Wauchula, Florida

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Wauchula is a city located in Hardee County, Florida, United States, and had a population of 4,368 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 estimates, the city had a population of 4,441.

It is the county seat of Hardee County.[3] Wauchula has been called the "Cucumber Capital of the World", although citrus has become a more important agricultural crop over the past few decades. It is home to the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, a residential therapy facility for people who have suffered debilitating brain trauma.

In 1978, Wauchula was the location of the "Baby Swap", which took place at Hardee Memorial Hospital, where the babies Arlena Twigg and Kimberly Mays were switched and sent home with the wrong parents. (This event was documented in the book The Baby Swap Conspiracy by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel, and in the 1991 made-for-TV movie Switched at Birth).[citation needed]

Barbara Coker Mays, the natural mother of Arlena Twigg, who died from a congenital heart defect on August 23, 1988, was a member of one of Hardee county's prominent families, the Cokers. Bryant Coker was involved in the building and financing of the hospital, and had a commemorative plaque at Hardee Memorial; H L Coker was on the board of trustees. Hardee Memorial, a modern, beige two-storey building, served the area until July 1992, when it declared bankruptcy due to the legal battle over the baby swap case and closed its doors, according to Schwartz-Nobel. It is now served by the Florida Hospital.[citation needed]

Contents

Geography

Wauchula is located at 27°32′46″N 81°48′52″W / 27.54611°N 81.81444°W / 27.54611; -81.81444 (27.546091, -81.814564).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.8 km²).

Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 4,368 people, 1,431 households, and 985 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,669.6 people per square mile (643.7/km²). There were 1,562 housing units at an average density of 597.0/sq mi (230.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.44% White, 4.17% African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 18.84% from other races, and 2.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 39.42% of the population.

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