Frostproof – All About Polk County
The first settlement in the area now known as Frostproof in Polk County, Florida was established in 1850. This settlement, like many in central Florida at the time, was set up as a fort and was called Fort Clinch. this settlement was abandonded only months after establishment. By the start of the 1880s, Frostproof began to see its first permanent settlers as many homesteaders were attracted to the abundant hunting in the area which included much deer and turkey, as well as ample fishing. The name Frostproof was a marketing ploy to convince potential landowners that the town has never had, and never would have, a frost that could destroy the large citrus-driven economy.
Prior to it being named Frostproof, the town was called Keystone City. However, after being confused regularly with Keystone Heights, a city in North Florida, the name Frostproof was adopted. W.H. Overocker applied for the establishment of the first post office in 1892, under the name of Keystone City. Postal authorities disallowed it because there was already a Keystone Heights in Florida. Joseph Washington Carson suggested Frostproof as a substitute, but Overocker instead chose Lakemont. Carson’s choice of Frostproof was based on the town’s relatively minor damage from the freeze in December 1894 which ruined much of the state’s citrus crop.Carson volunteered to deliver the application to the post office in Fort Meade, and on the way changed the name from Lakemont to Frostproof, which was approved.
In 1925, Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Thompson built the Ramon Theatre for $100,000, naming it for their youngest son. It was a source for a variety of entertainment from vaudeville to movies. The Ramon Theater was designed by architect Leo Elliott, who was well known for his Mediterranean-style architecture. Prior to that, patrons would gather at a tent on the site to view silent movies. The Frostproof Chamber of Commerce purchased the building in 2002 and sought funding to aid in the restoration the building. It took $1.3 million to fund the theater’s long list of needed repairs, with the chamber receiving $750,000 in grants from the State of Florida’s Department of State & Historical Resources, plus additional funding from the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, and donations from local and former Frostproof residents for the restoration.
The Old Frostproof High School, that was built in 1923, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. It is now the location of City Hall.
Photo credit to Ebyabe