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(78) stories found containing 'lake wales history museum'


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  • The News Recommends: Brandon Alvarado for City Commission Seat 2

    News Editorial Board|Updated Mar 26, 2024
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    An April 2 day of decision is upon Lake Wales voters, who have significant choices among candidates who offer sharp differences in their approaches to governing and attitudes toward the challenges confronting the city. All city voters are eligible to cast ballots in the non-partisan district 2 and 4 races. In the District 2 race, Daniel Williams is facing two challengers in Brandon Alvarado and Crystal Higbee. On a city commission that has been criticized as failing to...

  • Gibson Lays Out History, City Position in Walesbilt Lawsuit

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 12, 2024

    Despite a significant ruling in favor of the city, the future of the Walesbilt Hotel still hangs in the balance of an active lawsuit, Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson told the city commission during the boards' regular meeting Tuesday night. The ten-story boom-era hotel, constructed in 1926, is the dominant feature of the city's downtown and has been a topic of discussion by the commission for more than a decade. It has remained vacant since 1996. In a 33-minute presentation at...

  • Lake Wales History Museum Director Departing

    Sepcial to the News|Updated Jan 10, 2024

    The Lake Wales History Museum will once again be left without a permanent executive director after this week as Melissa Stoller, PhD, will be leaving the organization on January 12. Stoller took over the reins of the non-profit organization in July, 2022. According to a board statement issued by museum President Brandon Alvarado, Stoller will be assuming a new position leading grant administration for the City of Lakeland. Stoller came to Lake Wales from Tallahassee, where...

  • 100 Years Ago: The Highlander of January 9, 1924

    News Research Staff|Updated Jan 10, 2024

    A housing boom in Lake Wales is not an unprecedented thing, as 100 years ago the young city was experiencing the same thing as 78 new homes were built in 1923, without filling the demand. During the early 1920s Florida was in the midst of the Great Florida Land Boom, a speculative bubble that eventually collapsed but left Lake Wales and a hundred other towns with an enormous inventory of new buildings, including the unique collection of masonry structures that dominate the...

  • 100 Years Ago: The Highlander of January 2, 1924

    News Research staff|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    The new year of 1924 started out with big news in the community of Lake Wales as voters apparently chose to fund a new county hospital, a b ig achievement for the largely-rural county. Roads were being paved and widened to connect the network of small towns that were sprinkled across the more than 2,000 square miles of Polk, while railroad lines were also being extended to allow the quick passage of freight and passengers to and from northern markets. Citrus was the big...

  • Brandon Alvarado to Seek Seat on City Commission

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Dec 22, 2023

    With only four months to go before Lake Wales voters will choose two candidates to serve on the city commission, the first challenger has announced his intention to win a three-year term on the five-member board. Lifelong resident Brandon Alvarado will seek the district two seat currently held by Daniel Williams. Alvarado, 27, is deeply engaged in civic organizations and in his announcement, he touts his experience as an example of his commitment to the city. "My experience wo...

  • History Museum Will Emerge Better, Community Support Needed

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Oct 30, 2023

    Major improvements are underway at the Lake Wales History Museum that are expected to make the facility a center of community activity as well as a draw for residents and visitors alike, according to Executive Director Melissa Stoller. The ongoing project includes needed repairs to the 98-year-old building as well as reimagined and refreshed exhibits. The non-profit museum is seeking volunteers with carpentry skills to help with the ongoing reconfiguration. Stoller promises...

  • Bill Redmon is Pioneer of the Year

    Anderson Hanna, Lake Wales History Museum|Updated Oct 23, 2023

    Bill Redmon has been selected as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 Pioneer of the Year for the annual Pioneer Days festival, which will take place at Lake Wailes Park on October 29 and 29. Redmon's extraordinary dedication to his community and his outstanding achievements make him a true pioneer in every sense and led to his selection by the board of the Lake Wales History Museum, sponsors of the long-standing and popular festival. Only 50-year residents of the Lake Wales...

  • Lake Wales Property Tax Rate Raised by One Mill

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 21, 2023

    The first ad valorum tax rate increase in nearly a decade was approved by the Lake Wales city commission on first reading Wednesday. The new property tax hike of 16.34 percent will contribute to the city's $99.5 million budget for fiscal year 2022-2023, which begins October 1. For many years in a row, Lake Wales commissions have simply adopted the "roll-back" rate, which was the rate which would generate the same revenue year after year, while the rate fell. That steady...

  • Nominations Sought for Pioneer of the Year

    Special to the News|Updated Aug 22, 2023

    Who will be the next "Pioneer of the Year?" That's a honor you may have a hand in deciding. The annual honor of Pioneer of the Year has been a highlight of the two-day Pioneer Days festival in Lake Wales since Morris Jones won the honor in 1978. Now it's time for the community to step forward to nominate another honoree. The award is bestowed by the Lake Wales History Museum, which has announced the commencement of nominations for the 2023 award. This accolade celebrates...

  • Final City Commission Candidate Forum Planned for March 28

    Special to the News|Updated Mar 29, 2023

    Lake Wales voters will get a final opportunity to hear the position of four candidates seeking terms on the city commission in the April 4 election. The Lake Wales History Museum will host the forum on Tuesday, March 28, beginning at 5:30 PM. Seat 5 candidates, including incumbent Robin Gibson and challenger Danielle Pride Gibson will be joined by Seat 3 candidates Michelle Threatt and Keith Thompson, who are competing for a three-year term on the seat being vacated by Terrye...

  • Commission Candidate Forum Brought Few Surprises

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 21, 2023

    Four city commission candidates facing an April 4 election shared a stage at the Lake Wales Womans Club Auditorium Tuesday evening to compare their positions on a variety of topics raised by audience questions. Few major differences were apparent on subjects ranging from public transportation to electric car chargers. The candidates responded to five questions submitted in advance by the two organizations, followed by others submitted by the audience. Surprisingly, none of the...

  • Walesbilt Hotel Lawsuit Inches Forward

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 5, 2023

    The long, seemingly endless tale of the Walesbilt Hotel continues to make its way toward an eventual settlement, although it's a process Walesbilt Hotel LLC seems determined to extend. Lake Wales Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson briefed City Commissioners on the state of the lawsuit following a court-required mediation session that took place Tuesday. That process is confidential, so Gibson was barred from sharing what was discussed or proposed, and will be until any additional...

  • History Speaker Series to Feature Local Author

    Special to the News|Updated Feb 3, 2023

    The Lake Wales History Museum will resume its popular speaker series with a presentation on Florida's past presented by guest speaker and local historian Robert Connors. Connors is the author of several books including "The Florida Saga," a historic novel documenting the long, tortured history of the Sunshine State. The History Museum holds a wealth of information about the Lake Wales area, ranging from pre-Columbian canoes carved by Native Americans from whole trees, to the...

  • Ridge Scenic Highway 39-Mile Yard Sale Happens November 3

    Special to the News|Updated Sep 2, 2022

    A popular and long-running community event returns this year, and organizers are offering plenty of advance notice to those wishing to participate. The 15th annual 39-mile Yard Sale will be held on Saturday November 5, 2022. The event runs from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm. and sees thousands of shoppers descend upon the route of State Road 17 between Frostproof and Haines City. With its central location, much of the activity focuses on the Lake Wales area. The Ridge Scenic Highway...

  • Railroad Corridor Landscaping to Enhance "Garden City" Effort

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jul 7, 2022

    Scenic Highway's passage through downtown Lake Wales will quite a bit more scenic upon completion of new efforts planned by city staff. Plans to add multiple new shade trees, shrubs, flowering plants and fencing are moving forward under the terms of a new lease between the City of Lake Wales and Florida Midland Railroad. The railroad owns a highly-visible corridor through the center of town which already hosts a number of buildings associated with the Lake Wales History...

  • History Museum Launches Appeal to Complete Collections and Research Center

    Robert Connros, Managing Editor|Updated Jun 4, 2022

    Fearing damage due to Florida's summertime temperatures and humidity, the Lake Wales History Museum is reaching out to supporters and potential donors to raise funds to improve the 1916 railroad depot which houses many thousands of important documents and historical artifacts at the not-for-profit facility. According to Anderson Hanna, the museum's interim director, the historic Seaboard Airline railroad depot is "an optimal location" to house what he describes as "an...

  • Museum Seeks Community Support to Protect Collections

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jun 4, 2022

    Fearing damage due to Florida's summertime temperatures and humidity, the Lake Wales History Museum is reaching out to supporters and potential donors to raise funds to improve the 1916 railroad depot which houses many thousands of important documents and historical artifacts at the not-for-profit facility. According to Anderson Hanna, the museum's interim director, the historic Seaboard Airline railroad depot is "an optimal location" to house what he describes as "an...

  • "State of the City" is Good, Mayor Says in Annual Report

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 5, 2022

    A portrait of a city undergoing numerous changes was delivered to about 100 community and business leaders Friday at the annual "State of the City" report delivered by outgoing Mayor Gene Fultz in a darkened auditorium at the Vanguard School. It was the first opportunity for him to deliver the speech since 2019 due to the impacts of Covid-19. He will be leaving office this year after nine years as the city's first elected mayor. Citing an aggressive pursuit of improvements...

  • Jennifer D'hollander Leaving Lake Wales History Museum

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 10, 2022

    The Lake Wales History Museum is "immediately" launching a nationwide search for a new executive director after Jennifer D'hollander announced that will be leaving the organization on March 5. D'hollander recently led the conversion of the museum from a city owned facility to a non-profit organizational structure within a secure City of Lake Wales-Museum partnership. The board of directors of the museum issued a statement praising her "inspiring leadership," and wishing her...

  • Enjoy a Historical Christmas at Lake Wales History Museum Party

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Dec 14, 2021

    The staff and members of the Lake Wales History Museum are inviting the public to join them for a special Holiday Party at the museum on Thursday, December 16. The free event will include food, drinks, holiday selfie station, photos with Santa, holiday trivia, and a hot chocolate bar. The party will also feature the delightful sound of Christmas tunes performed by Bok Tower Gardens Carillonneur Geert D'hollander on the piano. The party starts at 6:00 pm and ends at 8:00 pm....

  • New Museum Curator Enjoys "Touching History"

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Dec 13, 2021

    "Getting back to museum basics" was a large part of the motivation that moved Anderson Hanna, former director of the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, to apply for what might at first appear to be a less-authoritative role as Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Lake Wales History Museum. Hanna doesn't see it that way at all, and is very happy with his career decision. "It's about getting to your specialty," he said, in describing the change that also brings him...

  • Pioneer Days See Attendance Growth

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Nov 2, 2021

    The 2021 Pioneer Days celebration of history is itself history, but Lake Wales History Museum Director Jennifer D'hollander is still celebrating. "Oh my gosh yes!" she responded when asked whether she was pleased with the weekend she organized. "I was delighted!" D'hollander cited the bigger-than-ever crowds that poured into town for the annual event. "We had more marketing that ever, true, but then people are just so ready to get back to interacting at events like this." The...

  • Cheese Shoppe and Deli is Newest Business in Lake Wales

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Oct 29, 2021

    Lovers of Amish cheeses and hearty deli sandwiches will be delighted to learn of Lake Wales' newest business, The Lake Wales Cheese Shoppe and Deli opened for business last week on Bullard Avenue. The brightly lighted shop features stocked coolers and shelves of specialty food products. "We specialize in Amish meats and cheeses," owner Tim Johnson told LakeWalesNews.Net. "We stock popular brands like Troyers from Ohio, Kunzler from Pennsylvania, and Yoders from Michigan." Othe...

  • Pioneer Days Opens to Big Crowds

    News Staff|Updated Oct 26, 2021

    Blacksmiths, crafters, and thousands of their admirers turned out for the annual Pioneer Days today in Lake Wales. The event, sponsored by the Lake Wales History Museum, runs through the weekend. Great weather seemed to draw out the crowds for the event, and they found lots to do and admire, with demonstrations of lots of pioneer crafts from broom-making to canoe carving. Antique tractors and cars, plenty of live music, a dozen food trucks, a beer garden and the annual...

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