Join the History Center on Tuesday, July 21 for a virtual trip down Florida’s early roads and explore Polk County’s early roadside attractions through a new exhibit.

The Polk County History Center’s Good Reasons for Good Roads: Celebrating the Dixie Highway at 100 Years exhibit opens July 21. Begin the road trip with a Florida-tourism themed Lunch and Learn presentation at 12:15 p.m. by graphic designer and writer Rick Kilby, followed by the official opening of the exhibit at 1 p.m. The public is invited to view the exhibit and enjoy a glass of punch between 1 and 6 p.m.

The Dixie Highway’s initial route officially opened in 1915 and transformed the cultural landscape of Florida. In honor of this ambitious construction project, Good Reasons for Good Roads: Celebrating the Dixie Highway at 100 Years is a temporary exhibit exploring early highways, the people who traveled them and a new era of tourism development in the state’s history. The exhibit will be on display through August 2016.

Polk County History Center
Polk County History Center

Kilby’s Lunch and Learn presentation is titled, “From Sand Mountain to the Coral Castle: The Dixie Highway and Roadside Attractions in Florida.” For more than 25 years, Kilby has studied Florida’s popular history and presented topics in interesting and visual ways. His mission is to motivate others to appreciate the wonders of Florida, including many, like Polk County’s Sand Mountain, which no longer exist.

Rick Kilby’s traveling exhibit, Finding the Fountain of Youth: Exploring the Myth of Florida’s Magical Waters, is also on display through August 2016. A new interactive kiosk featuring water accompanies Kilby’s exhibit. Sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and in conjunction with a new upcoming Smithsonian exhibit about the human experience with water, the kiosk features a history of the importance of water. The History Center produced content for the kiosk, highlighting Polk’s special connection to water, recounting the stories of Kissengen Spring and Cypress Gardens. The touch-screen kiosk will be on display through 2015.
Join us on Tuesday, July 21 for the opening of these exciting exhibits celebrating early tourism in the Sunshine State. All events and programming are free and open to the public.

Read more about the Polk County History Center in our Top 10 section.