August 15, 1923 Lake Wales Highlander

Series: This Week in History | Story 7

Last updated 8/17/2023 at 8:56pm

Courtesy Lake Wales Public Library Archives

The big issue facing the Polk Good Roads Committee and Polk County voters 100 years ago was a planned bond issue that had leapt from $3 million to as much as $6 million based upon engineer's estimates of the cost of the road project. The plan included 110 miles of new roads, and the widening of 120 miles of existing roads from nine feet up to 15 feet in width to allow easier two-way traffic for a growing number of automobiles. The bond effort was lead by an active local business community, including Jimmy Rhodes, builder of several masonry buildings in downtown Lake Wales. HIs effort earned him the nickname of "Good," which stuck with him the rest of his life.

The Lake Wales Highlander of 100 years ago reveals much about the history of our community.

Each week the Lake Wales News will publish a front-page image of the former Lake Wales Highlander from 100 years earlier, tracking the growth of the community a century ago, when Florida was in the midst of a great land price boom and rapid population growth.

The images are retrieved from the digital archives of the Lake Wales Public Library.

The Lake Wales Highlander eventually became The Daily Highlander, and under several different names was published six times a week on Sunday mornings and Monday through Friday afternoons until 1995.

The original Lake Wales News was a weekly broadsheet newspaper that also served the community for many decades, later changing to a tabloid format before closing six years ago.

Lake Wales was among only a handful of small communities that supported two local newspapers, a mark of the level of literacy and community interest here.


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