Landscape Murals Preserved At Tax Collector’s Office In Bartow
Prior to being the Tax Collector’s Office Service Center in Bartow, the building at 430 East Main Street served as the location of a Citrus & Chemical Bank (C&C Bank).
C&C Bank had an executive board room which was situated on the second floor of the building. Featured in the room were two large wall murals. Each mural was over 13 feet wide and over five feet tall. The murals were painted by the late Joe S. Burch (a.k.a. Joe Story Burch), a resident of Winter Garden, Florida. Burch was thought of by many as one of the best landscape painters in the State of Florida.
Burch painted murals in many prominent places such as the former Ronnie’s Restaurant in Orlando, the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, the former Langford Hotel in Winter Park and in a bank building now occupied by Bank of America in Ormond Beach
When the Tax Collector’s Office moved into the building, the room displaying the murals was intially used as an administrative meeting room. Today it has been reassigned as an employee break area. Through all the changes, the murals have been preserved by the Tax Collector’s Office as part of Polk County’s heritage.
Mural on the West side of the board room (above) portrays an expanse of citrus groves in the background and cattle in the foreground, signifying the important role citrus and other forms of agriculture played in the development of Polk County.
Pictured in the mural on the East side of the room (above) is a phosphate mining operation, which illustrated the specific impact of phosphate mining and the chemical industry in South Polk County.