Polk County History Center

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1 Polk County History Center Newsletter May 2016 In This Issue Curators of Curiosity Architectural Tour Workshop Historical and Genealogical Library Cemetery Tour Curators of Curiosity Lunch and Learn Recommended Reading New Exhibit Journey into Polk history this month at the Polk County History Center. Programs and events, unless otherwise noted, are open to the public and free of charge. May is National Preservation Month This year's theme focuses on three words: this place matters. Participate in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's initiative to tell stories about local places that matter to you and our community heritage. Everyone has a special place that you can't live without. Now is the time to celebrate its meaning and join the larger conversation of local preservation. On your next visit to the History Center, pick up a This Place Matters sign - or download and print the sign from the website at:

2 https://savingplaces.org/this-placematters#.vwz3xfkrlct. Then take a photograph of the sign in the place of your choosing. Sharing your picture can be done in one of three ways: Upload it to the National Trust website. Use social media - Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by using #ThisPlaceMatters Bring your picture to History Center for display on our community bulletin board. Polk on the Move May is both National Train Day (May 14) and National Bike Month and we want to explore some of the ways Polk has been on the move. Map the various train and road routes that have defined our county, plan a bicycling day with your family and match different modes of transportation to the correct time period. Architectural Tour May 21, 11 a.m. The historic 1908 Courthouse, home of the History Center, should soon receive state and federal funds for the continuing restoration of the building. This will complete necessary interior preservation to ensure it stands for future generations because "this place matters." Lunch and Learn Lecture Series

3 "Growing up Jewish: The Jewish Families of Polk County" May 17 12:15-1 p.m. Join us for a family friendly architectural tour of the History Center and learn more about Neoclassical architecture, the construction of the building and the stories behind the iconic Old Polk County Courthouse. The architectural tour is at 11 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month. Workshop Preserving Memories: Photographs, Negatives, Slides, Film, Postcards and more May 7, 10 a.m. to noon Catherine R. Eskin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English at Florida Southern College, will present "Jewish Families of Polk County (1909-present): Growing Up and Planting Roots," a lecture about several prominent families who settled in Polk County. Eskin's recent oral history project, "Growing Up Jewish in Polk County," will be the basis for this discussion including early settlers in Lakeland and Lake Wales. You will hear about Cyrus Wolfson, who was awed by the clear water in Lake Mirror in 1909 and left his job in New York City to peddle goods around Polk. Did you know that the property on which the Lake Wales City Hall and Fire Department are built was once orange groves owned by Harry Friedlander? Eskin will also share images from the collections of the Temple Emanuel Archive that are not on display. Eskin's lecture will mark the opening of an exhibit at the History Center. Join this workshop, presented by the Genealogical Library staff, who will offer suggestions on the best methods of dating, preserving and Recommended Reading

4 conserving your family's photo treasures. A photo restoration professional will be available for consultation. Please bring personal items for evaluation. Historical and Genealogical Library Are you interested in discovering your family roots or learning more about the history of your town? Then stop by the Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library on the second floor of the Polk County History Center. With a wide range of resources, the library is a perfect place to dive into your research projects. History Center Gift Shop Looking for a gift for the history lover in your circle of friends and family? "Suddenly Jewish: Jews Raised as Gentiles Discover Their Jewish Roots" (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life) by Barbara Kessel. "What is it like to find out you are not who you thought you were?" This book is based on interviews with more than 160 people who were raised as non-jews only to learn at some point in their lives that they are of Jewish descent. With humor, candor and deep emotion, Kessell shares the emotional upheaval people who refashioned their self-image felt. New Exhibit Temporary Exhibit: Growing up Jewish: The Jewish Families of Polk County (1909-present) The first Jewish families that came to Polk left their mark on the county's industries, commerce, agriculture, legal and political life. This exhibit provides timelines for seven extended families, offering slices of their rich lives. Artifacts include cultural and religious items with explanations of their usages and significance for Jews. Many of the religious items have been gathered from the families represented on the walls. Special thanks to the Florida Humanities Council for helping to make this exhibit possible. The gift shop at the History Center offers a wide selection of books about Polk history, including a new title "Florida's First Billboards - Florida Citrus Ongoing Exhibits:

5 Crate Labels," featuring the unique and whimsical artwork that adorned citrus crates in an earlier era. Guided Cemetery Tours Available "Spessard L. Holland - Polk County's Statesman " Bartow native Spessard L. Holland's career in public service spanned 50 years, serving as county judge, Florida state senator, Florida governor and U.S. senator. The Spessard L. Holland exhibit is the centerpiece in the transformation of the 1908 Courtroom into a museum gallery documenting the history of the 10th Judicial Circuit. Book a walking tour with the Polk County History Center and stroll among the legends that shaped Polk County and whose final resting place is at the historic Oak Hill Cemetery. Dating back to 1860, Oak Hill Cemetery is the oldest existing man-made construction in the city of Bartow. On February 12, 2003, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The tour introduces participants to famous Polk residents such as Readding Blount, Jacob Summerlin, as well as veterans of the Seminole Wars, the Civil War, World War I and other notable Polk professionals. Tours may be scheduled between 9 a.m. and 3:30 Very Much A Lady: Lifestyle and Fashion of the Proper Woman, Return to a more elegant and stylish era with this exhibit featuring unique and vintage couture fashion and accessories. The exhibit is curated from the private collection of Polk County resident Joanna Godwin and is on display through December. Good Reasons for Good Roads: Celebrating the Dixie Highway at 100 Years The exhibit explores early highways, the people who travelled them and a new era of development in the state's history. Artifacts in the exhibit include dozens of mid-century souvenirs from Polk County's early attractions and the first automobile license plate ever issued in Polk County. The Dixie Highway's initial route officially opened in 1915 and transformed the cultural landscape of Florida. The exhibit will be on display through November. Victory Florida: Honoring Polk County's WWII Contributions The exhibit tells the story of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things for their country during World War II. Last year was the 70th anniversary of Victory Day, which marked

6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The tour originates from the Polk County History Center and the round trip walk is one mile. Guests may elect to drive to the cemetery depending on individual needs and interest. The ground is uneven, so we recommend comfortable shoes and weatherappropriate attire. Please call Jayme Jamison at (863) or at to schedule a tour today the end of World War II in Victory Florida: Honoring Polk County's WWII Contributions will be on display through September. The Polk County Historical Commission and Marker Committee will meet at the Polk History Center on Thursday, May 26 at 2:30 p.m. The meetings are open to the public. For More Information Call: (863) Visit our Website

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