Historic Markers Across Florida


Marker ID: PCHC 021
Location: 3125 W Socrum Loop Rd, Lakeland, FL
County: Polk
Coordinates: N 28° 9.916    W 082° 0.645
  28.16526666    -82.01075
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMW82T



Settlers from Georgia and the Carolinas began arriving in the Socrum area in the 1840s, before the creation of Polk County in 1861. In August 1851, preaching with baptism was offered at Wm. T. Rushing's homestead at Indian Pond, named for Seminole Indians who inhabited this site. The population grew, drawn by the fertile land and encouraged by federal lands legislation. Religious services, offered by circuit-riding preachers, sustained the spiritual and social foundation of the area. In February 1854, the Hillsborough County Commission approved formation of the Soak-rum school house. The first marked internment in the Socrum Cemetery occurred in January, 1856. On October 24, 1863, the congregation at Indian Pond was formally recognized as Bethel Baptist Church with 19 members. Cattle raising, sugar cane, citrus, strawberries and other row crops reached prominence by the 1880s. In January 1907, a Post Office was established. The red brick church building was constructed in 1927-29, the third sanctuary on this site. In 1951, the 100-year practice of baptisms in Indian Pond ended, when a formal baptistery was added. The adjacent fourth sanctuary was completed in 2006.

Erected 2017

PCHC-021 Sponsored by Polk County Historical Commission,
Bethal Baptist Church, Kathleen Area Historical Society,
Friends of Socrum