The Burch Murals
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 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.