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By Robert Connors
Managing Editor 

Lake Wales Library Seeks Historic Photos

Historic Downtown Buildings Being Restored

 

Last updated 7/29/2022 at 11:12am

Robert Connors

The historic art deco Friedlander Building is the subject of a new search for historic photos that will allow its restoration to an original appearance.. Old family snapshots may hold the key to the project.

Lake Wales Public Library is asking the public for assistance in locating historic photos of downtown Lake Wales, particularly any that may include one particular build. Perhaps the background of old family snapshots may hold keys to the future beauty of the National Register Historic District.

According to the Library's website, "We have a mystery that we hope our library patrons can help us solve. A resident is looking for a photo. We've been searching, he's been searching, it should be simple to find."

The building that is the focus of this particular is 101 East Park Avenue, which was purchased by local investors Stephen and Tammy James earlier this year with the goal of restoring the original art-deco look. The building formerly housed Friedlander's Department Store, and more recently True Value Hardware. It originally featured a fire escape above the front door to serve occupants of a boarding house on the top floor.

Robert Connors

The ongoing restoration of the historic department store built by Jimmy Rhodes in 1916 is also partially dependent upon photos taken prior to its 1980's era "modernization" that destroyed its historic appearance.

Any photo taken in the 1940s or possibly the 1950s should show that configuration, and help qualify the project for historic preservation tax credits, while easing the redevelopment process..

This hunt follows a recent one in search of photos of 244 East Park Avenue, which is currently being restored by Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson to its 1916 appearance, when it was also a department store. The formerly blank walls that faced the street will again offer broad, welcoming windows, increasing its appeal to pedestrians.

Gibson, who has previously restored or remodeled four other buildings downtown, is hoping to restore the original parapet configuration and facade,

"If you have a photo of the business, then Friedlander's, that has a clear view of the front of the building, that was taken mid-20th century, and you would be willing to share a copy of, please email [email protected]

 

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