The L.B Brown House in Bartow is a physical legacy left behind by a former slave who defied the odds and became an successful Florida business leader.
From Slavery to Community Leader
Lawrence B. Brown was born in Alachua County during the last decade of slavery. Following the end of slavery in 1865, his family moved to Volusia County, where Brown would go on to marry, and acquire a considerable amount of property. This self-taught master carpenter began to shape his destiny by building multiple homes on his property and either renting or selling them. The street that bordered his property was even named “Lawrence Street” in his honor.
National Register of Historic Places
Following the death of his father, Lawrence and his mother moved to Bartow, which was in the midst of an economic boom. Here, he continued the pattern of his earlier success by acquiring and developing more property with homes, including the historic L.B. Brown House.
The nine-room, 1,700 square foot Victorian L.B. Brown house is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a museum and architectural masterpiece honoring one man’s triumph over adversity, and contributions to community growth in Central Florida. It is possibly the only remaining house in Central Florida built and owned by a former slave.
Visitors are welcome to admire the architecture of the L.B. Brown House and peek through the windows, but it’s definitely worth scheduling a tour so you can get a closer look and enjoy the insider knowledge from an experienced docent.
When planning your Central Florida vacation, schedule a free, guided tour by calling 863-534-0100. Weekend appointments may also be available, if scheduled several days in advance.
L.B. Brown Annual Heritage Festival
Enjoy three days of entertainment celebrating L.B. Brown during this annual Central Florida history and heritage festival. The February event features vendors, “back in the day” demonstrations, senior citizens activities, a history lecture, music and dance, a talent show and a gospel program on Sunday.