HOURS

Wed: 10 AM to 3 PM
Thu: 10 AM to 3 PM
Fri: 10 AM to 3 PM
863-453-3525
3 North Museum Ave - Avon Park, FL 33825
WELCOME

STOP IN FOR A VISIT!

April
22
2018
International Highlands County Museum Day.
10:00am - 7:00pm
18 May 2018 International Highlands County Museum Day.

April
22
2018
Pioneer Picnic,
11:00am - 2:00pm
24 Aug 2018 Come and Join the fun, Open to the public: Alumni Avon Park High School and long time Avon Park Residents are encouraged to attend. Place: Avon Park Community Center. Time: 11:00 - 2:00

April
22
2018
Dining on the Rails
11:15 - lunch at 12:00
05 December 2019 Dining on the Rails.* Dining Car Christmas Luncheon open to public. Cost $20.00

April
22
2018
Dining on the Rails
11:15
09 January 2019 Dining on the Rails* Dining Car Snowman Luncheon open to the public. This is tentative menu: French Onion soup, Jackson Salad, Shrimp, Grits, Broccoli Spears, Garlic Bread and yummy Cheesecake
Featured
Walker Academy Students
Walker Memorial Academy 8th grade students recently visited the Depot Museum. Ms. Judy Johnson is the history class teacher.
History
1941 Graduation
Avon Park 9th Grade Graduation Class of 1941.
Window Replacement

Dining Car Window  Replacement  Our Silver Palm Dining car is in need of new windows.  One window has already fallen out and several others are experience fogging up.  All of the gaskets need replacing and are disintegrating due to the heat and ultraviolet damage.  We really need help with donations for this project as we will be replacing 20 windows as funds become available.  Help us preserve this unique dining car for future use and luncheons.   Donations Appreciated.          

 

Botanical Garden

Phase One of the plan to refurbish the museum landscaping will be completed thank to the sponsorship of a local Rotary Club.  The garden in front of the dining car is the first installment of a plan prepared by Horticulturist David Austin.  Planting will continue in the remaining garden plots as necessary fund and helpers are identified.  The landscaping will feature Florida Friendly plants and will serve as a model for homeowners who wish to conserve water, reduce yard waste and reduce storm water runoff.  The nine principles of Florida Friendly landscaping outline “the smart way to grow” will be detailed in signage and a museum exhibit.  Proper signage identifying the plants will be placed transforming the landscaping into a botanical garden.  The garden will be placed in front of the dining car and will have a girl on a bench statue.  The noon Rotary club is the major sponsor of this project, providing funding and man power as needed.  This project will be completed in cooperation with the Avon Park Public Works Department and labor from Florida Department of Corrections.

 

Rededication

The Historical Society of Avon Park is hosting a redication ceremony of the plaque that was attached to the base of the old flag pole in downtown Avon Park. The flag pole was rusted beyond repair and was replaced with a new one. The plaque and flagpole were donated by Colonel and Mrs. Royal Page Davidson in 1922 on Armistice Day and bears this inscription "Off with your hat as the flag goes by! Uncover the youngster's head! Teach him to hold it holy and high, for the sake of its sacred dead." The quote is from a poem by H. C. Bunner entitled The Old Flag (1896).   The plaque will be placed on the flag pole base in front of the museum. The pole is the top section of the old flag pole from the mall. Donations were received to assist with the restoration of the plaque as it had been severely damaged by a chemical spill and was heavily tarnished.   Colonel Davidson has been referred to as the "Father of American armored cars" in the military. He was a graduate of Northwestern Military and Naval Academy. He partnered with Cadillac to build prototypes of his armored car designs. He also contracted with an architect to construct the first 9 holes of Pinecrest Golf Course on Lake Lotela in Avon Park. Additional historical information will be provided at the dedication ceremony.   The dedication ceremony will be held at the Avon Park Depot Museum, 3 Museum Avenue and is scheduled for Monday, February 19, 2018(President’s Day) at 2:00 P.M. Please come and join us for this wonderful celebration and recognition of our veterans.   Rick Helms President, Historical Society of Avon Park

Tanglewood Group

Thirty-one residents of Tanglewood Community were recent visitors to the Avon Park Depot Museum. The group assembled in the main exhibit hall and were given an overview of  historical events as they pertained to the development of the city beginning in 1886. After a group photo the ladies boarded the Silver Palm Dining Car for a luncheon

Lake Placid Chapter

The Captain John Wesley Whidden Chapter 2501 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy recently toured the exhibits of the Avon Park Depot Museum. 
Members of this group are descendants of Confederate ancestors with the purpose of honoring their southern heritage. The president of this Lake Placid Chapter is Jeanette Peeples.

Mason G. Smoak

"Youth Leadership Highlands" students recently visited the Avon Park Depot Museum. The faith-based organization is sponsored by the Mason G. Smoak Foundation, a year-long class that teaches leaderskip skills and includes visiting areas of interest throughout Highlands County.

St.Catherine Catholic

Twenty-four 4th, 5th and 6th grade students from the St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring, accompanied by teachers Mrs. Katherine Spencer and Mrs. Patricia Gutierrez recently visited the Depot Museum as part of a school field trip. The students were given information and historical significance of the museum's exhibits. They then greeted the Amtrak as it passed the Silver Palm Dining Car access ramp. After moving into the dining car the group had lunch and later celebrated two birthdays. Home made cookies and brownies prepared by museum volunteers rounded out the dessert. Table games to include checkers, Chinese checkers, Scrabble, tic tac toe, and various card games kept the group entertained for quite some time. Simplicity, the hobo clown paid a visit and was photographed with many of the students. They then boarded their bus and returned to Sebring with good memories of an educational and fun visit to Avon Park Depot Museum.

Oliver M. Crosby

Oliver M. Crosby was the founder of the town he originally called Lake Forest and later became known as Avon Park. He built a 32 room hotel on the shores of Lake Verona, aptly named Verona Hotel. Here in the early days prospecive property buyers were registered and given the royal treatment. The Verona Hotel was the cultural center of the new community. Religious services were held here until the various denominations built their own churches, usually on land that Oliver Crosby donated to them.

George Sebring, in his endeavors to develop the town of Sebring, was a guest here many times as there were no other lodging facilities nearby.

The Verona Hotel was greatly damaged by fire in 1926 and was demolished. Salvaged lumber was used in numerous construction sites around the town. There are more than likely structures in Avon Park still standing containing lumber from the Verona Hotel.

Read more about the Verona Hotel under the MUSEUM category and then "FOUNDING" article.

 

 

Leoma B. Maxwell

Had it not been for the efforts of this lady, Leoma Bradshaw Maxwell, there would be no Avon Park Depot Museum. When the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Company deeded the old depot to the city it was leased to the Historical Society of Avon Park. This set in motion the development of a museum to collect and house the history of Avon Park. Mrs. Maxwell was the first director of the newly formed Depot Museum and later was directly responsible for acquiring the California Zephyr Silver Palm Dining Car. She is also the author of "The First Hundred Years of Avon Park, Florida". This book is available in the museum.

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