During the first half of the 20th century, citrus was shipped in wooden crates with labels affixed at the ends. These labels were the advertising of the individual companies and have become collectible art forms. The early ones depict scenes of “old Florida” as well as the emergence of tourism promotion with scantily clad bathers aptly named “Flo.”
With the arrival of cardboard, the wooden crates and their colorful labels fell out of use. The labels are now highly prized collectors’ items.
Thanks to a grant from the Indian River County Tourist Development Council, Vero Heritage has enlarged and improved its indoor authentic citrus label collection, as well as started the Vero Heritage Citrus Label Tour. This art in public places heritage tour explores the historic marketing portion of citrus though artistic labels that once adorned the wooden shipping crates.
The label tour signs feature the vintage brand artwork on the front and interesting historical information about the brand on the back.
As of summer 2022, there are three signs in Historic Downtown Vero Beach. The sign featuring FLO is just outside the Indian River Citrus Museum and was funded by George Hamner and Indian River Exchange Packers. Two other signs were funded by the Indian River County Tourist Development Council.
On September 21st, three more signs were installed on Indian River County-owned lands: Hallstrom Farmstead, Jones Pier Conservation Area and Captain Forsters’ Hammock Preserve. Heather Stapleton, Vero Heritage executive director says, “These county-owned lands all have historic citrus connections. The placement will be a natural fit. Working with county has been delightful. We cannot wait to get the next signs installed.”
Vero Heritage hopes to work with cities of Sebastian and Fellsmere next. Stapleton says that eventually the Vero Heritage Citrus Label Tour will consist of about 10 stops around Indian River County.