The mission of the Kathleen Area Historical Society is to document, preserve, and interpret the history and folklife of area communities, primarily through activities at Heritage Park located within the historic Socrum community in Polk County, Florida.

Around 1988, three women who were born and raised in the northwest Polk County community of Kathleen were responsible for the idea of establishing a nonprofit organization to preserve the area’s dwindling history and heritage.

These three women were Hilda Gavin Battle, Becky Hardaker Elliott, and Doris Stalvey Glisson. Betty Ann Williams, a former Kathleen Area teacher at Winston, Griffin, and Kathleen soon joined forces with these three determined ladies and in March 1991, the nonprofit Kathleen Area Historical Society (KAHS) was created.

The KAHS founders recognized that in addition to Kathleen, there were other nearby and historic northwest Polk County communities with a heritage that should be celebrated and preserved, too. Ultimately, eight communities were included as part of KAHS: Galloway, Gibsonia, Griffin, Green Pond, Kathleen, Providence, Socrum, and Winston.

These eight communities were established generally between 1850 and 1900 with Socrum likely the oldest, dating to the late 1840s/early 1850s. A book detailing the history of the eight areas through the use of vintage captioned photographs, Communities of the Kathleen Area, was published in December 2015. The book is available from Arcadia Publishing, from Lakeland area bookstores, or directly from the author, Lois Sherrouse-Murphy.

Clockwise: Cash Grocery Store, Socrum, ca 1914; Hiram Chestnut Family, Griffin, ca 1910; Alonzo Robbins Family, Kathleen, ca 1916

Contact us by email directly to Lois Sherrouse Murphy, President, at or (863) 944-5656

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