November 7, 1923 Lake Wales Highlander

Series: This Week in History | Story 16

Last updated 11/8/2023 at 1:02pm

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 extension of a local rail line to reach the east coast of Florida was all the talk of Lake Wales residents in November 100 years ago. Many were undoubtedly hoping that the line would be the spur that already extended to Nalaca on the Kissimmee River. That line, which served logging, cattle, and mining interests, passed through Hesperides and Sumica before ending along the river. Today a portion of that former line is the Lake Wales Trailway on the north side of Lake Wailes.

In other news, local physician Dr. Tomlinson spoke to the Lake Wales Women's Club about deplorable conditions in the "colored quarters," calling upon the community to act to provide for the health needs of residents there. He was critical of property owners "whose sole idea is to make as much as possible out of these people without regard to their health." Dr. Tomlinson called upon the city to "bring about needed reforms."

County commissioner Hancock, meanwhile, agreed to loan a crew of convicts to Commissioner Prior to be used in his district to fill in holes in Scenic Highway north of Lake Wales. The road was the primary local route, but most freight, along with those traveling to any distant point, preferred the speed and comfort of the trains.

Most local stores had agreed to close at noon Monday to mark Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of "The Great War," which concluded with a fragile peace on "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month," November 11, 1918.


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