Welcome to The Historical Society of Fort Meade Florida
Fort Meade, Florida is all about history. Settled in 1849 during the Second Seminole War, Fort Meade is named after Lt. George Meade who crossed Peace River in close proximity to the present bridge on US 98 E. However, the first moniker for the fort was Fort Clinch.
It is the Society's desire to display not only the belongings and memories of people who settled our community but to allow visitors to walk away with a feeling they know why we are so proud of the oldest city in Polk County.
Drop by the museum *Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon. *The second Tuesday of each month the museum closes at 1 p.m. to attend the volunteer birthday luncheon.
We feel we have a treasure chest of how life in "real Florida" was. Volunteers are on hand to answer questions and share insights on some of the cherished items on display.
Downstairs, visitors are immediately greeted with the vision of oranges .. artwork and old wooden packing boxes. Then they see memorabilia of "golden school days," on to the influence of church-going people on building Fort Meade, the support and dedication of country doctors, policemen and firemen, as well as the historic significance of Native Americans. Photos and tokens from long ago depict the impact of Fort Meade's main economic staples: Citrus, cattle, and phosphate.
Upstairs is a bevy of turn-of-the-Century lifestyle from the nursery to the kitchen to the bedroom, including a patriotic display honoring area men and women of the armed services. A memoral is located in the main entry way to Fort Meade resident James Henry Mills who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in World War II and the cross-county expressway is named in his honor.
The outside of the two-story late-1800 home shows off Museum Park: A handcrafted gazebo where entertainment is staged throughout the year; and the phosphate train dedicated to the man who headed up the train project: Bufurd Brown. The train provides meeting rooms upon request, as well as an established art class that meets each Tuesday. The farm shed is dedicated to Olma Hendrick and is the location of the Society's annual BBQ during the Country Fair. But everyone agrees the museum's wrap-around porch with its rockers and swing is the crowning touch to the structure.
One of the highlights of the year is when the Society hosts students from Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary to take us back to an era when ushering in Spring was an important event. Each May Day third graders recreate the ritual of dancing and plaiting strands of pastel ribbons around the May Pole.
Admission to the museum is free and so are the memories. Donations are always appreciated.