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Smithsonian Crossroads Lecture Series – Life In A Phosphate Town by Richard A. Fifer

There were once over two dozen phosphate mining towns and villages in Polk County. The 1920 U.S. Census indicated that over 10% of the population of Polk County was living in a “phosphate town” at that time. Program presenter, Richard A. Fifer, spent his early years in the phosphate town of Pierce, owned by the American Agricultural Chemical Company, a direct ancestor of the present day Mosaic Company. He will describe what it was like to live and work in a company-owned phosphate town, including the town hierarchy, living conditions, and why living in a company-owned town was a necessary, attractive, and challenging option for many of Polk County’s residents. 

Fifer retired from Lockheed Martin as a missile guidance and flight control engineer systems manager. A local historian, he has a special interest in the Florida phosphate industry and has authored several articles about the subject. He serves on the Polk County Historical Commission and on the board of the Polk County Historical Association.

Date: 01/15/19
Time: 12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Polk County History Center
Address: 100 E. Main St., Bartow, FL 33830