150 Years and Counting – Happy Birthday Polk County Florida

As residents of Polk County FL kick-off celebrating its sesquicentennial this Saturday February 12, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Polk County Historical Museum in Bartow FL, I’m always intrigued by the history of this beautiful county and it’s people simply because I came from a small town that just celebrated 1000 years (millennial).  This past weekend, Lakeland’s local newspaper The Ledger provided it’s subscribers with an insert about 150 Years in Polk.

As I read through this insert, it struck me how far Polk County has come from.  Starting from a population of 3,169 when census first showed after it became a county in 1870 to today with an estimated over one-half a million folks living in Polk County.  Polk County is a very diverse county from where it once was cattle, citrus and phosphate to now where distribution, manufacturing, retail, restaurants, colleges, super markets, medical, technology and tourism play an important role in our economy.
More and more folks are interested in the history of where they come from, its ancestors, where they lived, its city and county.  I only lived in Polk County for over seventeen years but history reminds me to be grounded of where I came from, reflect on the good and the bad. History reminds me that we don’t always agree and that we can set our differences aside, have respect for one another. History arms me with perseverance, respect and reflection. More importantly history reminds me of my dreams and hope for my future and the future of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What about you?
Come and help celebrate Polk County 150
Polk County has events going on throughout the year, please visit www.polkproud150.com for more information.
My favorite places to visit while you are in Polk County and celebrate with us:

Lakeland’s Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In – Move over Tampa and Orlando airports. For one week, Lakeland’s Linder Airport has aviation at it’s best as it becomes the busiest airport in North America.  This event has been staged since 1974 on 850 acre footprint of the Lakeland Linder Airport engaging all levels of aviation enthusiast, professional pilots, aviation students and kids of dreaming to fly an airplane, as well as folks who design, build and fly their own airplane. It is also known as the Spring Break for pilots here in the U.S. and around the world.


First Fridays – The name says it all. First Friday is held on the first Friday of every month in downtown Lakeland near and around Munn Park from 6 p.m to 9 p.m.  Each month the Downtown Lakeland Partnership comes up with a different theme to enjoy.  Filled with activities for the whole family to enjoy from face painting,  arts and crafts, live music, and the classic car show. Downtown shops and restaurants stay open late for your enjoyment.


Mayfaire-by-the-Lake at Lake Morton – What’s not to love about this event that is held every Mother’s Day weekend in front of the Lakeland’s Public Library’s Lawn. The festival kicks off with Mayfaire Classic 5k race and fireworks at 9 p.m. at the neighboring Lake Mirror.  Artists showing off their crafts which includes everything from jewelry, paintings, sculptures and much more for show and sale that almost encompasses around Lake Morton. A family event indeed with an art tent to let your child’s imagination and creativity come to live. A kids zone for children of all abilities to enjoy in the Polk Museum of Art’s parking lot. Vendors will have a variety of assortment of drinks from water, sodas, smoothies, to funnel cakes, kettle corn and much more. Live entertainment by local musicians and dancers. This event offers free parking for all and shuttles

Spring Training with Detroit Tigers – Lakeland has been host to the Detroit Tigers since 1934 for Major League’s Baseball spring training and has been recognized the longest in spring training history. Since 1966 games hosted by Detroit Tigers are played at Joker Marchant Stadium, which was recently renovated in 2004 and has a capacity of 8,500. During game day, the gates open approximately two hours before first pitch.  The Mediterranean style club house is down the right field line where MLB players will sign autographs for fans in the box seats between and their dugout before and after the game.


Bok Tower in Lake Wales was envisioned by Edward W Bok and his wife Mary Louise Curtis Bok. Architect Milton Medary and sculptor Lee Lawrie perfected unity and symbolism in the design of the 205 foot neo-Gothic and art deco singing tower. BokTower with its 60-bell carillon sits on 250 acres that includes a serene botanical gardens with its tranquil resting places, picturesque vistas and expansive splashes of create a very peaceful setting. President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the Gardens in Lake Wales on February 1, 1929 which Edward Bok had made as gift for visitation by the American people in appreciation for the opportunity they had given him. Bok Tower Gardens is open every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Polk County Historical Museum is located in the Old Polk County Courthouse located in downtown Bartow.  Exhibits and programs continue and grow as new information and artifacts become available. It’s collection includes natural and cultural objects, such as fossils, hand-made personal items, clothing, art, tools, agricultural equipment, military items and much more that are related to Polk County and the greater Central Florida region.

Leave A Comment...

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>