October 17, 1923 Highlander


Last updated 10/19/2023 at 1:47pm

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.

As Lake Wales was going about its rapid spurt of growth between 1917 and 1927, area real estate agents gathered to create the city's first board so thasat they could exchange listing information and conduct social activities. The city and state were then in the midst of a great surge of development and land speculation. Most of the city's historic downtown masonry buildings were constructed during that time as the city's population increased 10-fold in only a decade.

Meanwhile, the Lake Wales Woman's Club was already an advanced organization, having been started following a 'thimble party" IN 1914, and was participating in an association with a number of other clubs from across Polk County.

Meanwhile, in order to spur the continued development of the area, already home to tens of thousands of acres of citrus groves, area promoters were planning a marketing campaign in New York to attract new investors.


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