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Secretary Browning Designates Wauchula as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

seal of florida

Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
November 08, 2011

Chris Cate

Secretary Browning Designates Wauchula as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Recognizes organization’s contribution to preservation and restoration

TALLAHASSEE – Secretary of State Kurt Browning today announced Wauchula as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for November 2011. The selection for this award is based on the Wauchula program’s involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

“After 16 years as a Main Street community, Wauchula has consistently demonstrated the benefits of emphasizing Florida’s cultural heritage,” said Secretary Browning. “By preserving and investing in Wauchula’s heritage, the community has created jobs for residents and new economic opportunities for businesses.”

The Florida Main Street Program designated Wauchula a Main Street Community in 1995. As a Florida Main Street Community, Wauchula has attracted a net gain of 65 new businesses and 190 jobs, as well as invested $13.3 million in 184 public and private construction projects. Meanwhile, dedicated community members have contributed more than 19,786 volunteer hours in their Main Street Program.

Wauchula was first settled in the 1840s during the Seminole Wars. The community was formed around Fort Hartsuff, a military fort built to protect civilians from the violence of war. Compared to the more desolate areas surrounding it, the town became a metropolis in rural central Florida. Wauchula was also popular for its agricultural resources. Though citrus eventually became the dominant industry, Wauchula was once known as, “The cucumber capital of the world.”

In 1886, the Florida Southern Railway laid tracks and established a railway depot in the area. The depot still exists today. The company gave the town the name of “Wauchula,” derived from the Miccosukee Indian word Wa-tu-la-ha-kee, meaning “call of the Sandhill crane.” Wauchula grew rapidly as stores opened and the phosphate industry flourished. In 1902, the town was incorporated. The town is now the county seat of Hardee County and residents celebrate their vibrant history with events such as Pioneer Park Days.

Wauchula is also a community with a history intertwined with the history of Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, as well as with the “crackers” who were named for the cracking whips used to herd cattle. In the twentieth century, the largest area of open-range ranching in the United States was in Florida and much of it extended into the City of Wauchula.

About Florida Main Street

Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, managed by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. The bureau conducts statewide programs aimed at identifying, evaluating and preserving Florida’s historical resources. Main Street, with its emphasis on preservation, is an effective strategy for achieving these goals in Florida’s historic retail districts. Since 1985, the bureau has offered manager training, consultant team visits, design and other technical assistance, as well as the benefit of experience gained by other Florida Main Street programs.

To learn more about Wauchula Main Street, contact program manager Jessica Newman by phone at (863)767.0330 or e-mail jnewman@cityofwauchula.com.

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