Courtesy Lake Wales Public Library Archives
The front page of the September 5 1923 Highlander included stories about new buildings planned on Park Avenue downtown, as well as a new Babson Park bank building, the first effort by "noted statistician Roger Babson" to develop his newly-acquired lands there. The two new buildings planned for Park Avenue by ML Autrey are believed to include the structure that is currently being restored by The Story Companies, who are seeking to return the facade to its original condition by removing a thick layer of stucco to reveal the original bricks. Autrey purchased the site for the new structures from Jimmy "Good" Rhodes, among others. In other news, the Hotel Wales, later known as the Plantation Inn, had been sold to HJ Crawford with the intent of expanding its small dining room to a capacity of 90 diners. Also in the works was a new cellar, described as possibly only the third in the entire state.
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.