Exterior of LB Brown House Museum and historical marker sign in Bartow, FL.

L.B. Brown House Museum

Former slave, L.B. Brown, built this house turned museum in 1892. Guided tours of the L.B. Brown House Museum are held Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., by appointment only. Visitors are welcome to walk around, take photos and peek through windows without an appointment.

L.B. Brown House Museum in Bartow is a physical legacy left behind by a former slave who defied the odds and became a 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 Museum.

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.

L.B. Brown House Museum Guided Tours

Visitors are welcome to admire the architecture of the L.B. Brown House Museum 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 863-944-6136 or e-mailing lbbrownmuseum@yahoo.com. 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.

Looking for more things to see & do in the Bartow area of Central Florida? Check out our blog 50+ Ways to Experience Central Florida or follow us on Instagram!


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