My first official day as Director of the Depot Museum was on Wednesday, July 15th. But even before then- even before I was hired - I had come to adore the charm of the Depot Museum. I had heard about the position of Director from native daughter, Myrtice Young, Director of the Bartow History Center, and, when I had the opportunity, I made my way over to Lake Wales to peek inside.
My first thought was "care." Some person or persons had put a lot of care into preserving the building and collecting the items inside. I would come to learn later of the efforts of Mimi Hardman and the Historic Lake Wales Society to preserve the history of Lake Wales...and, what a rich history it is! the Founders of Lake Wales certainly choose the area of Lake Wales because of its pristine beauty and available resources - it flourished because of the train, turpentine, citrus AND the people who settled here.
We know all of this because the history has been preserved by early pioneers to present-day Lake Waleans. Sometimes we take "knowing" for granted as if it is owed to us, but small-town history can just as easily be lost. History certainly is a community effort, not just in Lake Wales, but in every small town across America. The Depot Museum was founded and built by the community and I hope to continue to work with the Lake Wales community to usher in a new era for the Lake Wales Depot Museum.