13 facts about Wauchula-the hidden gem in Florida!

13 facts about Wauchula-the hidden gem in Florida!

Updated on December 15, 2021 11:46 AM by Andrew Koschiev

The residents of this pretty little place would rather keep their town a secret. This place offers a simple existence and a great escape away from the rush and bustle of the metropolis. If you like to read a book while lazily sipping your wine, this might be the place you're looking for.  

Read on to know about this hidden gem in Florida -

The quaint place

Wauchula is a quaint little country town of about 5,000 people on the Peace River and US-17 in Hardee County.

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Named after a Governor

Hardee County is named after the 23rd Governor of Florida, Cary A. Hardee, who died in 1957.  He was from Live Oak in North Florida. He was a popular governor but had never actually been to Wauchula.

Meant to support a U.S. Army fort

The area around Wauchula was meant to support Fort Hartsuff, one of the many U.S. Army forts in Florida during the Seminole Wars.

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Wauchuta

The town's name was originally spelled WAUCHUTA, according to Allen Morris' book "Florida Place-Names." It could have been derived from the Creek Indian words "wakka" (cow) and "hute" (house), or it could have been a contraction of the Creek words "wewa" (water) and "hute" (home), or it could have been "watula," which means sandhill crane.

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City Hall

The town was incorporated in 1902, and the historic City Hall was built in 1926.

Wauchula has been labeled the World Cucumber Capital

However, watermelons and citrus have become even more critical to the local economy over the past few decades.

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 The watermelon festival

One of the annual events in this area is the annual Desoto County watermelon festival in nearby Arcadia.

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 Center for Great Apes

The "Center for Great Apes" at Wauchula is North America's only orangutan sanctuary and one of only ten chimp sanctuaries.

The Peace River

The Peace River is the perfect place for adventure-loving people. You can go on canoeing and kayaking trips that glide you downstream to gaze at otters, ospreys, herons, eagles, and the lounging alligators.  Fossil-hunting is also quite popular along the river's banks.

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The Arcadia Opera House

Satisfy your love for antiques in The Arcadia Opera House, which was built in 1906. It has been turned into an antiques shop and museum now.  You'll find many antique shops in Main Street Wauchula, too.

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Solomon's Castle

Behold the sight of the 12,000-square foot Solomon's Castle, which is a 20-minutes drive from the heart of Wauchula. It's a three-story structure made of old aluminium newspaper printing plates with recycled-material artworks, including a reproduction of the Alamo and a massive 16th-century galleon. It is the handiwork of the incredibly creative Howard Soloman, who used to reside in the Castle with his wife. At the age of 81, he passed away in 2016.

It was also featured on HGTV!

Solomon's Castle has been featured on HGTV’s Most Extreme Homes in America.

It was built from abandoned trash

A tour of the house will be given by a guide, who will show you hundreds of sculptures built from old vehicle parts, tin cans, toys, and other abandoned trash. There is a storey and a punchline in each piece.

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