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Driving along US Highway 17, you cannot miss Wauchula in Hardee County, thanks to the extraordinarily beautiful murals painted on the building of the Wauchula State Bank by an artist named Terry Smith. This is the first of a number of murals planned for the rejuvenated Main Street of Wauchula.
About The Community
Wauchula, the county seat of Hardee County, offers the best of both worlds – small town ambience along with the convenience of larger cities nearby. Wauchula is at equal distance from Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers. It is a growing city with approximately 5,000 people living in just over three square miles. This historic area was home to Florida’s early pioneers who settled in the Heartland. The region is referred to as “Florida’s Freshwater Frontier” with its surrounding pristine lakes, creeks and rivers and its densely forested regions.
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The town grew around Fort Hartsuff, a military post built to protect settlers during the Seminole Wars. Incorporated in 1902, Wauchula was given its quaint name by the Florida Southern Railway when it built a depot in the area. The name is supposed to be derived from the Miccosoukee Indian word Wa-tu-la-ha-kee, meaning “call of the sand hill crane”. The historic City Hall was built in 1926 is now the home of Main Street Wauchula, the Hardee County Chamber of Commerce and Hardee Players Little Theater.
Vicinity of Wauchula
Wauchula is often called the Cucumber Capital of the World, although citrus is now the most important agricultural produce. This has led to an increase in population over the past few years and today nearly 50% of the population is of Hispanic origin. Nearly 20% of the residents were born in Latin America and emigrated here in the 1990s. A number of historic buildings and canvas of oaks greet you in this secluded town. The people are friendly and the community filled with serene beauty. Enjoy the abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hiking, biking, fishing, boating, swimming and canoeing. Play golf at the local Little Cypress Golf Club. Florida Hospital Wauchula looks after the community’s health needs.
The city has a number of beautiful parks such as the Heritage Park, a unique setting which narrates the history of the town. The Cracker Heritage Festival in winter each year attracts a lot of visitors who watch Heritage and Civil War Re-Enactments. The festival offers Indian artifacts, auctions, a farmer’s market, entertainment, arts and crafts and plenty of food. Quilter’s Inn Bed & Breakfast, originally built as a residence in the 1920’s offers five charming guestrooms. Enjoy a tranquil vacation here with canoeing, fishing in the Peace River and bird watching. Quilter’s Inn is well known for its Murder Mystery Dinners.
A curious structure nearby worth visiting is Solomon’s Castle built by a local sculptor, Howard Solomon. It covers 8,000 square feet and stands three stories high with its exterior surface covered with discarded aluminum printing plates. The castle serves as an exhibition gallery for several hundred pieces of his sculpture. His “Boat in the Moat,” is a 60-foot replica of a 16th century Portuguese Galleon that will serve as the castle’s restaurant.