Communication Builds Our Community

Articles from the 'Olmsted & Our Garden City' series

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  • Olmsted Connected Lake Wales With Mountain Lake, Bok Tower Gardens

    Brian Ackley, Special to the News|Updated Apr 14, 2022

    Long before Frederick Law Olmsted left his generational "City in a Garden" imprint on Lake Wales -- and a decade before he transformed impoverished scrub into the lush gardens of Bok Tower – the first of his Florida landscapes was the verdant canvass of Mountain Lake. By early in 1915, the famed landscape architect who will be celebrated locally on April 30 – and whose work is the foundation for the city's current "Lake Wales Connected" redevelopment plan for the historic dow...

  • Edward Bok's Vision For Lake Wales Grew Beyond HIs Gardens and Tower

    Brian Ackley, Special to the News|Updated Apr 3, 2022

    When Edward Bok visited the site of his carillon tower on Jan. 11, 1927, more than two years before its dedication and opening, progress at the site left him with a smile. "He was greatly pleased with the growth that the large live oaks have made. He was equally pleased with the large palms. Mr. Bok hardly thought it possible for the Sanctuary to look so fine during mid-winter," read a report received in the Massachusetts offices of the Olmsted Brothers, the world renowned...

  • Olmsted's Lake Wales Landscape Plans Preserved Existing Oaks

    Brian Ackley, Special to the News|Updated Mar 21, 2022

    On Jan. 27, 1931, residents along Tillman Avenue in Lake Wales got good news. The oak trees would be saved. A plan drawn up by the world renowned landscape-architect Frederick Olmsted Jr. for extensive tree planting in the city had called for some of their nearby oaks to be removed. Residents petitioned Olmstead to reconsider, and he did. As noted in a letter from his firm on that date, Olmsted's plan took many things into consideration, simplicity being chief among them....

  • Lake Wales' "Garden City" Roots Run Deep

    Brian Ackley, Special to the News|Updated Mar 7, 2022

    Although most Lake Wales residents aren't even aware of it, Lake Wales is famous for thousands as the site of the largest group of landscape designs ever created by the legendary firm of Frederick Law Olmsted. So how did it come to be that the firm responsible for creating New York City's Central Park and for designing the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. played such a vital role in the planning – and now future – of Lake Wales? Our destiny as a "City in a Gar...

  • Connected Plan Revives the Goal of City's Founders

    Brian Ackley, Special to the News|Updated Mar 2, 2022

    When Lake Wales gathers April 30 to celebrate the life, legacy and work of Frederick Olmsted Sr. at "Olmsted Day in the Park," local residents will be paying homage to more than just the famed landscape architect whose influence is still very much alive in the city today. By 1929 when Lake Wales civic leaders hired his son Frederick Olmsted Jr. to create a master plan to enhance the city's "Garden City" concept – developed in England 1898 by Ebenezer Howard – Lake Wales and...