January Happenings at the History Center

Bartow, Fla. (Dec. 22, 2016) – Journey into Polk history this month at the Polk County History Center. The following programs and events are open to the public and free of charge:

 January’s Family Program – Curators of Curiosity – All Month – Polk Statesmen

o   Discover more about the men and women from Polk County who have represented Polk in government while learning more about federalism and the division of power between local, state and national governing bodies

Jan. 21 , 11 a.m. – Architectural Tour

o   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 with special emphasis on the decade long restoration and preservation of the courthouse. The architectural tour is on the third Saturday of each month at 11 a.m.

Jan. 17, 12:15 to 1 p.m. – Lunch and Learn – Florida Founder William P. DuVal: Frontier Bon Vivant

o   Join the Polk County History Center as Dr. James M. Denham of Florida Southern College presents the life and times of William Pope DuVal (1784-1854). Each day thousands of revelers trudge down Key West’s DuVal Street, but few know for whom the street is named. The scion of a well-to-do Richmond family, William Pope DuVal migrated to the Kentucky frontier as a boy in 1800. Settling in Bardstown, DuVal read law, served in Congress and fought in the War of 1812. In 1822, largely due to the influence of his lifelong friend John C. Calhoun, President James Monroe appointed DuVal the first civil governor of the newly acquired Territory of Florida.


At an early age, DuVal cultivated the art of oratory and story-telling while witnessing and participating in courtroom and political battles in the West. Traveling often on stages, sloops and steamboats between Kentucky, Washington, Florida and Texas, DuVal delighted in telling stories, jokes and personal anecdotes. Among those captivated by DuVal’s story-telling antics was Washington Irving, who used DuVal’s tall tales as the basis for his book, “The Early Experiences of Ralph Ringwood.”


o   Book Club recommended reading for the month of January is Florida Founder William P. DuVal: Frontier Bon Vivant by James M. Denham.

  • The Polk County Historical Commission and Marker Committee will meet at the Polk History Center at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12 and at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26. The meetings are open to the public.


  Holiday Closing

o   The History Center will be closed on Saturday, Jan. 14 in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

About the Polk County History Center: The Polk County History Center is located at 100 E. Main St. in Bartow and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Visit www.polkhistorycenter.org or call(863) 534-4386 for more information on exhibits and programming. All events and programming are free and open to the public.


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