History photo


With the New Year, we introduce a new weekly photo from Winter Haven’s history.

This week’s photo is the oldest known photograph of the early village, taken circa 1890. You are looking west from a vantage point in what would become Central Park.

Scanning from the left, the first building is Henry Snell’s General Store (he would found Winter Haven’s first bank), the second building with the mansard roof line is the land office of Blount and Whitledge (they platted the original village in 1883).

Skipping to the white building, that is Boyd Hall, where early motion pictures were shown and school classes held. All of the aforementioned buildings were located on the present site of the downtown Bank of America.

Moving across the wooden sidewalk (today’s Central Avenue) is the two story F.A.K. Harris General Store and home (Winter Haven’s first commercial and residential structure built in 1885). In the foreground you see the Southern Railway railroad tracks running north and south (since removed). Lake Howard is visible through the pines on the right.

You’ll find other interesting photos at the Museum of Winter Haven History, open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon and located at 660 Pope Avenue, at Lake Howard Drive.