Arts & Culture
Historic L.B. Brown House and Museum
The L.B Brown House is a physical legacy left behind by a former slave who defied the odds, and became an incredibly successful Florida business leader. It is possibly the only remaining house in Florida built and owned by a former slave.
From Slavery to Community Leader: “His”story
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.
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.
Tour de’ House
Visitors are of course always welcome to admire the architecture of the L.B. Brown House and look inside it, but it’s definitely worth scheduling a tour so you can get a closer look, and enjoy the insider knowledge from an experienced docent.
Guided tours can be arranged by calling 863-534-0100, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Weekend appointments may also be available, if scheduled several days in advance.
L.B. Brown Annual Heritage Festival
Three days of entertainment celebrated on the L.B. Brown House grounds. The 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.
More Bartow Historical Experiences
If you are into history, which you likely are if you are reading this, you’ll be happy to learn that the Bartow area is home to two other historic hot spots you can add to your itinerary: The Polk County Historical Center and Homeland Heritage Park.
Polk County History Center
The Polk County History Center is located at 100 East Main Street, Bartow, Florida. The museum consists of exhibits presenting local and regional history, and is located in the historic Old Polk County Courthouse. The Polk County History Center is the perfect place to start when taking an historical tour of the county.
Insider Tip: Sign up for a guided tour with a museum docent for the greatest experience.
100 E Main St, Bartow, FL 33830
Homeland Heritage Park
This unique park is home to several original structures from 19th-century pioneer life in Florida, including an 1800s farmhouse, school and church. The park is free to visit and makes a fun and educational field trip for students and families alike.
249 Church Ave, Homeland, FL 33847
Where to Eat
Cookie Jar Bakeshop
They serve casual breakfast, lunch and the best fresh-baked cookies and cupcakes you’ll ever put in your mouth.
What we order: Spinach, mushroom and cheddar quiche with a Grande Café Americano for breakfast – OR - a River Boat Salad (add chicken) and a cookie for lunch.
305 E Main St, Bartow, FL 33830
This restaurant is fantastic and perfect if you appreciate authentic Mexican flavor, great service and live music. They serve lunch and dinner.
What we order: The Quesadilla Hacienda and a Skinny Margarita … or water with lemon.
195 E Main St, Bartow, FL 33830