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Contact: Chris Cate

Secretary Detzner Designates Wauchula as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Recognizes organization’s contribution to preservation and restoration

Tallahassee, Florida –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner today announced Wauchula Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for December 2012. The selection for this award is based on the Wauchula program’s involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

"We are proud of the work Wauchula Main Street is doing and congratulate them on their efforts to help stimulate Wauchula’s economy," said Secretary Detzner. "The wonderful thing about the Main Street Program is that it empowers and encourages communities to invest in their downtown areas, and their investments result in job creation as well as historic preservation."

The City of Wauchula is a community with a history very much intertwined with the history of Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, and with the "crackers" who were named for the cracking whips they used to herd cattle. Cattle were driven overland from Wauchula to Fort Myers and Fort Pierce for shipment to Cuba and other sites in the United States.

Wauchula is also known for its agricultural resources. Though citrus eventually became the dominant industry, Wauchula was once known as, "The cucumber capital of the world." The Florida Southern Railway laid tracks through the area in 1886 and the town of Wauchula began to spring up around the railway depot. The railroad company gave it the name "Wauchula", which was derived from the Miccosukee Indian word Wa-tu-la-ha-kee, meaning "call of the Sandhill crane." Wauchula grew rapidly as stores opened and the phosphate industry flourished. By 1888, the city had five general stores, a drug store, a physician, a hotel and public education. The area continued to grow and, in 1902, the town was officially incorporated.

Today, Wauchula is the seat of Hardee County and residents celebrate their vibrant history with events such as Pioneer Park Days. Main Street Wauchula hosts a number of other events as well, including their annual "King and Queen of Main Street" fundraiser which raised $5,000 in 2012. They have initiated "Paving the Way to a Better Downtown," a project which allows residents to purchase a personalized, engraved brick to help support the many projects and programs that Main Street sponsors.

The Florida Main Street Program designated Wauchula a Main Street Community in 1995. As a Florida Main Street Community, Wauchula has attracted a net gain of 72 new businesses and 208 jobs, as well as investments totaling nearly $13.5 million dollars in 203 public and private construction projects. Dedicated community members have contributed nearly 22,000 volunteer hours in their Main Street Program.

To learn more about Wauchula, contact program manager Jessica Newman by phone at 863.767.0330 or email [email protected].

About Florida Main Street

Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, managed by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. The bureau conducts statewide programs aimed at identifying, evaluating and preserving Florida’s historical resources. Main Street, with its emphasis on preservation, is an effective strategy for achieving these goals in Florida’s historic retail districts. Since 1985, the bureau has offered manager training, consultant team visits, design and other technical assistance, as well as the benefit of experience gained by other Florida Main Street programs.