A TRIP TO AVON PARK
Lindus and Amelia came to Tampa as snowbirds, escaping the icy blast in Cleveland on the Cannonball Express. Just take the train! They brought their unmarried daughters and servants on these vacations when house construction was slow.

They were already familiar with Polk County, Lindus' brother Aldus' 148/3 son, Luther 148/33, taught school in Frostproof in '95. Arthur 148/27 was stationed at nearby Lakeland in '98 during the war. On a visit to Frostproof their friend, the Rev. J. W. Carson, encouraged them to grow citrus. They knew that oranges and grapefruit were selling at a premium back in Ohio and everybody wanted one.

Lindus and his brother Aldus had been child pioneers in the Michigan woods, had a famous watermelon garden as boys in Cleveland and emigrated to Lincoln, Nebraska together. Lindus knew the risks and rewards of pioneering. Considering the prospects and thinking of their posterity, Lindus and Amelia bought some acreage and planted groves near Clinch Lake. They were pioneers again!

Starting a new life in Frostproof was exciting, but farming is hard work for Yankee city slickers and while Frostproof was an idyllic place, they longed for some of what they left behind. To boost morale, they decided to take a trip to nearby Avon Park where they could lounge at the hotel and enjoy "civilization."

This newspaper article has Amelia (Farnsworth) Cody's recollections of that trip. When she told this story, she was 83 years old, so she was about 63 when it happened in 1906. It's big of her to tell this one on herself. While she doesn't mention the names of anyone else, probably Lindus, Arthur, Lydia, Grace and Gertrude went along. The distance from Frostproof to Avon Park is about 7 miles, cross-country through sandy soil, hard work even for two horses.


    FRIDAY, MAY 21, 1926.


"Twenty Years Ago"


  To compare Frostproof today with the Frostproof of 20 years ago, seems almost an impossibility.

  Mrs. Lindus Cody, in an interview the other day, tells of a trip they planned about 20 years ago to Avon Park.

  At that time, Mrs. Cody said, Frostproof had only 4 or 5 houses, namely, J. W. Carson's, C. W. Brown, P. R. Rogers, W. H. Overrocker, Frank Jaques and the new Cody home opposite Mr. Jaques.

  Mr. Brown had a grocery store at his home; Mr. Overrocker had the postoffice on what is now known as Ninth street.

  For sometime they had been here in this lonely, though beautiful place quite a long walk from the other homes and felt that they were just shut off from everything and to be able to again see a town would mean a royal treat. Having heard of Avon Park, and that it had churches, two or three stores and a hotel, they pictured it as being a real city and were wild with curiosity to visit it.

  So early one morning a party of six started off in a spring wagon for this town, carrying with them extra clothes, as they contemplated staying over at the hotel in Avon Park for a


couple of days. They also carried with them a lunch planning on stopping around noon time, having a real campfire lunch.

  After everyone was in the wagon, they rode on merrily, happy and eager to see the sights of Avon Park. After driving for some time they came to a stream of water, which had a very weak-looking bridge for a crossing. However, they crossed the bridge in perfect safety and there were two trails, one to the right and one to the left, and it was finally decided to take the left road. They had no way of telling just how far Avon was, and just exactly how to go as they met no one on the way nor did they see any houses to inquire.

  "Well, Mrs. Cody said, "We rode and rode and rode, but never a sign of a town." Finally the sun began to go under the clouds, and it began to thunder and lightning, then a burst of torrential rain fell. They were all tired, wet and disgusted and now began to think they were on the wrong trail, lost completely in the woods. After discussion as to what to do all concluded to turn around and follow the wagon tracks the way they had come and go home while it was yet light.

  The rain had ceased and they started back following the way they had taken in coming to get across the bridge while it was still light but darkness overtook them before reaching the bridge. They happened to have a lantern and the matches managed to stay dry under the seat and so the lantern was lighted and one


had to drive while the other took the lantern and walked in front of the horses, leading them in the same tracks which had been almost obliterated by the rain. Everyone was wet through and through.

  Finally they came to a gate they had passed and by this they knew they were on the right way home. Coming to the little bridge they had crossed, they found the stream had swollen so from the rain it was feared it would be impossible for them to ride across in the wagon in safety. So they all walked across. They had not realized before how very wet their clothing was and upon reaching the other side they again got into the wagon and took out the good clothes they had planned on wearing at the hotel in Avon Park and wrapped them around their shoulders to keep warm. Mrs. Cody said "Never were clothes so much appreciated as they were then."

  They reached home about midnight a comical looking, bedraggled crowd."Our trip to Avon Park," says Mrs. Cody, "will be long remembered." Never before could she recall being so completely lost as they were that day, finding themselves somewhere in the woods with not a human being or a house anywhere to mark the way to Avon Park. That was 20 years ago.What a change. "Had we taken the trail to the right that day, we would have reached Avon Park before dark for it was the only trail between Frostproof and Avon Park."



 
Downtown Avon Park.
 
If their trip had been successful that day, they would have seen that Avon Park was a cosmopolitan place, with banks, hotels, churches and sidewalks.
Built in 1887-88, the Verona Hotel was remodeled and renamed the Avon Park Hotel in 1906.
 
The 150 year-old jacaranda tree in Avon Park was replaced by the Jacaranda Hotel in 1926.
 
Railroads had the major role in opening up this tropical playground. Flagler on the east coast and Plant on the west, built giant hotels and tourism boomed by 1900!
The Orange Blossom Special, comin' down the Seaboard Line.
 
1902 bank note originating in Avon Park.
Banks in Avon Park issued notes like this during the Panic of 1893 and again in 1907, to provide liquidity in times of financial turmoil.
 
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