Polk County Citrus Center monument.

Forgotten Citrus Center Monument

Field review by the editors.

Lumberton, Florida

This 15-foot-tall concrete obelisk is perhaps not as forgotten as it was in 1991, when we last visited. Back then it was a spooky ghost, half overgrown by encroaching trees, covered with mold, draped with Spanish Moss. Now the vegetation has been cut back and the monument has been cleaned of its grime, making the "Citrus Center" engraving easy to see. But it's still obscure, metaphorically.

Erected in 1930, this monument, and at least two othes (which also still stand, in Loughman and Lakeland), were placed along what were then busy roads at the borders of Polk County -- which at the time thought of itself as the "citrus center" of something. Florida? The universe? This monument once supported a plaque that probably explained its purpose more thoroughly. But that plaque was long gone, even in 1991. We can't even guess now why Polk County spent money to build this thing during the Great Depression. And although it may have been surrounded by citrus groves then, it isn't now.

Forgotten Citrus Center Monument

US Hwy 98, Lumberton, FL
I-4 exit 32. North on US 98 about 14.5 miles. Just before the Pasco County line, on the right side, at the intersection of Hwy 54.
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September 27, 2020

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