LIBRARY KORi A STATE UNIVERSFT? TALLAHASSEE. FLORIDA
There is more difficulty in describing the soil and climate of Florida than of any other known section, because it is peculiar to itself. And as Polk county is but an intensified type of Florida's peculiarities it is even more difficult to describe, so as to convey a rational idea to those who have never seen the State.
This county was formed from portions of Hillsborough, Orange and Sumter counties by an act of the Legislature in-1859, but the war broke out soon after and there was really no full organization until about 1867. The population in 1870was 3,169, and in 1880, according to the United States census, it was 3,156, composed chiefly of cattle men and their families and a few farmers who had as soldiers in the Indian wars, or as cow hunters, learned the value of the lands. The taxable values in 1880 were $309,257; the cattle and stock being valued at $156,234. The lands assessed were only 29,022 acres, while the area of the county is about 2,060 square miles, or 1,318,400 acres.
The county lies on the 28th parallel of north latitude, and is nearly equally divided by it, having four tiers of townships on each side of the line; but those south extend farther east than those on the north, and the 32d parallel of longitude runs only a few miles east of the west line.
It is bounded west by Hernando and Hillsborough counties, north by Orange and Sumter, east by Brevardthe Kissimmee river being the lineand south by Manatee county, and embraces nearly fifty-six townships. Its greatest elevation above sea level is said to be 235 feet, and the average about 150 feet. Of its surface about one-fifth is water, as shown by the streams and lakes, and the rest is divided into several classes of land, consisting of prairies, flat-woods, bay-heads, high and low hammocks, pine lands and sand hills.
I '0* streams.
The principal streams are Peace river, which runs from the lake region southwardly through the center of the county, and the Kissimmee river, which forms the east boundary line. Peace river is navigable for- some twenty miles from its mouth, and could be made navigable if desirable to Fort Meade in Polk county by a Judicious expenditure of money and efTort. The Kissimmee is navigable from Kissimmee lake to Lake Okeechobee, into which it flows. There are many creeks and branches scattered over the county tributary to the rivers named and to the Hillsborough and Alafia rivers.
We have not sufficient data to give a correct list of the lakes in the county, as many of them are not even named. They are very numerous, and some of them are quite large, having a coast line of thirty or more miles. Others are small, only covering a few acres, but all filled with pellucid waters and well stocked
With fish of various kinds, and occasionally a saurian of fine proportions. In the lake region proper, which lies centrally in the county, and Just north of the 28th degree of north latitude, the majority of the lakes are surrounded by high, dry pine lands with a sharp incline to the water's edge in many places, where elevations for building can be found from 20 to 60 feet above the lake level, back from which stretches a wide acreage for fruits and farming of land that is not only easily brought under cultivation, but also is sufficiently productive to ensure the settler a comfortable support while his orange greve and other fruits are being brought int
The county has a school board and a superintendent of schools, who have jurisdiction of all school matters, and together are, for all necesBary purposes, a body politic, with power to hold or sell land for school purposes^ to erect school buildings, as well as all authority over teachers, trustees and pupils." As at present administered, the county and school government is very efficient and economical.
The politics of the county are called Democratic, but they savor much of i&- t dependence; the party discipline (if it exists) rests very lightly Upott the masses. A marked feature of the political situation is perfect freedom of thought and speech, and political preference as to party 1b permitted to all without any ostracism or prejudice.
soil and timber.
As already indicated the soil in Polk county varies very materially in even small districts of territory, but the whole county has these variations, and there are good lands in all sections.
The low hammock, when not too wet, is the best for general farming, and large orops of corn, sugar-cane, oats, peas, potatoes and all kinds of> vegetables, can be made in abundance, the average being nearly if not quite equal to any State in the Union, a series of years and seasons being considered, as well as the need of such products. In other words, a farmer using one horse and the usual number of stock kept by a one-plow farm, can raise more of surplus than the average in states North and West.
The high hammock lands make good crops for a series of years, but seem to wear or tire earlier than low hammock, but they will do for oranges and general fruit culture, which the lowlands will not.
The gfcoice pine lands are generally the favorite soils with old settlers because.
by a little fertilizing by cowpenning they can be made to produce astonishing crops, and they are easily cleared and brought into cultivation, and rather improve by Judicious cultivation than deteriorate. They are easy of cultivation, and are a warmer soil than the hammocks. Forty bushels of corn, or 3,000 pounds of sugar, or 400 bushels of sweet potatoes to the acre, is a possible crop on good pine land well cowpenned every year for a few years, and well cultivated all the time.
The flatwoods have never been fairly tried, but they would doubtless pay in grasses or rice, and also in most vegetable crops.
The poor pine lands, classed as such to distinguish them from choice pine or sand hill lands, are valuable for oranges and all the citrus family, but need help; if well fertilized, they will produce the best of fruits, vegetables and sugar, and do well for general farm crops.
The timber on all Florida lands is principally yellow pine; but in the hammocks water oak, live oak, hickory, wahoo, magnolia, sweet gum and ash are found, while in and around the swamps bay and cypress are abundant. There is also a good deal of willow oak and black Jack in places on the high poor pine lands. The pine and cypress is the really valuable timber for all purposes, being generally used for building houses, wagons, furniture, and for agricultural implements, as well as for firewood and fence rails.
climate and seasons.
The county is in a climate where almost perpetual summer reigns. Sometimes a period of three to five years passes without the formation of ice, or such cold as kills the tenderest vegetation. But the temperature is so modified by the water and air currents that the range of the thermometer shows the most agreeable conditions for health and comfort of any part of America. The spring temperature ranges from 60 to 78 degrees. In summer it never runs above 97, with an average midday temperature of about 86, while the nights average about 20 degrees colder than the days,and consequently are conducive to sound and healthful slumbers. Sunstrokes are absolutely unknown. During the winter months we find here a temperature which usually ranges from 45 to 75 degrees, but occasionally a cold spell" comes, ice forms in shallow vessels as thick as window glass and hoary frost covers the ground and nips the tender plants as if to show the mythical and much discussed
is a peripatetic fraud that has no positive or definable position. At such times the laid aside sealskin sacque and overcoat are comfortable companions, and small fires are enjoyed evenings and riiBrnings.
There is frequently a dry season in May that affects crops and gardens very seriously unless irrigation can be resorted to; but by planting very early or quite late the worst effects are avoided.
In June, and from that time until middle or last of September in each year there is what is called the rainy season. Bain falls nearly every day in a genuine rainy season, and the lakes and streams rise considerably.
In that one word is garnered the richest treasure of Florida, and in Polk county there is every reason for Justly claiming precedence over any other
section. Its central location on the peninsula, the fact that It drains to every point of the compass, coupled with the well settled matter of history that here were the homes and villages of the chiefs and warriors of the savage Seminoles, where, after the trials of war and the pleasures of the chase, they came to rest and amuse themselves, fully establish this claim. In these rich hammocks they planted their corn or grazed their cattle and ponies, planted their sugarcane and yams, and rested whenever rest was their desire, for no chills, no fever, no malaria hauled them here.
,7 \ produce.
under this heading there is such a variety of things to be mentioned that one hardly knows where to begin. The following is a list of the crops, fruits, vegetables and root crops we have seen growing in the county, most of which, we believe can be raised to a reasonable degree of perfection, many of them, however, not a profitable crop as compared with others. Corn, oats, rye, pumpkins, squashes, beans in variety (the snap and lima runners being very prolific), peas (in variety), potatoes, beets, carrots, onions, parsnips, egg plant, cucumbers, cantaloupes, water melons, cabbages, collards, cauliflower, kohl rabi, ruta bagas, turnips, pepper, okra, tomatoes, lettuce, salsify, spinach, mustard, sorghum, sugar-cane, cassava, arrow root, ginger, chufas, pinders or ground peas, goobers, grass nuts, pie melon, etc. Of other plants and herbs we may mention sage, sweet marjoram, thyme, tea plants, castor bean and benne. Of fruits we recall the orange, sweet, bitter sweet and sour; lemons, limes, grapes, peaches, LeConte and avocado pears, tiger apples, sugar apples, citron, shaddocks, grape fruits, mangoes, Japan plums, bananas, pineapples, guavas, plums, pomegranates, flgs, olives and pecans.
progress of polk county.
Owing to lack of transportation and means of communication there was no development of this county until 1881. At that time there were only three villages in the county, Bartow, the county seat, Fort Meade and Medulla, and ands of choice quality in the present limits of each, were open to homestead or pre-emption entry. The beautiful and growing towns of Lakeland, Auburndale, Winter Haven, Acton, Homeland and Haines City were wild woods over which deer, turkeys and other game roamed in the broad light of day without hinderance. The fact that Lakeland, Auburndale and Winter Haven were a few weeks ago competitors with other points outside the county for the location of a college, when Winter Haven, the youngest of the three, bid $60,000 in cash for it, will give a better idea of progress than anything else that can be said.
In June, 1881, the Informant was started at Bartow, and by making known the advantages of Folk county, soon began to bring in prospectors, until in 1884, the South Florida Railroad came, bringing settlers by scores.
Since then the tide has been constant and the growth rapid and healthy, until at the beginning of 1887 our population has passed 12,000; our taxable values have risen to $3,890,680, and our assessed lands to 826,393 acres. Every acre of good land is taken up in the whole county unless it be in the eastern portion where some small spots may have been overlooked.
Lands entered or pre-empted as late as 1881 and 1882 in and around our growing towns have risen in value without any improvements to as high as $160 per
acre, While rich lands, well out in the country, then worth only Government price* are selling for $10 to $50 per acre, though really worth more. Yet it may he said of Polk county more truly than of any other county in the State, that this increase in wealth and population is due to the actual advantages of soil, climate and health.
The growth has been through men of small means; frequently through men without means. No syndicates of capitalists have pushed our claims, or made great improvements such as hotels and winter resorts, but we have stood on merit alone, until we have reached the peerage of our more fortunate neighbors, and many citizens and investors have grown rich through foresight rather than effort.
The moral and educational advancement has kept pace with our financial progress, and there is not anywhere to be found a more desirable class of people to settle amongst than in Polk county.
To set forth the advantages of Polk county with such accuracy of description, as would enable people abroad to form a correct idea of it would be impossible; but a few examples of what has been done with but little capital will amply show what can be done with intelligent effort and capital. There are groves in Polk county that will pay this year $500 per acre, on land which was in the woods ten years ago, unmarked by the axe or plow, and there are thousands of acres in the county fully capable of like results that can be bought cheap, its capabilities being considered.
It is important to remember that Polk county is the last or most southern body of high, dry land in the State, and that the most beautiful lake region in the known world is in the center of it, gradually inclining to every point of the compass, and forming, as it were, the apex of the water shed of the peninsula.
Bartow, the county seat of Polk county, has within the past two years grown from a small settlement into a thriving town of dignified proportions. It had its beginning many years ago, as some half a dozen old buildings within its limits testify, but its present dimensions have been assumed mainly within the last two years, and that without the aid of flowery advertising or the fostering care of great land companies. The forest has been cleared away and the town built by those who were induced to believe from its rich surrounding country and healthful climate that they would flnd^in it good openings for business for themselves and pleasant homes for their families. Such has been the development of Bartow within this short period that evidences of wealth and progress are seen on every side. Handsome residences and cozy cottages dot the gently rolling plain over which the town is spread, with ample space between for thousands of newcomers.
Bartow is the Southern terminus of the Bartow branch of the South Florida Bailroad and of the Pemberton Ferry branch of the same road; it is also the Northern terminus of the Charlotte Harbor division of the Florida Southern Railway. It is thus directly linked with the East Florida system and Western Peninsula system of railroads, and the best commercial port on the Gulf coast. In addition to these a charter has Just been secured for the extension of the
Florida Railway and Navigation Company's line from Plant City to Bartow, which" it is confidently expected will be built within the next six months. This will give Bartow another Northern outlet with the advantages of strong competition in rates. Bartow's growth has been gradual and healthy, and while both business houses and residences have generally been leased before the workmen were out of them, the supply has nearly at all times kept pace with the demand. This steady and unostentatious growth has saved it from an evil, known in Florida as the "die back," a condition where capital invested in property at fictitious values.must lie-idle and wait for further development. Bartow has about twenty-five business houses representing all of the ordinary lines of business, and employing a capital of from a few hundred to twenty thousand dollars each. A failure is unknown in its business circles. It has a well organized board of trade Which looks after its commercial interests; a Young Men's Christian Association, with a comfortable and tastily furnished suite of rooms, in which arakept on file the leading periodicals of the day, and an opera house far above the Average to be found in similar towns throughout the country. The population of Bartow has reached about two thousand souls. Four years ago it numbered one hundred, and twejve months ago a little over a thousand inhabitants. Its material progress hasibeen little less remarkable. In 1884 its taxable property was assessed at $160,000; in 1885 at j$314,000, and in 1886 at $448,000.
soil and climate.
. The soil in, Bartow and vicinity is a dark spongy loam, fertile and highly productive^-and sq kind-to the orange that without the aid of fertilizers and with comparatively little labor the most luxuriant growth -and finest fruitage .may be obtained. The ease with which vegetables are grown on the rich lands around Bartow is bound to make it one of the leading truck shipping centers in South Florida. From these fertile lands may be drawn the answer to the all important query of the man of small means, "How shall I earn a living while my grove is coming into bearing?" There is no doubt that in this section of PoJ,k county a handsome support may be realized from vegetables and field crops grown among the orange trees with but little more labor than it requires to care for the grove. This is a fact that every season demonstrates. All that we need say of its climate is that it is so genial that even during the unprecedented freeze of January, 1886, orange trees did not shed their leaves and bore a full crop of fruit the succeeding peason.
public roads and livery.
The drives around Bartow are excellent. There are no sand hills to plow through, but good solid roads upon the firm surface of which the clatter of hoofs may be, heard from a distance. Here the pleasure seeker and the prospector may see a beautiful country without feeling that he is making,life a burden to his faithful team. Bartow's livery is second to none in the State except perhaps that of Jacksonville. So with hard roads and fine livery there is a treat in store for all who may visit Bartow either prospecting or pleasure seeking.
topography and geographical position.
The town is" located near the center of the high, rolling plateau known as the "back bone of Florida, a section the drainage of which is perfect, and from the base of which the streams flow in every direction. There are a number of
has no underlying strata of rotten limestone, nor the severe malarial troubles which prevail wherever it is found.
Those who cannot be induced to believe that the summer climate of South Florida is tolerable on account of low latitude may draw comfort from the fact that through the enterprise of a Michigan man Bartow is brought very near to the ice fields of the North. From the Crystal Ice Works, located in the suburbs of the town, that indispensable article will be furnished at small cost.
The Polk County Bank, backed by abundant capital, fills Bartow's banking wants. The gentlemen in charge here are from Rochester, N. Y. The bank is doing a good business, and those in charge are gentlemen of high business standing.
While it is always the case that society in a formative state is rough and uncouth, yet it is a fact that is generally remarked on that Florida is filling up with the best people in the country. Driven here by ill health or seeking better fields for the investment of capital, the man of wealth, education and refinement comes to Florida along with the small farmer, mechanic and day laborer.
The hotel accommodations of Bartow are ample. There are five hotels with boarding houses innumerable. While none of these hotels rank as strictly first-class, some of them are well kept. There is no finer opening, however, in the State for the investment of capital than to put it into a first-class hotel at Bartow.
town property and prices.
The Incorporators of Bartow were liberal in allowing it plenty of territory oyer which to spread. The corporate limits extend about a mile in every direction from the court house, and the town in the main is admirably laid out in square blocks of one and four acres in area. There is much intervening space between the improvements on account of thiB scattered condition. This, while it adds nothing to the appearance of the place, has the effect of equalizing the value of property and preventing it in any particularly favored locality from rising to fictitious values, while that equally well located depreciates. The most desirable property is thus held within reasonable bounds, while the less desirable brings its value. The residence lots of Bartow cannot be surpassed for attractiveness and variety. They are high and rolling, and many of them have on them a beautiful growth of evergreen oaks in addition to the usual growth of pine. Residence lots may be had at from $50 to $500 each; business lots from $500 to $2,000 each.
school facilities. This is a question that Bartow has heretofore had to meet with shame, but this greatest of wants is soon to be supplied. The trustees of the Summerlin Institute have on hand a fund of upwards of $30,000 for school purposes and are now receiving bids for the erection at Bartow of a $20,000 school building. Within the next six months there will be in operation at Bartow a high order of graded school and the building in which it is taught will he an ornament to the place.
It is but fair to assume that Bartow has scarcely entered upon its career of progress. With a town that from nothing has grown in a few months to a veritable little etty furnishing to the resident and visitor almost all the comforts and luxuries of an ancient civilization; a soil that with the touch of industry can be made to bloom and blossom like the rose; a climate so kind and genial that fire in winter is rarely a necessity, and yet so tempered by the ocean breezes as to be tolerable In midsummer; with roads that are at once a comfort and a luxury to the tourist and pleasure seeker; with an almost entire absence of insect pests, and with a geographical and topographical position that is bound to make it the chief commercial and railroad center in this section, and the distributing point for South Florida; with good schools and churches, an abundant and pure water supply, and above all with a live, active and enterprising people, who can forecast the future of Bartow?
Haskel, Polk county, Fla., is on the Pemberton Ferry Branch of the South Florida Railroad, six miles from Bartow, the county seat, and eight miles from Lakeland. The town site and depot are located on very pretty high, rolling pine land, commanding a delightful and comprehensive view of the vicinity surrounding. Its elevation is 185 feet above the ocean, and for this reason is as healthful a location for Florida homes as can be found in the State. There is about Haskell a larger unbroken body of good htgh pine and hammock land than about any other station in South Florida, there being in the Immediate vicinity about 10,000 acres of excellent orange and vegetable land.
By referring to the map the reader will notice that this station is located Just west of Lake Hancock about one mile. This is the largest lake in this section of the county, being about five miles long and four miles wide, making an expanse of water of twenty square miles. This great lake has many points of advantage to the settler and is a great boon to this section of country. Its waters abound in fish, and the festive alligator abides in its depths. The rich hammocks on its borders abound in game, among which are deer, wild turkey, quail and squirrel. The hammock lands hereabouts are very rich and fertile and comprise several hundred acres.
It is a fact beyond dispute or question that this section comprises the richest large body of land in Polk county, and as Polk county claims title to the best land in the State, and as we think Justly, it follows as a fair deduction that this particular section is the best and richest large body of orange and vegetable land in the State of Florida. This may appear a strong claim, but it is made unqualifiedly, frankly and openly. Some portion of the State is entitled to make this claim and this is the portion located about Lake Hancock and near Haskell.
The influence of such a vast expanse of fresh water as Lake Hancock Is of great value and importance to the grower of vegetables or of the citrus family. During the heavy frosts of recent years and the great freeze of January, 1886, no serious Injury occurred to orange or lemon trees for a mile away. These facts
speak volumes in favor of lake protection and the importance of selecting lands for cultivation which have the advantages of such protection, for it adds greatly to their value. Lemon trees are. more tender than orange trees and frequently are killed to the ground when the orange tree survives. In further proof of the protection afforded by Lake Hancock a lemon tree may be mentioned thirty .years old, in the old Hambleton grove, three-quarters of a mile southwest of- the lake, which is of immense.size and as vigorous as ever.
hammock and pine lands.
We do not wish to enter into a discussion here of the relative value of hammock and. pine lands for orange growing, but the facts remain, that,hammock lands are indispensable for strawberries, vegetables and farm products. It is not disputed that hammock land will raise an orange tree faster and cheaper than pine land. It requires no fertilizer for many years, as for centuries the deposit of vegetable matter from its hard wood trees has made a vegetable humus which has penetrated its soil and made it rich and productive. The settler who wishes land that will make a support for himself and family and at the same time grow an orange grove without expense for fertilizers will And this hammock land very desirable. The beauty of this section of country is that it is self-sustaining and will bear good crops year after year without manure or fertilizer, so that when the orange grove comes into bearing the farmer has a very valuabW piece of property free from debt, which is a clear gain from his land above a good living, and one that will give him and his family a handsome support and that is growing more valuable year by year for many years. In proof of these statements many cases of actual residents in this vicinity may be cited who have* tilled the same grade of land for many years.
Uncle "Jake Summerlin, as he is familiarly and affectionately called, also known as "King of the Crackers," lived for twenty-three years and raised his family, and. his son Jasper, who now lives upon' 'the estate, can testify that for twenty-eight years consecutively they have tilled the same field and raised corn as handsome asls raised in the North, and other farm products, and that during this twenty-eight years no manure or fertilizer whatever has been used on this land. This may appear a strong statement, but Mr. Summerlin is a man of unquestioned veracity, who is now living at Orlando, Fla., and a letter of inquiry addressed' to him there will receive his attention and will doubtless be answered.
dp much for vegetable and general farm crops, but a sight of the orange groves on this land will satisfy the mind of any man of its great superiority, for orange growing. The groves of Jasper Summerlin, Gideon Ziprer, Col. George> A. Hanson and the old Hambleton grove give evidence on this point which is unequivocal and unmistakable. The intending settler should not fail to see this section of country before deciding upon his future home, as '* seeing is believing."
Much has been said against hammock land for healthfulness, and with much truth, as all admit that low hammock is not healthy, and much high hammock is not healthy, especially when it is underlaid with rotten limestone which causes bad or impure well water, but such is not the case here. This section of country has a clay subsoil and as clay has the property of filtering out of the surface water all impurities the well water here is as pure and healthful as can be found
anywhere,' The persons mentioned above are still living and many of them have lived on this soil for nearly thirty years and more healthy or robust individuals it would be difficult to find in any country. So much for hammock land about Lake Hancock and Haskell. There is also here a vast country of excellent high, rolling t>iiie f aid so that the settler Can find just what he wants. He can choose a high pine knoll as a site for the home and put the grove and garden on the hammock." ... ,i
In this large re'gion of good land there are many families who have been residents for several years arid schools are established within easy walking distanpe. The railway lias 'been completed and trains running since March, 1886. a handsome and commodlous"uepot has been erected evidently with the expectation of a large business in the near'future. The delightful location, healthful surroundings, beautiful'pine arid rich hammock lands and nearness to the flourishing city of Bartow, the county seat (only fifteen minutes by rail), together will contribute to make Haskell brie of the most flourishing towns of South Florida. In addition to its orange business its soil and transportation facilities should make it the great farming and truck and strawberry growing town of the county.
" '' "* ; v-;-':' the prices of land .
about Haskell are now very reasonable. Good high pine land within one mile of the depot can be bought at'$20 per acre, the price increasing, or deceasing accordlng'to the distance 'from the depot. Hariimock'iarid within a mile Of the depot daribe bought at $60 per acre, arid' some of it Cleared at this price. This land IS of the highest grade, ihost generous in fertility arid adapted for all purposes and'Ci-ops suitable to the climate. As" this land is not plentiful in the State, but very scarce, especially where it is so desirably located near, transportation, it Is not!- likely that present prices will remain long without beln'j^ jadvanced as a booth is'bound to 66cur in this section as soon as its superior advantages become generally known.* Purchasers who are lucky enough to invest at present prices will doubtless have the pleasure of seeing their investments double up several times In the rieixt few years. t ,
This prosperous arid wide awake town of the lake region of Polk county has fu'stty earned the riairie of "the Magic City of South Florida."* its three, year old birthday will be celebrated in February, 1887, when its population wrii number 'nearly one thousand'souls. Yet on January 1, i88X; visitors In the vicinity of the present town were reduced to the necessity of wishing "a happyJNew;.Year *' either' tb the two white inhabitantsa railroad Commissaryor totheir colored laborers in the neighboring shanty, for twd log huts occupied" by these parties were the only houses were the town iidw stands'.
! prehistoric remains at lakeland.
The above is strictly true, and yet this productive portion of Polk county was settled long years before the founding of Lakeland. One m,ile south of town 4s One of the prettiest sheets' of water in South ^FloridaLake Holllngsworth. Back to the time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," there
stood, and still stand, on the banks of this lake two Indian mounds, built so long ago that the Seminole Indians knew nothing of their history. a search of their interiors might well repay the geologist or antiquarian. Adjoining these mounds are what appear to have been ancient fortifications.
old indian fields.
The field notes of the United States surveyor, made in 1848, make frequent reference to the Indian fields in the vicinity of Lakeland. At that period the evidences of their cultivation were very plain, and decaying huts and broken crockery still remained to show that, at one time, this had been a vigorous Indian settlement. The Indian war of 1836-7 caused them to abandon their homes in the vicinity of*Lakeland and seek more secure quarters in the Everglades. It was during the Indian wars that
the florida soldier boys
saw and coveted this fertile portion of Polk county. Soon afterwards a number of them, from North Florida and Georgia, moved here with their families and herds and engaged in the cattle business. They prospered in the increase both of their herds and families, and at the time
lakeland was founded
they were a numerous people, living easily and contendedly on the proceeds of their annual sale of cattle to the Cubans, and only raising a sufficiency of corn and vegetables to supply their individual necessities. What need had they of more? Tampa, thirty miles to the west, was their nearest market, and their only mode of transportation was by ox teams, so that it did not pay to cultivate crops for the market. For this reason, too, they did not have orange groves. Think of hauling oranges thirty miles to a doubtful market, oyer a rough road and in an ox-cart!
Nearly all of these old settlers, however, had a dozen or more orange trees for home use, and a few had the foresight to plant groves in anticipation of South Florida's future. "What they needed was a place to market their produce and
good transportation facilities,
When, therefore, in February, 1884, the South Florida Railroad was completed, and the town of Lakeland founded, they heralded It as a new era and greeted with most cordial welcome the building of a new trading and shipping point. Cattle raising ceased to be their main dependence. They at once began to improve their groves, and raise produce for shipment to Northern markets. There was a sufficient number of them to support quite a town. In fact, Medulla, a small village four miles south of Lakeland, had boasted three flourishing stores before Lakeland come into existence. These Medulla merchants, with commendable shrewdness, moved to the railroad and Lakeland and thereby secured the same patronage that Medulla had formerly enjoyed. But this attractive country could not long escape the
ever vigilant yankee
and the wide awake Southerner, and in a marvelously short space of time after the town of Lakeland was surveyed into lots and streets new settlers from the states north of Florida poured into the new town in an almost unceasing stream. These new settlers built homes and planted groves,, and by their earnestness and
productive parts uf l'olk con nty lake region, and derives its name from the peculiarity of its location. There are nine beautiful clear water lakes within a radius of one mile of town, six or them being within the corporate limits. These lakes afford superior protection against cold weather. They have high banks, with grass growing down to the water's odge, and the hills rise up between the lakes to an elevation or forty to fifty feet above tho surface The hills are covered with a growth of willow-oak and pine, whilstn stages of advancement, dot tho borders.
water abound in Hah of Lite, black bass, speckled Fishing is rare sport there, and bass weighing from two to ten pounds are caught in great abundance. Quail hunting is good in this vicinity, anil back a few miles plenty of deer can be found.
The lands of litis region are of the soil known as iirst grade high pine. Thin has been shown by actual test to be excellently suited to the growl of the orange and citrus fruits, as woll as Tor the banana and pineapple. Hov over, there is a considerable acreage of hammock land, and those desiring 1 cultivate strawberries or other things requiring rich land can find the Bo adapted to the culture of such things. That cla sugar cane can also be found, and nui: can be-successfully cultivated here.
The health of this town la remarkably good, and the climate here Is very favorable to the cure of diseases of pulmonary nature. Persons not familiar with Florida would naturally infer that the lakes would generate a damp atmosphere, productive of malarial disorders, but such is not ihe case, and those families living on the banks of the lakes have equally as good health as those further away. Strangers quickly notice the clearness and purity of the lake water, and the absence of scum. Lakeland has the highest elevation on the South Florida Railroad, being 208 feet above lido water. It is 'J5 feet higher than Orlando, 145 feet higher than Kissimmee, 200 feet higher than Jacksonville or Tampa and Is the highest point on the South Florida Railroad. Thi* altitude means health, salubrity of climate, and freedom from insects and malaria. Moreover, this height aided by our lake protection gives an almost entire Immunity from irosts and cold.
The South Florida Railroad and the Pemberton Ferry Branch of the same road form a Junction here, thus giving superior shipping facilities and placing Lakoland within seven hours' ride of Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railway passes through T,akelan.l over the roadbed of the South Florida Railroad. The Florida Railway and Navigation Company's road is being rapidly completed southward, and they are seriously discussing the proposition of running n spur into Lakeland.
The Jacksonville, Manatee and Gulf Railroad Company have decided to build their road to Lakoland, and are now placing their bonds In New York, with the expectation of beginning work on the road from Lakeland soon. Other U
railroad* are talked of, but these are sufficient to show that Lakeland is quite a railroad center, and, hence, sure of a prosperous future.
The railroads have established their repair shops here, and talk of locating: their car shops here also.
The Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists have neat houses of worship, and the Episcopalians are an organized body, but at present hold services in coi^ Junction with the Acton Church, one mile east of Lakeland.
Lakeland has a flourishing school, under the supervision of an able principal! and two assistants. The principal is a graduate of Rochester University, M. Y.
Lakeland has Just secured a telephone exchange which communicates with Hie town of Acton. There are also two telegraph offices, an express office, anrt a doubh'UaiJy mail service. There are the usual number of business buildings.
VIEW ON'VLAJiE HOLl.lNftSWOBTH, LAKELAND.
such as, a bank, a nrst-cla^S Hvery, and mercantile establishments of various > kinds, including drug stores hai'dwaro stores, groceries, dry goods establish ments, millinery, barber and 9h*' aPs' bluckBtnlth shop, tin shop, billiard and refreshment spoons, bakery, coi Maotfonery, grain and. feed store, meat market insurance offioe, real estate office ^W&paper, kc.
There Is one flrst-cla3a hotel wit, ^ bells and wattr, and- Are In every
This town owes Its origin to English capital, the lands and site being selected some years ago by Piers E. Warburton, who has ever since had the management, and underneath tho influence of whose untiring energy and discretion the town lias hitherto flourished.
It has thus from the very first been an English town in every way, and numerous Englishmen aro now Bettled in the neighborhood, owning orange groves, etc.
Lake Parker forms its northern and Bonnie Lake its southorn boundary; tho former is one of the largest lakes in the county, as well as one of tho most picturesque; it is an irregular lake, twenty-four miles in circumference, splendid for sailing and boating, with pretty groves along Its banks. It Is full of lih, which run to a large size and are frequently caught weighing as much as ton pounds. The latter (Bonnie Lake) has a water frontage of about sis miles. These two lakes are connected by a canal for thejiso of the Acton Saw Mill, one of the best lltted and largestmllls in this soction, and with the Gulf by means of another into Saddle creek.
Acton from Its situation Is specially suitod for those fond of sport, and Is moreover, very healthy, bolng eight to fifteen feet above Lake Parkor and 190 feet above tho level of the sea, which Is a greater elevation than that possessed by almost any other town In South Florida. This Is the place of which tho story Is told of the old gentleman of olghty-four, who, on being asked if it was a healthy
locality, replied: "Well, 1 can't say Much for thai, for the old woman and I has lived here 4a man and wife for over fifty year, and has onty got thirty-two children fet. HoweVer," added he, we still has hopes, as our youngest is but a two-year-oldl"
The Acton House will he found very comfortable by those Btaying there, the meals being in the English style. There Is a very pretty Episcopal Church, various dwellings, stores, etc. Town lots are worth from $60 to $150.
The Acton Olub is also an important advantage to those Bettled In this neighborhood. It possesses a boat house on Lake Parker with club rooms overhead, reading room, library, etc. Boating is a principal feature, and its members have started a lawn tennis club, a debating society and do all in their power to encourage sports and amusements generally. Their first annual sports took place 'on December fT, 1886. There is also a cricket club numbering twenty-five members and having a good ground in the town.
There is a reading room, free by invitation to persons staying in the* town and neighborhood at the offices of the South Florida Land Agency. This is supplied with English papers, etc.
in fact, Acton offers every Inducement and opportunity for amusement and recreation to English settlers, which combined with tho advantages of railroad facilities (One mile from the Junction of the South Florida Railroad, and Florida Southern Railway and also the proposed Jacksonville, Manatee and Gulf Railroad) natural beauty and good soil in this the lake region of Polk county, makes iiamost desirable location for them.
" Knowe&t ttiou the land where the lemon trees bloom, where the'golden orange grows in the deep thicket's gloom, W*erthewineversoftfrom the blue heaven blows, And tiie groves ace of laurel and myrtle and rose? "
The grand sanatarlal or lake district of central Polk county consists of high, rotting lands among which are so many lakes that a person can scarcely find a place where at least one Is not visible; often two or three, and at one place there are five large lakes and two small ones visible through the pine woods. Among these lakes have been laid out in artistic manner the beautifully located towns of Auburndale, Sanataria, Wahneta and Winter Haven.
Auburndale is situated fourteen miles north of Bartow, the county seat. It is near the Center of Polk county and on the main line of the South Florida Railroad, seventy-two miles southwest of Sanford. It is seventy-five miles from the Atlantic coast and sixty miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It is situated on the high, rolling, bluff banks of the beautiful Lake Arianna (whose Indian name is See-sa-qua-chita, meaning a lovely princess with a hundred papooses and a thousand charms) and is surrounded by twenty thousand acres or more of high, rolling pine and hammock land whose remarkable beauty mast be seen to be appreciated.
The depot at Auburndale, although below the average elevation of the town, is the second highest place on the South Florida Railroad. The town consists of
AUBUHNDALE AND VICINITY.
Seven stores, two hotels,, several boarding notise, a he&t ohurch, tw^ ftw and planing mills, one livery stable, depot, with telegraph and express offices, about thirty dwellings, and is the selected site of the Episcopal Endowed Gollege of Florida.
In the adjacent county are many nice-residences, the homes of refined and cultivated people. The general bealthfulnessof the town and country around Is unsurpassed ift any other- part of the. State. There has never been, a known case of malarial disease contracted here. _; ;
, As may be seen from any correct map of Folk county a chain of lakes Consisting of Arianna, Stella, Cordiac, Lena, Whistler, Ariatta, Myrtle, Juliana, Tennessee and Agnes, commencing at the northwest limits of Auburndale and extending, almost directly.north eight miles; another chain of lakes, Mattie, Principe, Sub-rosa, Dora, Alfred and QAiinjnings, ajl, within Ave miles of Auburndale, and still another chain Of lakes, Marian na, Bessie and Bay, form the boundary of ad iiregular parallelogram enclosing about twelve thousand acres of elevated and productive pine and hammock lands greatly beautified and diversified by the picturesque scenery of these lakes. Of these twelve thousand acres there are not more than one hundred acres of bay head, sand, scrub or low hammock that are not susceptible, nay, well adapted to the culture of the whole citrus family of fruits as well as other tropical and semi-tropical fruits and the various vegetables. Outside and bordering this parallelogram are thousands of acres of pine and hammock lands as beautiful as any of these except for the lake scenery. .
The country lying about these lakes being almost equi-distant .from the Atlantic on the east and the Oulf on the west has all the medicinal benefits of salt sea atmosphere without theseverity and rigor so disastrously felt by delicate invalids and advised agalijuM by ptfysic$ans.r ii hW;:aiJrtn slanitary advantages derivable from the balsamic aroma and exhalations from the boundless forests of pine; it has clear ^ater lakes to puttJty t^e ^fn68pher6fan^ temper the climate, all of which conditions are so highly: esteemed and recommended by the medical fraternity for pulmonary diseases and general debility. Equability of temperature is secured not only by elevated midland position, but also by situation among these numerous lakes of pure fresh water which are fed by subterranean streams which render the climate warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than where the atmosphere is tempered by merely surface water; This faot was sufficiently proven during the severe cold of last Winter which did not kill, among these lakes, any lemon or orange trees, large, or small; and while at this writing, January, 1887, most of the tender vegetables, bananas, guavas, etc., throughout the country are killed or injured, here do, they: yet stand in their verdant foliage saved by nature's own protection.
Referring to the map. it can be seen that Lake, Agns, six miles north of Auburndale, affords the head waters of the Wiihlacoo^e^rive^ which flows in a northwesterly, direction, ;to: the Gulf of -.Mexico.; Lakes Juliana, Mattie, Tennessee and Van, all within five miles of Auhurndalq, make the Initiation of Pelaklahaha ereek, which empties, into Lake Harris, thence with the Ocklawaha and St. Johns river Into the Atlantic Ocean; Lakes Arianna, Alfred and a multitude of others south and east of Auburndale make Peace river,..which,flows southward into the Gulf of Mexico at Charlotte Harbor, thus making this region
the grand center from which radiate the rivers north, south, wost, northwest and southwest and proving its high elevation.
The lands within the limits of or Immediately adjacent to the town of Auburndale are not so fertile as most of the other lands of this region, but the whole are Just of that degree of fortuity which will best insure the greatest healthrulness, it being generally admitted that rich limestone lands and 111 health are inseparable companions in Florida.
Good unimproved lands are offered horo at from $10 to *50 per acre; fancy building sites or lako fronts command from $75 to $100 per aero.
No community is more anxious to secure settlers or will offer moro liberal terms or bettor accommodations to those desiring a home In one of the most beautiful and houlthful spots In this favored land of ours.
Haines City is one of those beautiful places which make Polk county. In which it is situated, so attractive It Is but two years old, having been laid out in January, 1885. It ie situated on the South Florida Railroad, hair way between Sanford and Tampa, on tho high ridge between the Atlantic and tho Gulf, in the midst of the world-renowned lako region, where the heat of summer is tompered by gentle breeswB andwherotho occasional frosts or winter do but little damage even to tho touderest vegetation. The cllmato at all seasons of the year makos living a luxury.
Haines City presents inducements to the settler equal to any other section of the State. The surrounding country Is undulating, Interspersed with beautiful lakes abounding In fish. The woods are stocked with deer and smaller game. Along the shores of the lakes are elevations of from forty to ninety feet affording magnificent sites for residences.
The principal growth is pine interspersed with every variety of oak. On the lake shores are found hickory, India rubbor, pawpaw, cherry, magnolia and other growths in rich abundance. Tho eoil is for the most part of a chocolate color underlaid with a reddish yellow subsoil necessary to the perfect development of tho orange and other citrus fruits. The soil is also well adapted to vegetable culturo, and grapes, strawberries and other small fruits attain a wonderful degree of perfection. Considerable attention is being given to peach raising, and in the near future the peach crop will be a vory important one. Pineapples and bananas are almost a natural growth. The society of Haines City is of the very boat class, being drawn from nearly every State In the Union and from ahnoBt overy country in Europe. A first-class graded school is in successful operation and largely attended. The medical and dental profesaions are ably represented. The Pine Grove Hotel furnishes ample accommodation to tourists and prospectors. A saw and planing mill supplies the community with lumber. There are several stores, a very handsome depot with ten trains daily, post offico, tolograph and express office, and all the conveniences of an old city. The Haines City Times is published every Saturday and has a large home and foreign subscription list, circulating in nearly every Northern Stato. Tho land is not held- at fanc;r prices, but Is sold at reasonable rates and ample time given for payment. A M
charter has been obtained for the Haines City and Gulf Uallroad which will be built in tho noar future and will open up all that section of country south of Haines City and which is a magnificent region. Ttwill thus be seen that for those seeking delightful homes in Florida Hulnea city offers groat inducements.
Noar the center of an extensive region of high, rolling pine land, thickly dotted with doep, clear water lakos, is the town of Winter Haven. This lake region extends from Winter Haven ten miles to the south, about tho same distance to the north, is twelvo to fifteen miles in width, and varies in olovation' from ICO to 210 feet above sea lovol.
Situated centrally between ocean and gulf, and so much higher than the average elevation of the State, or even of any othor equally large area of Florida,
yvm. c hi iiAvt >* i- jl k co. mo r< i;? *
tts drainage is perfect, forming sources to rivers which flow to noarly every point of the compass. In Its forests are to bo found plenty of deer, turkey and small game and fish, chiefly trout (or black bass).
Winter Haven is thoroughly new, having been started less than two years ago, since tho completion of tho South Florida Railroad, on which it is situated, and is provided with six daily trains and all facilities furnlehod any town on the road.
The Presbyterians of Florida, of both general assemblies, have been considering the question of locating a college in South Florida for some time past. A committee consisting of Rev. S. T. Wilson, D. D., of Hernando county; Rev. C. E. Jones, and Elder W. P. MeKee.M.D., of Orange county, was appointed in November, 1886, by the Presbytery of South Florida to visit, examine and report to an adjourned meeting as to the desirability of the various towns under consideration.
By consent a verbatim copy of the committee's report on Winter Haven is given below together with the report made by the commission appointed by the Presbytery of St. Johns, consisting of Rev, Henry Keigwin, Rev. W. B. Telford and Rev. S. V. McCorklq, of Orange county; Rev. J. W. Shearer, of Volusia county, and Elder F. W. Merrin, of Hillsborough county.
" bepobt of committee of examination fob college location."
" Your committee, immediately on the adjournment of Presbytery at Auburndale, Fla., was conveyed in carriages to Winter Haven, and found a neat little cluster of new homes and business buildings on a town plot of 160 acres on the Bartow branch of the South Florida Railroad* five miles from where it leaves the main line, and four miles crOss lots' from Auburndale on the main line.
" The place is charmingly located in the midst Of laless of all sizes, very gems of beauty in themselves, and contributing their snare to make up a landscape, bright as fairy land and as fascinating as anything your committee ever looked upon in Florida.
" A wide-reaching park of pines and water pools in all its virgin purity, clear and sweet-breathed as the haorning, and without taint or suspicion of malaria in any of its stealthy forms.
"As we approached the village from Auburndale, or drifted off this side or that side of it, we saw settlements and beginnings, the first comers of those who are soon to fill this beautiful region With the hum and melody of active life.
" Your committee was shown three or four different plots of ground containing from twenty to eighty acres each, beautifully located within a mile or a half mile of the vHlage, from which, as we understood it, the Presbytery has the liberty to select for the location of the college. ]
" Any one of these would be well adapted for the purpose, commodious and salubrious, and combining in themselves beyond most localities all those elements of beauty and healthfulness and accessibility which would make them most attractive to those from the less beautiful and more malarious regions of Florida seeking a, place for the education of their sons and daughter)!, and at the same time most attractive to young men and women, escaping from the rigorouB climate of the East and North, in which to pursue their course of training for a busy life.
" Rev o E* WoneSN' D* D"' I Committee of the Presbytery W^P.^MckSfM.'D., j of South Florida.
" After the adjournment of the commission of the Presbytery of St. Johns, appointed for selecting a college site, the undersigned members of the commission had the pleasure of visiting Winter Haven. After riding over the surrounding vicinity we cheerfully endorse the estimate of this beautiful and delightful
locality given in the foregoing report of our brethren of the associate Presbytery
of South Florida. *
" Bev. 8. V. MoOOBKiiE, Rev. H. Kkigwin, Commission of the Presbytery
Rev. J. W. Shkabeb, of .St. Johns.
. W. KlBBIN,
The two Preebyterieaby unanimous vote on December 80,1886, selected Winter Haven as their cholog fo* the location of the proposed college, and elected the following trustees:
BmnMuamWAXJDO, J>.B., of Winter Haven, Fla.
Bi$r. Hkhby KWRHra><>f Orlando, Fla.
B^iSAjn^BLT. WIWKM^I). D., of BoseHiU, Fla.
Bev, SATtUEL V. McCQiitUC, of Lake Maitland, Fla. 1
Hr* jams H. POTTMt, of Bustle, Fla.
Mr. Sxobgk W, Wftjn&ftf Higley, Fla.
Mr. Obobok W. OAxiOBf, of Oalnesborough, Fla.
Mr. fbank W. MX&BtB, of Plant City, Fla.
Mr.(EjfflB8T & Kaamonx, of Winter Haven, Fla., and emjHi*red them to arrange the details for building the college.
Any coxreapondenoe concerning the college may be addressed to the president of the Board of Trustees, Bev. Milton Waldo, at Winter Haven, or to the secretary, Rev. Henry Keigwin at Orlando."
It has been decided by the largest land owners in the vicinity of Winter Haven that they will not make any general advance in the prices of their lands on account of the location of the college here, but will furnish land to. parties wanting the same for early improvement at last season's rating, notwithstanding the great advantage of a first-class college to this most attractive and healthful lake region.
As Another evidence of the desirability and healthfulness of Winter Haven, a party of NW York City physicians, after looking the State over for a location for a sanitarium, have located at Winter Haven and have Just completed one wing of the first building and are now beautifying, putting out shrubbery, tropical plants, orange, lime and lemon trees, etc. This sanitarium is. known as the Winter Haven Health Resort, and is located on a high hill on the south side of Lake Maud, commanding a grand view of five other clear water l&kes.
The town of Eagle Lake is situated on the Bartow branch of the South Florida Railroad, eight miles north of Bartow. The company have built an elegant depot at this point, which was opened o the 18th December, 1885. A general merchandising business and. post office have recently been established. The hew town is located half way between Lakes Eagle and MoLeod, commanding a fine view of each* It is handsomely laid oiT in wide avenues from lake to lake, the streets crossing at right angles. Lake McLeod is a beautiful sheet of limpid water, round in form, more than a mile across, many feet in depth and generally similar in character to the many lakes around.
Eagle Lake Is a mammoth springwithout a surface inflowof clear, pure, soft water, three miles long by a mile or so in width, environed by grand old forests of oak. and pine. One hundred yards back the banks reach an elevation of forty feet, sloping gracefully to the water, though at the north and south end* the declivities are more gentle. At this distance from the margin a bird's eye viow may be had of several lovely sheets of water suggesting the Idea of miles and miles of looking glass. The depths are profound, unfathomed, deep enough to float an ocean steamer, allowing her to interlock her spars with the giant pines at almost any point. The thirsty wayfarermay kneel and drink, or step from his boat upon d t/y, pleasant banks any where along the shore.
These waters swarm with excellent fish, and the devotee of the rod and line may find rare sport at all seasons of the year. The trout or black bass are sufficiently game to suit a gentleman's ambition, and in winter the iadios muy draw from the water lilies the more gentle silver perch, weighing a pound apiece. These lakes arc exceedingly susceptiblo to the mooiis of the weather, sometimes lashed into fury by the winds, dashing their blue white-capped wavos-against the shore, and two hours after as placid as a, mill pond, so faithfully reflecting surrounding objects that it is difficult to distinguish the line between the shadow and the substance. At present the landscape scenery is simply wild, inspiring the beholder with an idea of picturesque, quiet beauty.
There are ten orange groves around Eagle Lake in various stages of growth, several showing up clusters of russet and golden fruit, as well as banana, lime, lemon and guava groves In bearing which wore not killed by the great freeze of January, 1866. There are bearing groves east of Lake McLeod, West of Lake Eagle is a saw and planing mill, and a publicschool with twenty pupils in attendance directly opposite the depot. It would be almost impossible to find a more delightful spot for a school than this in South Florida. It Is situated upon one of the highest points in this vicinity and almost surrounded by Lakes Eagle, Helen, Mar and Richelieucommanding a lovely view of each. There is not a swamp or marsh within many miiles, and the fragrant air has free play through the pines.
In the surrounding country there are occasional settlements by good pooplo who disdain lake fronts and cling fondly to their wildwood homes, where the game is less disturbed and old fashioned ways are most fashionable; but they bring fn oranges, venison, wild turkey and barrels of sugar and honey. Game is abundant, deer hunting, fox chasing and partridge shooting are the most enjoyable amusements for many, and black bear may be found in the back settlements where the camp hunt is in order. In the gardens around Eagle Lake may be seen ripening in midwinter many kinds of garden vegetables such as
Homeland, formerly known as IJoiturl, ii natcd midway between Bartow and Fort Mead, in the most fertile portion of the Peace river yalley, is surrounded by the magnificent groves and beautiful farms of the oldest settlers of this county. These fertile lands, the luxuriant grass and pure water, together with the
genial climate and healthy atmosphere attracted the hardy pioneers to this most beautiful, productive and charming section, at an early day.
, These enterprising adventurers who came amid the red men to share the beauties and benefits of this attractive section, were men of intellect as well as adventure and nerve, and soon erected school houses, and maintained good schools, for which thlB section is noted. And at an early day a church was organized and a hoiise of worship erected which they called Bethel, an appropriate name for this lovely spot. The name, Bethel, has given way to the name Homeland, and in looking around at the beautiful orange groves, the fertile farms and contented citizens, you feel that it Is a home land indeed; a land in which man by energy and perseverance, may make a home that may well be called,Bethel* after the former name.
Homeland, the first station south of Bartow, on the Florida Southern Bail-way, is situated in what is known as the Deadening," where .the original forest trees have be^in destroyed and a young growth of pines occupies, their places (said. tre6a,.being from thirty to eighty feethigh), rendering the land very desirable lor setting out orange groves, as the young trees afford prQtectd.on;from frost and shelter Jrom the sun. The lands around Homeland are very fertile as may be aeen froni the magnificent groves in the vicinity, some of them yielding from two to three hundred thousand oranges annually, and some of the trees yielding from one to eight thousand oranges per, tree. The farms are productive, yielding from ten to twenty bushels of corn without fertilizing, and from one to four hundred bushels of potatoes per acre and other crops in proportion;. The pioneers who first settled here about 1860, and their descendants, grew from the soil their supplies of corn, sugar and syrup, and raised and killed their own meat, thus living on their home products. The water is soft and .pure as that .of the mountain streams, though not so cold, and is free from any injurious mineral. Beautiful branches and creeks flow across the county into Peace creek, thus draining the country and furnishing water for stock.
The town of Homeland was laid out in April 1886. The alternate; blocks were given to the railroad company, on condition of their building and maintaining a depot. The depot has been erected and the town shows signs of improvement, as it should do, being one of the most beautiful sites in the county, and surround ed by fertile farms and thrifty groves. There is a general merchandise store and dj^ug store, the store rooms comparing well with buildings for similar purposes.in any new town; oyer these rooms is a large hall. A buggy factory has been erected; also a large packing house. There is a good school building, and this section has ever, been noted for the interest taken In education. The Methodists have a church building and a large membership, their organisation being one of the oldest in the county. The Baptists have recently organized a ohurch here and have under construction a large building. ThePreabyteriana have also organised a church. These organizations, with the depot, express office and post office, give the placq advantages which are appreciated by the citizens. I#ta few weeks the. new hotel will be thrown open to the public, when it is expectedrthat Homeland will have its full share of Incoming strangers, seeking homs or in pursuit of health or pleasure. The hotel has large, comfortable rooms, well heated and ventilated. It will be the nearest hotel to the famous Kissengen Springs.
The inhabitants around Homeland are noted for morality, sobriety and intelligence, and they extend a cordial welcome to people of similar character to their midst. To actual settlers Inducements will be offered in choice locations.
This thriving town Is pleasantly situated and embowered in beautiful orange groves, about half a mile west of Peace creek, and ten miles south of Bartow on the line of the Florida Southern Railway, the depot of which Is connected with the hotels and business houses by a street railway, thus facilitating receipts and shipments of freights and making passenger travel rapid and cheap; Fort Meade was incorporated in January 1885, and has since that time made vast improvements, though under less favorable circumstances than the future promises. The aggregate amount of business done in Fort Meade per annum, by the different branches of trade will exceeed $318,000. There are two good hotels, where charges are as reasonable' as elsewhere. The Academy, situated In the suburbs, is one of the best school buildings in the county. There have been a number of 'substantial dwellings erected during the year and more are in process of construction, while a great many are under contract. The signs are that we have reached an era of prosperity, and we hall the coming year with anticipations of renewed activity in the settlement and Improvement of our town and surrounding country.
Some of the many advantages we may rightfully claim for this section are:
First. Healthfulness, in which respect no town in the Union is more favorably located. The resident physicians and practitioners of experience elsewhere, agree that what few diseases they find here yield much more readily to treatment than diseases of like nature in more Northern latitudes.
Second. A fertile soil, producing vegetables and field crops, and the various fruits peculiar to the subtropical belt. The lands of this section are mostly first class pine, the top soil of which is dark and contains a large per centage of humus. These lands produce almost as well as hammock, and are much to be preferred for healthfulness. Considerable bodies of both high and low hammock land are to be found, which will be in great demand for gardening and the cultivation of rice and sugar cane. Though the productions are many the orange leads them all. This is pre-eminently the home of the golden fruit" as the surrounding groves will fully attest. The condition of the trees and the large crop of the present year Is sufficient evidence that the great cold wave of last winter touched us gently. Here this most agreeable and remunerative business of orange culture is not a venture; it is an assured success: It is but a few years since the attention of the settlers was directed to the growing of this luscious fruit for market, and already the returns are most encouraging. As evidence of the growing importance of the orange crop, we submit the fact that up to date, December 18th, there have been shipped from Fort Meade, 9,000 boxes, or more than 1,314,000 oranges, while a large per centage of the oranges are yet on the trees.
Third. A central location in one of the best bodies of land in the State, and
at the head of the possible navigation of Peace river. A Wagon bridge spans the river, giving Fort Meade the trade of a large area of productive country on the east side.
Space would .for hid the enumeration of the many features worthy of mention. New railroad lines have been surveyed ,and ere long competition in transportation will be secured. When the desideratum shall be assured the wonderful possibilities of the fertile soil and genial- climate will be known to the world. We have not touched upon the general advantages of this section, as in climate, topography etc., there can be but little difference In favor of any part of our county. Suffice to say that the climate is unsurpassed In America.
Here smiling spring her earliest visty pays And parting summer's lingering bloom delays.
THE LAKE REGION OF EASTERN POLK.
It is probable that the Lake Region of eastern Polk presents more attractions to new comers seeking homes, and to the speculator for good Investments, than any other part of our most wonderful, and Incomparable, peninsula. Lake Buffum, one of the most elevated of this chain of lakes is 1S8^ feet above the sea level. The very general absence of all malarial tendencies in this locality is a matter of common remark. As an evidence of the healthfulness in this vicinity, a family settled near Lake Buffum about two years ago, having moved from a New England State, suffering with rheumatism, catarrh and chills and fever. They were soon relieved and are now the very picture of health and vigor. It is perfectly safe for families to come to this section in any month of the year, from any part of the world. There are. about twenty families around Lake Buffum, all well contented and on the high road to prosperity. The lands around this beautiful lake are diversified and well suited to grazing, trucking and fruit growing. Fish and game in superabundance. Lands cheap.
- FAIR VIEW.
This highly favored section of the county lies on the east side of Peace river, three miles from Fort Meade ih the most attractive portion of the famous "Old Deadening." Here is a country unlike any other to be seen in the 8tate. The original forest was destroyed by some agency unknown to the white man, and many theories are advanced to account for the phenomenon. Some think a great fire swept over it in the time of the Indian occupation, while a few think this to have been the home, In the years long vanished, of a powerful Indian tribe, and this deadening to have been their cultivated fields. Be that as it may, it is now the place of a flourishing settlement. The surroundings present the beauty of a natural park. The surface is undulating and Interspersed with clumps of pine, willow and live oak, while a .chain of clear-water lakes adds variety and gives beauty to the landscape. Near one of these beautiful lakes is a high hill, known as LoOk Out, which was once, occupied as a point of observation by the hostile Indians. .From, the top of this MIL the .smoke from steamers lying in Tampa bay, forty-five miles to the west, can be seen on clear days. This neigh-
bofhood is rapidly settling with a good class of immigrants. Lands here range in price from $25 down to $5 per acre. No part of the State presents better inducements to the settler than this section of Polk county.
POLK COUNTY, FLA., IN ITS SANITARY ASPECT.
There are but few place wherein life' is more secure than in this county. It is situated in the center of the peninsula in parallel 28 degrees north latitude, and 82 degrees west longitude. ,In a westerly course this parallel would intersect the Pacific at degrees south of California; in an eastern course it would cross the Atlantic and North Africa and again enter .the Pacific in Southern China. That part of the earth intersected by this parallel, which is within the northern boundary of Muhry's tropical disease zone, 1b noted for equability of air pressure and bright sunshine. Polk county possesses these advantages in a high degree, the atmosphere is pure, balmy and of high pressure, the semi-tropical flora fragrant and health restoring. The county is nearly equl-distant from the Gulf and Atlantic, and is as far south in the peninsula as a favorable elevation can be had.
The diseases which belong to it and which are most prevalant are the malarial fevers, dysentery, gastro-intestinal catarrh and hepatitis- Dengue makes its appearance occasionally, but is not endemic. This also may be said of measles and a few other diseases of a mild type.
Those fevers which are endemic are usually mild in grade and non-malignant in type, consequently the mortality from them is light. This statement, however, may require an explanation, inasmuch as, to the casual observer, the conditions and factors in the production of the malarial fevers would appear to exist here in great intensity.
The topographical situation of a country and geological nature of its soil, together with the condition of the atmosphere concur to stamp diseases with a special character. Islands of moderate extent are exempt from this class of levers. The peninsula of Florida, characterized geographically as being almost Insular with numerous clear-water lakes, may be considered to possess the topographical features of an island.
One of the many geological formations which favor the development of malaria is an alluvial surface soil with a close, non-porous sub-soil. This condition, except the land is very rolling, precludes the possibility of natural drainage. The reverse of this physical character of soil obtains In Polk county. The sub-soil to a considerable depth is exceedingly porous, admitting, even on a level surface, free drainage.
The atmosphere, tempered by a semi-tropical forest growth ,is exceedingly preservative. It is rendered pure and healthy by the ocean breezes, and possibly salt water spray, wafted from the Gulf and Atlantic.which are in such close proximity, on either side of the peninsula; the humidity, though contrary to general opinion, is not great, the annual mean being 69 degrees; the air pressure is high and equable, a condition which renders atmospheric changes less Injurious to health. The variation of temperature is considerable, hut as a sanitary measure is beneficial. The summer maximum, however, rarely exceeds 95 degrees Fahren-
heit, nor does the winter temperature often fall below 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The average would closely approximate the Ideal mean of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These facts with many others that might he adduced go to show that the malarial class of fevers of the peninsula of Florida must be stamped with mildness of type.
The water of this county is fair in quality, it contains no elements which would make it unpleasant to the taste; the temperature is rather high owing to the increased temperature of the earth's crust as you advance toward the equator. Cistern water, however, should be used as a household drink In this as well as in all other countries.
The clear sunlight should always be considered as a sanitary factor in South Florida. LWeber, quoting from the proceedings of the British Royal Society, says|. Light is inimical to the development of bacteria and microscopic fungi associated with putrefaction and decay; the preservative quality of light Is most powerful in the direct solar ray, but can be demonstrated to exist in ordinary diffused sunlight; and the actinic rays of the speculum have the greatest effect. In the higher animal organisms, when deprived of light, oxidation does not take place so energetically; tissue change and nutrition are impaired. In winter an invalid in southern lands enjoys the sun and daylight for several hours longer than in high northern latitudes." M. Kennedy, M. D.
REAL ESTATE FIRMS.
For the convenience of those desiring further information, we give below a ist of real estate men of Polk county, who will cheerfully answer inquiries. J. O'C. Blount, Bartow, Fla. ifj) Dunlap & Hill, Bartow, Fla. 'CO ; Whitledge & Tatum, Bartow, Fla. j W. R. Bbown & Co., Bartow, Fla. I S. H. Tignek, Bartow, Fla. O E. E. Skippeb, Bartow, Fla.
J. R. DAvis, Bartow, Fla.
=q : The South Flobida Land Agency, (Limited), L. L. Bbistow, Man., Lakeland. I- The South Flobida Land Agenoy, (Limited), Acton, Fla. =S Scott & Roquemobe, Lakeland, Fla. 1
F. R. G-beene, Lakeland, Fla. it Joe P. Wilson, Auburndale, Fla. \~\ Hinson & Allen, Haines City, Fla. I E. C. johnson, Winter Haven, Fla.
S. I. Piebce, Eagle Lake, Fla.
A. H. Thompson, Ft. Meade, Fla.
j. N. Hookeb, Chairman, Bartow, Fla:
B. F. Holland, Bartow, Fla.
j. W. Andebson, Homeland, Fla. j. B. Nobton, Blanche, Fla. j. H. Kelley, Medulla, Fla.
NOT HQ BE TAKEN FMMi THIS BOOM
1 -3 Ik IT, F.S.B.