SEBRING HISTORICAL SOCIETY NEWS AND FEATURED ARTICLES

The Uniqueness of Sebring’s Circle

February 28, 2018

 

Did you know that Sebring is one of the few surviving circular cities in the United States? Completed in 1912, it is also the oldest circular city in Florida and the only one that uses a circle for its primary commercial district?

Where did George Sebring get the idea for Sebring’s Circle? Most people think that he adopted the idea from a magazine illustration of Heliopolis, an ancient Egyptian city. A WPA Federal Writer’s Project, Allen and Joan Morris’ Florida Handbook, published biennially from 1947 through 2011, Florida Backroads Travel, and some of our local websites set forth this view. 

 

But in his book, Sebring: City on the Circle, author Stephen Olausen presents other theories. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a movement was underway in the United States to break the monotony of standard grid patterns in city planning and to incorporate green space into development. The Circle fits the goals of this movement with its circular park surrounded by a drive from which six avenues radiate. 

 

 

Furthermore, in an early Sebring Real Estate Company brochure, Mr. Sebring states “the town is laid out somewhat after the manner of Washington cities and Indianapolis with a circle in the center and broad avenues running out from it like spokes from a hub.” Mr. Sebring also no doubt was influenced by his native Ohio roots. The Ohio Valley region has the greatest profusion of circular towns in the United States, including Circleville, Ohio, platted in 1810.

 

Circle Park in Sebring has historically served as the focus for Sebring’s social activities, and in earlier days, political gatherings, and religious services. Today, the Community Redevelopment Agency awards $1,000 grants to organizers for events held on the Circle, like the one shown here.Circle Park in Sebring has historically served as the focus for Sebring’s social activities, and in earlier days, political gatherings, and religious services. Today, the Community Redevelopment Agency awards $1,000 grants to organizers for events held on the Circle, like the one shown here. 

 

Sebring’s Circle has received official recognition for its significance as a contributing element within the Sebring Historic District. The District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

 

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