By Kathy L. Collins

The 1914 Plant City High School (PCHS) Community Center is a hidden gem in Plant City’s historic downtown district. The 1914 PCHS Community Center is located at 605 N. Collins St. in Plant City. The East Hillsborough Historical Society, which was a driving force behind the preservation of this historic building, is headquartered here.

The building was built in 1914 for the sum of $40,000. After serving the community as a public school for 58 years, the Hillsborough County School Board deeded the building to the City of Plant City in 1975. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Today, it is a historical museum and repository of artifacts.

If you are at all interested in history and the past, this is a must see. The East Hillsborough Historical Society offers tours of the building. To arrange a tour, call 757-9226.

Shelby Bender, executive director of the 1914 PCHS Community Center and president of the East Hillsborough Historical Society said, “This is Plant City’s richest cultural asset. Our museum and facilities tell the history of the community. It is a way to look back in time.”

Located within the building is a rich collection of artifacts and items that will make everyone nostalgic for the past. You can visit the Pioneer Heritage Museum which holds a collection of school memorabilia, vintage clothing, antique furniture and agricultural equipment. There is even a restored Model T Ford on display. Soon, you will also see a restored 1931 Chevy Touring Car. Two rooms are dedicated to the history of Hotel Plant and government history of Plant City. On the third floor, you can see the gowns of many of the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens.

In addition, the building is home to the Florida Opry which performs from October to April in the school’s old auditorium. This is a place perfect for stage performances.

New to the building is The Classroom Gallery currently showing the Art Around Town Show. This is a partnership between the East Hillsborough Historical Society and the East Hillsborough Art Guild. Shows will rotate every 60 to 90 days. For more information and to arrange a tour, call 757-9226.

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