invariably an advance on the previous price. Every lot cleared, every new house built, every railroad constructed, or new industry started, increases the selling value of all the lands in the neighborhood. Fortunes are being made in lands. Average prices range from $5 to $50 per acre.


One important cause of the rapid growth and development of Polk County, since the South Florida Railroad was constructed through it, is due to its exceptionably favorable climatic conditions. The cheapness of the lands; their unusual fertility; the great variety of productions of which they are capable; the ease of obtaining a livelihood; the unexcelled beauty of the country; the many lovely lakes and numerous running streams; the excellence of the water; the comparative freedom from insect pests and dangerous reptiles; the remarkable healthfulness of the country; the attractiveness of the abundant oak growths, reminding prospectors of more northern States; the kindly social and neighborly character of the people; the surprisingly firm character of the ground in the better portions; the absence of deep sands, insuring good roads and easy travel; all these, and a large number of other reasons that could be adduced, give a great impulse to immigration, and the purchase of land as soon as the facts become known to the outside world; but, thus far, Polk County has made but little show in newspapers, or in the pamphlets of advertising agents. The year and a half since the railroad reached her boundaries, or more properly the half year since the South Florida Railroad penetrated to the centre of the county, to Bartow, its county seat, has not given time for any extensive advertising. It is, however developing very rapidly, because of its intrinsic merits.


Its low latitude, between the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth degrees, and moderate elevation, as well as its numerous modifying and protective bodies of water, insure Polk County against destructive freezes, and give to its vegetation and products a semi-tropical character, as well as long seasons for growth, with very short and very mild winters.

Being not only located in the centre of a peninsula, but also within the region of the trade winds, that blow with unfailing regularity, it is sure of refreshing daily breezes, that both cool and purify the atmosphere, and make stagnant and sultry air absolutely impossible. Being insular between the broad Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, with the intervening spaces filled with balsamic pine forests, the air, as it filtrates through them, becomes heavily charged with their healing and health-giving aroma, in addition to the life-giving ozone from the Ocean, as well as with the perfume of countless flowers, more potent medicines than any physician can give.

The days are shorter and the nights are longer in summer than in sections further north; hence, the earth has less time to become heated and more time to cool in summer than in higher latitudes. In addition to this, during the hot days of summer the evaporation is very rapid from lake and river. Gulf and Ocean, rendering much of the heat latent. The vapor rising, forms clouds which intercept the heat of the sun, shielding earth and man from its calorific rays. The moisture becomes excessive, and it falls in refreshing showers, cooling the atmosphere and preventing dust and drouth, as well as absorbing heat by speedy evaporation. Much of the heat is also dissipated by the breeze from the Ocean and borne across the narrow peninsula, here only a hundred miles wide, to the Gulf. Thus these several causes, and there may be others, combine to make the heat less, as well as the air more pure and strengthening, than at any distance to the north. Therefore, we find that the farther south we go on the Florida peninsula the less the altitude of the thermometer in summer, while the heat really felt is actually several degrees less than indicated. Thus, a really hot day is less exhaustive and more enjoyable than in any other part of the country. People generally do not understand these facts. When they do, South Florida will be a popular summer, as well as winter, resort.

In summer the ocean is cooler than the land, consequently breezes from the ocean, like the trade winds, make excessive heat impossible. Yet these trade winds extend but a short distance beyond the tropic circles, as will be seen by examination of any physical geography. As regards Florida, they are felt regularly only in the southern portion , in South Florida, and the farther south the greater their power. Their effects are also felt more completely on an elevated table-land, or plateau, like Polk County, which reaches its greatest altitude in the wide central strip or ridge that extends through the county from northwest to southeast, giving full scope to the winds and affording excellent natural, and opportunities for artificial, drainage. These facts make a residence in Polk County much more desirable than in the lower and flatter lands, by which this central ridge is surrounded on all sides for many miles. It is also preferable to, and more to be desired, than localities further north, both because of the superior benefit it gets from the trade winds, that give such excellent results in Polk County, purifying the air and mitigating the summer heats until they become very enjoyable, and the comparative absence of frost.

In winter the waters of the Ocean are warmer than the land. Hence, the effect of the breeze from the Ocean is reversed and winds from Ocean or Gulf are warm and enjoyable. These winds also pass over the warm Gulf Stream. It is only the northerly winds and those from the home of storms in the northwest, among the Rocky Mountains, that bring disagreeable cold. But these winds are modified and deflected, bent northeastward, by the prevalent winds from the east and south that sweep over the Gulf Stream's warm waters, which flow around the south end and up the east side of the peninsula.

Hence, though localities to the west, the northwest and the north, may suffer from disagreeable cold and even frost, the favored parts of Polk County are exempt, for several reasons, among which may be mentioned the fact of the lower latitude of Polk, and consequently greater natural warmth; the fact that the cold winds are beate back by the prevailing winds, giving them a direction to the northeast; and, a final important consideration, the beneficial influence of all the lakes in the State to the north of Polk County, as well as the large numbers within her borders, in taking the frosty sting from winter's chilling winds. Any one can see that facts like these are self-evident. The lower the latitude, with the same or a less elevation, the higher the temperature in winter; the warmer and the more constant the winds from the east and the south, the less the cold that can reach the locality from the north, and the greater the number of lakes interposing, the more equable the temperature and the less the variation in the range of the thermometer. In this connection may be properly noted the fact that the days and nights are more nearly of equal length than in any locality at any distance further north. This, as will be readily seen, insures a greater time and amount of sunlight in winter and greater consequent warmth. Hence, we conclude that as regards mildness and equability of temperature, absence of cold, disagreeable winds and frost, with all the consequent advantages to be derived therefrom, Polk County stands without a peer—unequalled.


Not only can Polk County justly claim a more genial, equable and desirable temperature than any other section of the State, greater freedom from insect pests, more varied lands and landscape, a more generally fertile soil, and a soil climate that give opportunity for the profitable production of a great variety of fruits and vegetables than any other section of the State, or of the Union, but is also has a great advantage over all other sections, except a moderate tract of interior country a few miles to the north and to the south of its borders, in the fact that it is situated in the centre of the narrow belt extending across the South Florida peninsula that is exempt from


as is proven by experience, and eveidenced by careful and scientific study of the course which storms always take and the physical conformation of country that shapes the pathway, or route, of all severe storms. Neither cyclones, tornadoes, nor hurricanes, can ever travel over the fair surface of Polk County, leaving devastation and ruin in their track, as is so often the case in the West and Northwest, the North, and occasionally in the South. The scientific reasoning by which this is proven is rather abstruse and extended, and worth of consideration. We have not space for it in this work, as we are dealing only with facts, without extended reasoning as to the cause. The face is patent that no such storm has ever visited this section, and science shows that it cannot. Let these facts be deeply pondered by those who live in those sections of the country where the cyclone, the tornado, the blizzard, the electrical storm, or even the fence-prostrating, chimney-tumbling, roof-lifting equinoctial storms have full sway. The people of Polk County are absolutely ignorant, as regards personal experience here, of the characteristics of a really sever storm. The do not know ho to appreciate even a gale on the coast. One that has experienced "storms as are storms" cannot help smiling at the residents' relation of their experience with, or in, storms that they considered severe. In the writer's four years' experience of South Florida he has not seen, known of, or felt any storm that can begin to be compared in severity with the usual equinoctial storms of the North or West, or with the gales that so often prevail on the eastern coast of any part of America. In this regard, Polk and Orange Counties are predominant. They have no equals anywhere. They are unexcelled, unapproachable, for in them the storm king is shorn of his power. How immense is the sense of security and enjoyment when you feel assured that your home is in a section where your crops will not be destroyed by unruly winds on a rampage; where your fences and barns will not be scattered over your fields, and where your house and loved ones are secure.


At present, the system of common schools supported by the State and a few private schools, comprise the sum of all that is available in the matter of education. Great interest, however, is being awakened in the matter, excellent school buildings are being erected in several parts of the county, the very best of teachers are to be employed, and there is every reason to believe that the educational interests and facilities of Polk County will soon be fully equal to those of any county in the State, or in other parts of the country. The county already has a handsome school fund from the donations fo Jacob Summerlin, which will doubtless be speedily increased.


The Baptists and Methodists have handsome churches and parsonages in several parts of the county, church societies are organizing, and these and other denominations will speedily erect other church edifices and supply them with an able ministry, in addition to the present regular preaching. Well-attended Sunday Schools are organized throughout the county.


At present, saw and planing mills, with wood-working machinery for making pickets, laths, shingles, mouldings, etc., comprise the bulk of the county's manufactories. Bartow has a grist mill and a harness manufacturer. There has been a tannery and large boot and shoe manufactory at Fort Meade. There is also a brick-yard two and a half miles south of Bartow. Polk County offers rare opportunities for the establishment of a great variety of manufactories that would pay a very profitable percentage on the investments. Those who find business dull at the North can here retrieve their fortunes.


General merchandise stores take the lead, being established in all the more important places. The country is settling up rapidly, however; new centres are being established, and there are increasing opportunities for enterprising men with stocks of goods to build up a handsome business. Bartow and Lakeland have especial drug, hardware and some other stores, and the variety of business is rapidly increasing in those and other places. Most of the centres have railroad depots, telegraph and express, as well as post-offices. Hotels are numerous, and charges moderate. Most towns have one or two livery stables. There are, also, public halls and opera houses, skating rinks, millinery stores, soda and ice-cream rooms, billiard parlors, shoemaker's shops, news rooms, barber shops, photograph galleries, boarding houses, insurance and real estate agents, contractors and builders, attorneys, physicians, butchers, grain and feed stores and a variety of other occupations and industries. Last, but not least, Bartow, Lakeland and Fort Meade each have wide-awake newspapers—The Informant, News and Pioneer—that put into print such matters as the respective editors deem of most interest and benefit to the country.


The number of new and beneficial industries that might be established with profit to the proprietor and benefit to the communities can be counted by the tens and the scores. We will note but a few. Enterprising men, by a little reflection, can suggest many that would be likely to return a good income. Blacksmiths are needed in several places. Wagon-makers could find rapid sale for their products, as well as considerable business in the way of repairs. Good boat-builders are needed in the Lake Region. Machinist and repair shops with lathes and other desirable machines and tools would find a rapidly increasing amount of work. A few mills to saw out pickets, with machines to make an improved portable wire and picket fence, could do a lively business from the start; orange boxes and vegetable crates are in demand, and a surprising quanitiy would find a ready market; new furniture is in great demand, and there is plenty of excellent timber for its manufacture; a well managed factory could do a large business. Many articles of domestic use are made of wood. Why not make them here, where woods are in great variety and suitable for nearly every conceivable purpose? Barrels are needed for sugar and syrup; a cooper could find constant employment. The wood-work, at least, of many agricultural and labor-saving implements, might be made here. Factories for the manufacture of the fibre of the saw-palmetto into material for mattresses and upholstery could here find abundance of work and raw material. Mills to reduce the palmetto, bear grass, and other fibrous materials, to pulp for the manufacture of paper and a variety of other articles, could here find unfailing employment. A mill for making oil from the castor bean could develop a profitable industry. Canning factories for the tomatoes, for making guava jelly, etc., will here find an extensive field. Orange wine will be the typical drink of the Floridian; manufactories are in demand. Cassava and arrow-root make excellent start; their cultivation might be stimulated by manufactories. The people of every village need their wood sawed very short for cooking purposes; a portable enging and circular saw could have steady employment. Cement tile and artifical stone are in constant demand; they might be manufactured here and save the expense of shipment. Improved means of "grubbing" land, cutting ditches, etc., are in deman; here is a valuable field for the inventor. South Florida has no book bindery; one is much needed. Paper mills are in demand; plenty of the raw material grows wild. An ice factory is needed, to save the expense of shipment. Wood-working machines of all kinds can find steady employment in working up the great variety of timber. In brief, there is room and opportunity here for nearly every known industrial occupation, and the field awaits men of pluck and enterprise.


Of these promoters of development and necessities of civilization two are already completed to Polk County—the South Florida from Sanford, on Lake Monroe, to Tampa, on the Gulf of Mexico, with a branch from Bartow Junction, seventeen miles, to Bartow; The Florida Southern from Lake City to Lakeland, gives railroad connection with Jacksonville and the whole railroad system of the country. This is to be speedily extended through Polk County to Charlotte Harbor, the date of completion being fixed at January 1, 1886. Work is progressing. The survey runs through Bartow and Fort Meade. The Tavares, Apopka and Gulf Railroad, which connects with the Florida Railway and Navigation Company's system, has been commenced, and sufficient iron contracted for to lay the track to Fort Meade. This road is to be built to Charlotte Harbor, with branches to Kissimmee, the lakes southeast of Bartow, Manatee and Fort Myers, making it a grand trunk line, running north and south through Polk County, near the centre.

Roads chartered are the Tropical, or Peninsular; the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West, which are to run north and south through the county; the Bartow and Tampa; the Indian River and Manatee, from Titusville, Brevard County, via Bartow and Fort Meade, to the mouth of the Manatee River; Fort Meade, Keystone and Walk-in-the-Water Railroad, with a branch from Keystone to Arbuckle River, and the Bartow and DeLeon Springs Railroad. In addition to those already chartered, several others are contemplated, and will be built, doubtless, with but little delay, as the railroad system of Polk County gives great promise of being very intricate and complete.


Briefly noting that Florida came into the possession of the United States in 1821, we will defer consideration of its early history to a future chapter. All South Florida, with the exception of a few seaports, and a considerable portion of the northern part of the Territory, was in the virtual possession of the Indians until the breaking out of the Indian war in 1835. The war ended in 1842, military post having been established about twenty miles apart throughout a large portion of the peninsula. In 1845 Florida was admitted as a State into the Union. In 1852 Fort Meade was occupied by a garrison of United State troops, but the whole country was a wilderness. About this time settlers, and especially cattlemen, began to settle on the fertile lands and pasture their cattle on the luxuriant ranges. It was then a part of Hillsboro' county.

In 1855 another Indian war broke out, but was ended in 1858 by the emigration of most of the Indians to beyond the Mississippi, the General Government paying $250 in gold for each warrior, and a less amount for the squaws and pappooses.

In 1859 Polk County was formed by a division of Hillsboro' County.

In 1861 the Florida Legislature passed an Act of Secession, and cast her lot with the Southern Confederacy, and even the slow development of the county virtually ceased.

In 1865 the Act of Secession was repealed, the war having ended, and a new Constitution was framed and adopted by the State; but time was required to recuperate from the effects of the war before there could be substantial progress.

Efforts had been made since the organization of the county, in 1859, but without success, until Jacob Summerlin, in 1866, donated forty acres of land—the present site of the business portion of Bartow—to the county, for school purposes and a county site. He also gave twenty acres each to the Baptist and Methodist religious organizations at the same place, then known as Pease Creek. A courthouse, hotel, stores and several other buildings were built that year.

Time passes on; the population slowly increased, a few orange trees are set about the scattered residences; corn, pease, sugar-can, cotton and a few vegetables are raised, but the chief wealth of the county is in the numerous herds of cattle that feed upon the luxuriant ranges of Polk, Manatee and Monroe Counties, and are exchanged for Spanish gold, the cattle being shipped from Punta Rassa to Havana. Tampa, forty-five miles to the west, was the entreport and chief centre of trade, but Bartow and Fort Meade each had a couple of stores that did a heavy business.

The northern and eastern part of the State, accessible from the St. Johns River, had made good headway in its development. The South Florida Railroad, the first in South Florida, had been built to Orlando in 1880, and opened to Kissimmee in 1882, and new settlers were pouring in by hundreds, and prospectors by thousands, but Polk County was shut out from the activities of other parts of the country because of her lack of means and ways of transportation. There was a rough, unabridged wagon road forty-five miles to Tampa, and a trail through the woods, seventy miles to Orlando. There was no sale for fruit or for farm produce, except corn, because fo the difficulty and expense of getting them to market. There were few immigrants because of this same lack of transportation facilities.

The more clear-headed and energetic of the inhabitants, feeling assured that the sterling virtues of the climate and soil of Polk County would eventually be made accessible, and be in great demand, very wisely went to planting groves. Though shut out from the busy, bustling outside world, the people were self-sustaining, happy and contented. Talk of railroads was rife, and the survey of the South Flroida Railroad was made from Kissimmee to Tampa, and its construction commenced. Prospective settlers and the agents of capitalists swarmed over Polk County, and many thousands of acres of land were purchaed of the General Government and of the State. Hamilton Disston, who had purchased four million acres of the State, located large tracts in this county, while thousands of acres were reserved for chartered railroads.

In 1882, land was held at very low prices at Bartow and throughout the county. In 1883, it began to advance. The survey railroad was building through Polk County, about fourteen miles north of Bartow. In 1884, it was open to the public. A branch railroad was surveyed to Bartow. The real building of the town had hardly commenced in 1883. In 1884 it was earnestly prosecuted. Things began to boom. January, 1885, the branch road was opened by an excursion. The people of Polk County welcomed the guests with a magnificent barbecue. So abundant was the repast that at least seven times seven baskets of fragments must have remained. There was music by the Bartow brass band, a procession, speeches of welcome, music, a rare feast, excellent horseback riding by ladies and gentlemen, and the day closed with a dance at the leading hotel and a performance at the new opera-house. The visitors were agreeably surprised by the numbers of new buildings and the many unexpected evidences of progress. Polk County had begun her development, and she commenced strong. During the year past, the pine woods have been felled, and several vigorous new towns have sprung into being along the line of the railroad—Lakeland, Acton, Auburndale, Sanitaria, Bartow Junction, Haines City, Winter Haven. Bartow has increased prodiguously, and Fort Meade, always an important centre of trade, is making ready for wonderful strides when the railroad, or railroads, reaches there the coming season. Other centres are also preparing for rapid development.

Thus is stated, as clearly and as briefly as possible, the Polk County of the past and of the present. Is any further explanation needed of the fact that she is not as densely populated as the one with which she has the most points of similarity—Orange County? Polk had her first railroad last year; her branch to the county seat this year. Orange has had her railroad to her county seat for five years. The development of Polk County in the next five years, judging from present indications, will greatly surpass anything that has been seen in Florida. It has the soil, it has the climate, it has the variety of configuration of land and landscape, it has the locations for homes, it has the opportunities and advantages for self-support, for wealth and for fortunes, that is without a peer in this broad land. It is unequalled. She is not laggard in her progressive speed. She has started on the race of development with the strength of a giant and the vigor and agility of an athlete.


Can anything be said that will enhance or show more clearly the solid, actual prospects of so healthful, so beautiful and so fertile, so attractive and desirable a county as that of Polk—a section where it is a delight to live, where life is easily sustained and where corroding care has no place?

Can we picture the near future? A dense population, each family occupying from one to five or ten acres for the home lot, which is covered with fruit trees, prominent among which is the beautiful ever-green orange tree, laden with its luscious and wealth-producing golden fruit. The houses are embowered in running vines and the yard is filled with beautiful shrubs and entrancing flowers, that grow and bloom the livelong year. Near the kitchen is a plat devoted to the vegetables, which are supplied fresh to the table every day in the year. Also, we see a strawberry bed laden with delicious fruit from December to June. There are also a great variety of fruits, for these healthful products of Nature's alchemy form a pleasant portion of the daily sustenance. There are grapes and figs, plums and peaches, varied fruits and great store of berries. But we will not enumerate; there is profusion and abundance—everything that may delight the taste or satisfy the appetite. The house is neatly built and elegantly furnished. Abundance of windows and doors, wide halls and broad verandas, giving free access to the balmy air, enable the happy owner to banish exhaustive care and enjoy life to the full in the most delicious and healthful climate that the world affords, where Nature clothes the earth in the most entrancing garments of beauty.

The near future will see active social centres every two to four miles, with post-office, telegraph, telephone, express, and other desirable offices; with church, school, stores, etc., and most likely a railway depot. Not only will trains be run on the intricate net-work of steel roads, but the railroad tricycle, propelled by foot or by electricity, will give individuals and families opportunity to go where and when they will on the regular lines, or on roads built for the purpose.

The chief industries will be the growing of numerous varieties of fruits and vegetables for export to less favored sections, the entertainement of the thousands of visitors that will flock here at all seasons of the year, and for whom the most elegant of accommodations and the greatest variety of means of enjoyment will be provided. Thousands of people will find profitable occupation in the great variety of industries necessary to supply the needs, wants and desires of the great masses of highly civilized people that will here make their homes. Educational institutions of a high order will be numerous, as the genial and healthful climate will be found more favorable to study than that of any other section. Hence, knowledge will increase.


  • 1. The most delicious climate in the known worlk, with exemption from destructive frosts and freezes.

  • 2. The most healthful section, as well as a varied, beautiful and productive country.

  • 3. Fertile lands especially suited to the growth of citrus and other semi-tropical, as well as many small fruits, grains, etc., and the whole range of vegetables, all of which yield abundant and profitable returns.

  • 4. Opportunity to work every day of the year, if desired, and that, too, more comfortably than in any other section, the summers bring cooler and the winters warmer than in other places.

  • 5. No long, cold, stormy winters to exhaust the products of the summer's industry, but instead, bountiful harvests every month in the year.

  • 6. The best possible opportunities to easily secure not only a livelihood, but also a competence or a fortune.

  • 7. Choice lands that can be secured at very moderate prices, as compared with their prospective value in the near future.

  • 8. Good sociey; social centres with schools, churches, halls, stores, etc., and a rapidly increasing immigration of the most intelligent, cultured, earnest, energetic, temperate and law-abiding class of citizens that the whole country affords.

  • 9. Ready means of communication by telegraph and railroad with all parts of the world, and rapidly increasing transportation facilities throughout the length and breadth of the county.

  • 10. Temperate, orderly, progressive, social society, rapidly increasing educational and religious facilities, low taxes and the best possible indication of a dense population and abundant wealth.

  • 11. A country comparatively free from insect pests, poisionous and dangerous reptiles and other common sources of annoyances.

  • 12. Polk County is a section where the diseases are few and mild, yielding readily to proper treatment; where the death-rate is very light, and old age is the most fatal affection; where typhoid and scarlett fevers, pneumonia and phthisis, prevalent in other parts of the world, are very rare; where diphtheria, yellow fever, hydrophobia and sun-stroke are unknown; where health and wealth, joy and prosperity abound; where pleasures are many and real discomforts are but few; where labor, energy and intelligent enterprise secure abundant rewards; where new industries may be established with a certainty of profitable returns; where children thrive and grow strong and vigorous, untouched by croup, diphtheria, scarlet fever, and other virulent diseases, that whelm with grief and sorrow so many families in other parts of the country; in brief, the great attractions of Polk County are in the fact that it is a land of balmy breezes, genial sunshine and active health, of delicious joys and increasing wealth.


    People of every degree, the rich and the poor, the educated and the illiterate, even the rheumatically lame, and the constitutionally lazy are invited to make their homes in Polk County, provided, always, that they are neither rascals, loafers, nor parasites. All such are advised to go to hades or sheol at once without taking the trouble to come to Polk County, as they would find themselves on the wrong road.

    The rich can here increase their fortunes; the poor can secure competence and independence; the rheumatic will be healed; also, the consumptive, if not in the later stages, and the constitutionally lazy will find that the climate infuses so much life and healthful energy that even he will become ashamed of himself and be inspired with an ambition and earnest desire to also have a productive grove and a beautiful home.

    Literary people will here find a very congenial field, for here they can meet with the intelligent, the educated and the cultured from all sections. Here they will find many phases of character that they can study with profit. They will also here find great variety. Abiding pleasantly in some of the many lovely locations that Polk County affords, they can store their minds with facts from varied sources. For exercise they have their choice of charming walks, rowing, or sailing on the beautiful lakes; they can hunt or fish for occasional recreation, or they can attend the numerous picnics and thus divert their minds. Are they lovers of botany, ornithology, ichthiology, or any of the ologies of natural science, they will here find an extensive and wonderfully interesting field. Or, are they of a yet more practical turn of mind, they can find abundant needful exercise for the body in the care of a charming grove, or a yard of lovely flowers, or a garden of toothsome vegetables, though devoting the bulk of their time to their literary labor in this genial climate.

    [Source: Homeland; a description of the climate, productions, resources, topography, soil, opportunities, attractions, advantages, development and general characteristics of Polk County, Florida. By Sherman Adams, 1885.; Tigner, Tatum & Company, Bartow, Florida. Transcribed by Sheila Pitts Massie, Coordinator.]

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