Your roadmap to the Polk County Citrus Label Tour

Take a bite out of the local citrus industry’s history with a self-guided tour of labels found around Polk County.

A sign showing a vintage label for Moccasin Brand citrus with a drawing of a boot. Decorative oranges line the sign.

This label is aptly found at Florida Southern College, home of the Moccasins.

Photo by LALtoday

In the early 1900s, one of Polk County’s main goals was to make fruit look as ap-peel-ing as possible. Our little agricultural county was beginning its blossom into a total epicenter of citrus — an industry now worth billions. Although we know our oranges speak for themselves, the boxes that carried them needed a little extra pizzazz.

A vintage Royal Arms Citrus Label featuring a soldier with a sword and shield

You can find this citrus label on display at the Lake Wales History Museum.

Photo via Lakeland Public Library

Lithographers and publishers worked with artists to create labels that told the story of both citrus and the Florida way of life. These whimsical labels adorned wooden crates that would ship from growers, catching the eye of buyers and curious out-of-towners. They often showcased themes like plant life, adventure, historical sites, and animals.

After a 60-year run, the citrus crate labels started to run out of pulp, so to speak. Shortages of wood and metal at the end of World War II brought about the invention of cardboard boxes with pre-printed brand names.

A sign showing the Polk O Dot citrus label, featuring a drawing of a young girl eating a grapefruit.

Find the “Polk ‘O’ Dot” Citrus Label at The Polk County History Center in Bartow.

Photo by @visitcentralfl

Although these labels are mostly a thing of the past, you can take a self-guided driving tour of vintage labels on 23 buildings and sites in Polk County. Here are three sites where you can find labels in Lakeland:

  • Tigertown Complex, 2220 N. Lake Ave.
  • Florida Southern College, at the corner of Frank Lloyd Wright Way & Johnson Avenue
  • Florida Air Museum, at the corner of James C. Ray Drive and Tom Mack Drive

Ready to continue your tour? Here’s your map of all the labels to be found across Polk County.

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