Homeland is a small rural community located about five miles south of the city of Bartow. History shows that this tiny community was once known as the settlement of Bethel and a stop midway between the two largest cities at the time in Polk County, Florida…. Fort Meade and Peace Creek.
Homeland offers a general store, Homeland Heritage Park and a Post Office. The school was built in 1878. The school, which was originally named Bethel Academy and started with only five students but grew quickly. Within two years the academy housed over 75 students! Did you know that the Homeland School building is the only building in Heritage Park that is still on its original location?? The school was closed down in 1956 but It’s still to this day being used throughout the area for educational programs and is on the National Register of Historical Buildings.
Polk County, Florida has only ONE existing Historical Park and it is the Homeland Heritage Park. The park itself is five acres of history and beautiful scenery and is located right in the middle of a neighborhood that has grown up around it over the years.
Homeland Heritage Park officially came into being on March 26, 1985. The School Board of Polk County signed a deed, passing the School Building and the property around the building, to the Polk County Board of County Commissioners with the understanding that a Historical Park would be created on the site. The Old Homeland Methodist Church although not regularly used for church services is often still used for special holiday services and even the occasional wedding . This location is perfect for educational outings and family get togethers.
Admission to the park is free and is open Monday – Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Saturdays by appointment only.
For additional information on this area visit these great sites:
Photo Credit: Ebyabe