Homeland Heritage Park Bartow

Florida Guide > Other Parks

When a Reporter for a Local Polk newspaper was attending a meeting of the school board -he noticed an item on the agenda that caused him concern. The old Homeland school was to be disposed of as it was no longer needed as a functioning school.

The newspaper and other local historical groups joined forces and became the leaders in saving the school. Their work resulted in 5 acres of school board property being made over to Polk County in 1985 . The enthusiasts worked hard and refurbished the school building and one by one other buildings of importance were brought to the site in 1990

Offering a glimpse into the past, this five-acre site is Polk County’s only historical park. It includes the Homeland School (1878), the old Homeland Methodist Church (1887), the former Methodist parsonage and church annex, the Raulerson House (1880), and the English family’s log cabin and barn (1888). In fact the log cabin is one of the last remaining of its type and was built by the English brother -Cornelius and James in 1888 as their home . It was restored by their descendent John English in 1972 and later gifted to the county site.

The Old Methodist church-originally called Bethel Methodist after the community where it stood-
was the first building to be sited here from its original position across the road . It was restored in 1987 to its 1887 state for a dedication ceremony . During the restoration the discovered stained glass windows that had been hidden by a dropped ceiling

The Homeland Park is always available for visitors to wander around freely and there is no admission costs but if you go on a Saturday or Sunday there will not be any guides unless you specifically book one. The rest of the week guides are at hand to show you around the building and tell you all about its history and significance to the area

Homeland Heritage Park is a unique way to understand the daily life of a rural farming community in the late 19th century.

The 1899 Raulerson Farm House shows how a typical “gentleman farmer” and his family lived in a rural farming community at the turn of the century. Built in 1900 and bought by Mr. Daniel Raulerson for his family the house never had running water or indoor plumbing. There were 5 children in the Raulerson family and they all slept downstairs . The family had fruit groves and the foreman and his family used the upstairs of the house

The 1888 English family Log Cabin and Pole Barn shows how an early pioneer family lived in rural Polk County at the turn of the 20th Century It has one large room with a loft and a wrap-around porch. The Pole Barn has two cribs that were used to store hay, straw, tools and animals for safe keeping.

Homeland Heritage Park will take you back in time to another era. Today, all buildings are complete with furnishings, artefacts, and photographs reflecting their unique history. A picnic pavilion and rest rooms are also available.

It is a nice way to spend half a day and see some of the history of the area too. Maybe combine it -as we did with a trip to Lake Wales Art Centre.

Home land Heritage Park is found Four miles south of Bartow off U. S. 17, turn right on CR 640.
Monday - Friday 8:00 A. M. - 5:00 P. M.
Saturdays by appointment. 863-534-4370

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