Cleaning the negatives.

Chamber of Commerce DeSoto County

Museum Exhibits Around Town

DeSoto County Library     native plant exhibit

Beethoven Organ Company Pump Organ
       We wish to thank David Haines of Bradenton, for donating—on behalf of the David and Ramona Haines family—a Beethoven Organ Company Pump Organ, circa 1895, in excellent condition with beautiful woodwork to the Historical Society. (It is 44" wide, 76" tall, and 22" deep.) After its move to Florida in the early 1980s, it was refurbished. 
       The Society already owns a pump organ, and when we were moving it to our new storage shed, Stuart Swanberg, pastor of Victory Baptist Church across the street from the Ingraham House Museum, admired it, said he would love to play it, and wished he had a pump organ for the church. 
       The Society proposed to Mr. Haines that he donate the organ to the Historical Society with the understanding that it will be "on loan" and in use at Victory Baptist Church, and Mr. Haines agreed. Pastor Swanberg is in agreement and will take care of moving the instrument from Bradenton to his church in Arcadia. (Pastor Swanberg is quite an accomplished musician with a great singing voice.) A plaque acknowledging the donation and the loan will be made for the organ.


Visit DeSoto County Library's display of books about local history, our ranching and rodeo culture and more. The library is located at 125 N Hillsborough Avenue and is open Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m to 2:30 p.m. 

FIELD TRIPS to the John Morgan Ingram House and Seed House  

The DeSoto County Historical Society welcomes teachers to bring their students for a "field trip to the past"!  

The Society provides hands-on activities for the students so that they may “learn by doing.”  For example, they may experience washing clothes using a scrub board, bar of laundry soap, and wash tubs.  Or, they may learn how to write using a pen dipped in a bottle of ink or type their name on a manual typewriter.

The Society will ask the teacher to divide the class into groups of 4 or 5 students, and the small groups will rotate through the activities, so that each student will have an opportunity to do each hands-on activity.

The activities can be tailored to fit with the class’s curriculum.  For example, a class studying geometrical shapes may have an activity that invites students to make their own quilt square pattern using geometrical shapes.

Middle-school and high-school students will also enjoy hands-on activities that are the same tasks but designed to be more complex.  For example, instead of simply learning to use a pen dipped in ink, the students will use that skill as if they were a U.S. Census taker in 1920, the same year as Mrs. Ingraham completed the federal census for West Arcadia.

To schedule a field trip, please contact Carol Mahler at 863-445-0789 or online at

Lobby of Property Appraiser in the Desoto County Administration Building


Charles Moore and Dick Davenport were studio photographers in Arcadia, and when they retired, Howard Melton—Arcadia’s local historian—bought their negative collections with photographs from the 1920s through 1980. He generously gave negatives of local families to those family members whom he knew. In 2008, he sold the negatives that remained to the Historical Society with the other material in his “historical research library.”

The Society has made it a project to catalog the negatives after putting them into sleeves.  The Society welcomes volunteers to help with this project as well as making donations to purchase archival materials: please contact

Harley Watson display in City Hall  

Dr. Morqus Exhibit Moved to Sevigny Eye Center. Thanks to Dr. Ron Sevigny and his Office Manager, Sami Jo Morgan, for inviting us to move the exhibit about Dr. Jim Morqus to theiroffice at 2442 N.E.Hwy 70.   2018