Historic Markers Across Florida

Gram Parsons Derry Down

Marker ID: FLHM F-869
Location: 297 5th St NW, Winter Haven, FL
County: Polk
Coordinates: N 28° 1493    W 081° 43.915
  52.88333333    -81.73191666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMXC4D


Gram Parsons
Derry Down

On December 20, 1964, Winter Haven businessman Bob Parsons opened the Derry Down in this building. The English-themed teen club's primary purpose was to give his stepson, Gram Parsons, a performance venue for his folk band, The Shilos. The club not only provided a venue for local youth musicians, but it helped elevate Winter Haven as a destination for traveling groups in the region. The Derry Down became part of a circuit of Florida teen centers in the 1960s that provided fledgling musicians a place to hone their skills as performers. In 1968, Gram Parsons joined the American folk rock standard-bearers The Byrds. In 1969, he founded the country rock band, Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons recorded two genre-bending solo albums with then-unknown folk singer, Emmylou Harris. He died in 1973 in Joshua Tree, California, at age 26. In 2013, author Bob Kealing raised awareness that the building was slated for demolition. The building's owner, Six/Ten, LLC donated the building to the community-driven Derry Down Project, a Main Street Winter Haven initiative, to restore the building and preserve its legacy by nurturing new artists.

F-869 A Polk County Heritage Site
Sponsored by Derry Down Project, Main Street Winter Haven, Inc., Bob Kealing,
and the Florida Department of State.