“Our history comes to life!” It’s not just a slogan or tagline, it has a special meaning for our community.  It recalls a simpler time and traditional values. It represents a real sense of community – lending a helping hand. It stands for the entrepreneurial spirit of Bartow’s forefathers who built a thriving city by cultivating the land, developing new industry, and embracing education and quality of life. These things are just as important today as they were more than a century ago. They are the things that make Bartow one of America’s best small towns.

        Century-old oaks adorned with Spanish moss line the streets of Victorian homes and quaint bungalows. The laughter and delighted squeals of children can be heard as they play on a lush green soccer field. They're having the time of their lives in Bartow. A parade down Main Street complete with a marching band and colorful floats and the quaint down hominess of the City is so appealing. A street dance with live entertainment on a warm Friday evening is available to you and your family every month; or you might be interested in attending a string quartet performing in an auditorium with free, first come first served seating. If it’s the big city you’re looking for, take a short drive to Tampa or Orlando. Then come back home to Bartow. You can be back in no time.

        Bartow certainly does have a history – one that we embrace and keep alive each and every day. It’s what makes us different from any other community. We also have a great future with countless opportunities for new business and industry. We invite you to come experience what we hold so dear. Join us as we remember the past, live for today and dream about tomorrow. Bartow is located in Imperial Polk County, near the center of Florida. To get a detailed map, click here.

Looking for that special gift?

     Maybe you’re searching for a treasure to call your own.

     Well, you could very well find it in Bartow at a quaint downtown shop. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind bargain, you might just find it at a downtown Antique Fair or Yard Sale presented by Bartow’s Main Street organization. Bartow's Antique Fair is usually held the second Saturday of every month. The Community Yard Sale is usually held on the third Saturday of each month.

      Bartow offers a wide range of medical services complete with a regional medical center, nursing homes and assisted living services. In addition, the Bartow Community Healthcare Foundation, Inc. Health and Life Center offers a variety of health and aging services, and is home to several human services agencies. The Polk County Health Department is in Bartow. The county agency directs and coordinates the health and medical response for emergencies, and identifies resources to meet the needs of the community. Public health services, including disease control, food, water, and drug safety, radiological and biological hazard response, and public health information are also provided.


The Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce presents “FORTRESS Fitness,” a program to promote family fitness, at Fort Blount Park. The program is held on the second Saturday of each month, except for July and August.


14264137 10210102792426528 3767743318790979065 n“FORTRESS Fitness is a community-wide outdoor workout program for all fitness levels, all ages, and it’s absolutely free,” said Marie Wilmot, organizer of the new program.

Wilmot is a wellness and fitness enthusiast and instructor of Pilates, kickboxing, Zumba and other cardio-fitness programs.

“We hope whole families will join us for a variety of unique group workouts led by professional wellness instructors,” Wilmot added. “FORTRESS Fitness is free and open to all ages, instruction is for all levels.”

Training lasts only one hour, and everyone will be encouraged to go at his or her own pace, level or intensity. Every second Saturday through June, (then it begins again in September), a different instructor will be on hand to lead the exercises beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Workout activities will include: Zumba, CrossFit for beginners, Yoga, body weight training, kick boxing, obstacle courses, walking/running, etc.

Music to exercise by, water and refreshments will be available. “Many of our trainers may also offer nutritional advice,” Wilmot noted. “The training lasts one hour; do it at your pace, or intensity for five minutes, rest somewhere in between, or give it your all for the whole 60 minutes.”

Jeff Clark, Executive Director for the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce, said he was pleased the Chamber could offer the new program that promotes family fitness. “I’ve heard that the secret of reaching your goal is getting started. This is a great way to discover which kind of exercise is right for you. Over the course of the nine months, you can try out nine different types of beneficial exercises and choose which one you like. Kids are encouraged to come out and exercise too. Marie has promised that it will be so much fun, you will lose track of time.”

Please mark your calendars for the second Saturday each month through June. Classes begin again in September.

“Whether it’s just you, grandparents and grandkids, or your whole family, you are welcome to join us every second Saturday through June, then, beginning again in September,” Wilmot said. Remember, there’s no charge for the program, just show up and get ready to have fun!”

 Fort Blount Park is in downtown Bartow on the corner of Broadway Avenue and Main Street, across from the Polk County History Center. For more information, please contact: Virginia Condello at the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce, (863) 533-7125 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Bartow City Government

     The City of Bartow has a commission-manager form of government, in which five elected city commissioners set policy and adopt ordinances, and hire a city manager to carry them out.

     Commissioners serve three-year terms. Three must live in the district from which they are elected, and two may live anywhere in the city.
     All registered voters who live in the city are eligible to vote for all five positions. The commissioners elect a mayor and a vice-mayor from among their number, and historically have rotated the position among themselves.

When it comes to places to go and things to do, the Bartow offers a lot. Whether you’re into sports, fitness, nature or history, you’re sure to find the right activity in Bartow.

     Those seeking tranquility can picnic in one of the area’s beautiful parks, or take a relaxing walk through a pristine nature preserve. The Bartow area is also a favorite for those who enjoy cycling.

      When it comes to education, Bartow schools consistently rank as some of the best. Bartow’s International Baccalaureate program is nationally ranked by US News & World Report. Bartow IB students have ranked first in the world in passing their advance placement (AP) exams. In addition, among schools with fewer than 500 students, Bartow IB was recognized by the College Board, the company that oversees AP testing, as having the strongest AP English and AP World History courses in the world.

Police Protection

      On July 1, 1882, when the citizens saw a need for better legal protection, C.C. Gresham was elected the first town Marshal and the town of Bartow was incorporated. The Bartow Police Department has evolved over 130 years from a one man, 15-hour-a-day department into a modern agency with a staff of 41 sworn and 23 non-sworn personnel who provide Law Enforcement services to the citizens of Bartow.

 Bartow, like most of Florida, is located in the humid subtropical zone (Köppen climate classification: Cfa). The climate of Bartow and other inland cities is slightly different than those cities on the coasts of Florida. Typically the ocean or gulf tends to moderate the climate of cities on the coast. As Bartow is further from the coast than almost any other city in Florida, it tends to have higher daytime temperatures during the summer and cooler temperatures at night during the winter. Regardless, the climate pattern prevalent throughout central Florida is evident in Bartow: hot, humid summers with frequent afternoon thunderstorms and relatively drier and mild winters.