100 Years Ago: The Highlander of January 9, 1924

Series: This Week in History | Story 21

Last updated 1/10/2024 at 11:09am

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.

A housing boom in Lake Wales is not an unprecedented thing, as 100 years ago the young city was experiencing the same thing as 78 new homes were built in 1923, without filling the demand.

During the early 1920s Florida was in the midst of the Great Florida Land Boom, a speculative bubble that eventually collapsed but left Lake Wales and a hundred other towns with an enormous inventory of new buildings, including the unique collection of masonry structures that dominate the downtown area of Lake Wales. Structures like the two arcades, the 1919 Bullard Building, the Friedlander Building, and the Caldwell Temple Building, along with the railroad depot (now the History Museum) and the nearby, ornate South Scenic Building are reminders of that era.

Lake Wales Library archives

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.


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