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Mining in Bone Valley began in 1890. A railroad,

originally built to transport the lumber and

turpentine produced in the region, ran through

the heart of Bone Valley. A convenient location to

drop off and pick up goods was a mid-point on this

railway, near a large Mulberry tree. This site was

centrally located among several phosphate mining

companies and soon became the hub of the land

pebble mining operations. A town sprang up near

the Mulberry tree and naturally took the name

of Mulberry.

Mulberry was a mining boom town, with all the

wildness of a frontier town. Several hangings

took place from the Mulberry tree and later, the

Canal Street bridge. The town grew rapidly,

getting its first doctor, A. F. Fletcher, in 1895. By

1896, it was the fifth largest voting district in Polk

County. Businesses to support the burgeoning

phosphate mining industry came to Mulberry, and

in 1899, the Juanita Hotel opened. On February

12, 1901, Mulberry was incorporated into the

Town of Mulberry.

Mulberry businesses prospered. The W. S.

Badcock Corporation, now one of the nation’s

largest privately-owned home furniture retailers,

started in Mulberry in 1904. Its national

headquarters and center of operations is still

located in Mulberry. The Mine & Mill Supply

Company, begun in Mulberry in 1909, is one

of the oldest continually operating companies

in Polk County.

For the next 70 years, Mulberry, despite setbacks

like the town fires of 1902, remained the center

of the Bone Valley phosphate mining industry.

The eponymous Mulberry tree survived until the

late 1960’s. Around that same time, phosphate

mining began moving south, as the nearby mines

were depleted.

While Mulberry is still home to many

companies supporting the phosphate mining

industry, Mulberry has re-invented itself. It is

now home to many thriving businesses, such as

Food Technology Services, Inc. and Clark

Environmental, Inc. The Mosaic Company has

developed Streamsong, a 16,000 acres resort,

golf and spa community south of Mulberry.

Mulberry’s future is bright indeed.