November 21, 1923 Highlander

Series: This Week in History | Story 18

Last updated 11/23/2023 at 6:23am

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.

Lake Wales voters were facing three election sin a 60-day span 100 years ago, with the first of the separate ballots to decide the burning issue of whether to require the fencing of livestock, thereby ending the "open range" era of life in this part of the state. The decades-long battle between advocates of open range livestock and those who opposed the practice had sometimes led to violence due to incidents including fence-cutting. Those clashes were referred to as "range wars."

Other votes were planned for the county-wide referendum on a $3.2 million bond issuance that would pay to widen and repair many nine-foot-wide roads in the county, including the road linking Lake Wales and Hesperides to the east. The "Good Roads Committee" has led the drive to improve the roads. They have been instructed to secure a 66-foot-wide right of way for State Road 8, running from Haines City to Frostproof, as a minimum that the state will accept before conducting improvements. That route is today's Scenic Highway, SR 17.

A third vote was planned to decide upon funding for a county hospital.

The Highlander also revealed that a single female candidate had filed to run in the "state primaries," as Elizabeth Skinner of Dunedin, past president of the Florida Federation of Women's Clubs, had filed to run for Superintendent of Education in Pinellas County. Women had achieved the right to vote less than four years earlier with the passage of the 19th Amendment, which was ratified on August 26, 1920.


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