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.
In 1923, 100 years ago this week, the Highlander was celebrating the "paving" of three-foot wide rock shoulders on Scenic Highway from Haines City to Frostproof. That primary road, which extends south to Sebring, will be made even more valuable when the new bridge over the Kissimmee River is completed on the Conners Highway, linking the east and west coasts of the state. Officials from Tampa to West Palm were celebrating the impending completion of the new road.
Elsewhere, the new Scenic Theatre on Stuart Avenue has announced that, due to the rising demand, they will now begin screening a movie every night of the week except Sunday.