October 3, 1923 Highlander


Last updated 10/11/2023 at 10:04am

Courtesy Lake Wales Library Archives

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.

The Lake Wales area in 1923 was a bustle of activity as the Great Florida Land Boom took serious hold of the imaginations of investors from across the nation. Land speculation in the state was beginning to be a major driver of rising property values as properties were flipped from investor to investor without hesitation, always at a profit.

Locally, Roger Babson, a noted statistician, was laying the groundwork for his community of Babson Park, with plans afoot to build a new two-story building with a full basement to house his statistical laboratory.

Elsewhere in town, attention was directed to a local man named N. F. Gardner, a lineman for Western Union working along the Seaboard railroad line, who caught a four-and-a-half foot rattlesnake with his bare hands to prevent it biting him. He brought the live rattler to a local collector for exhibiting. List the big rattler alongside the deer which had been seen roaming around inside the narrow confines of the town.

Meanwhile the Lake Wales Woman's Club was participating in a County Federation meeting in Eagle Lake. Mrs. BK Bullard, wife of one of the founders of Lake Wales, was serving as vice president of the county group.


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