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Contact: Sarah Revell
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Secretary Detzner Designates Main Street Bartow as Florida Main Street Program of the Month


Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today that Main Street Bartow has been designated the August 2018 Florida Main Street Community of the Month. Communities are selected based on their development achievements and participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

“Main Street Bartow is an exemplary program,” said Secretary Detzner. “With one of the longest standing Main Street programs in Florida, downtown Bartow continues to thrive with constant growth, investment and additional businesses moving to the area.”

Old Polk County Courthouse, Bartow, Florida

Spanish Maps as early as 1527 show the Rio de la Paz, or Peace River, in the area that is today Bartow. The area was inhabited by the Tocobago, Timucua and Caloosa Indian Tribes. By the mid-1800s, Rio de la Paz was home to the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In 1867, Bartow was established as the seat of Polk County, and the first Polk County Courthouse was built. The Old Polk County Courthouse on Main Street was built in 1908 on the same site as the original courthouse, and east and west wings were added to the building in 1926. Today, the Old Courthouse is used as the Polk County Historical Museum.

The main drivers of Bartow’s economy are tourism, citrus cultivation and phosphate mining. Main Street Bartow was designated as a Florida Main Street program in 1986, and since that time, the Bartow Main Street organization has helped to energize and revitalize the downtown area through numerous improvements. “There is a lot happening in our downtown,” says Executive Director Linda Holcomb. “More new businesses have moved in recently and several are in the process. We have also seen an increase in attendance at our downtown events.”

Main Street Bartow was recently awarded Outstanding Florida Main Street Special Event for one of their most popular events, SYFY Bartow. This event is an outdoor science fiction convention that brings in more than 20,000 people from across the state. The event features costume contests, food trucks, live music and more. Next year’s SYFY Bartow will be held on February 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

For more information on Main Street Bartow, visit or For more information on the Florida Main Street program, visit or

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About Florida Main Street

Florida Main Street is a program administered by the Division of Historical Resources under the Florida Department of State, which currently oversees 49 communities throughout the state. By implementing the National Main Street Center’s Four-Point Approach®, Florida Main Street encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation through the revitalization of Florida’s downtowns – the community’s heart and soul.