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Eagle Lake residents are smart. They enjoy the quiet and beauty of their town and the proximity to big city conveniences and attractions. It is a peaceful residential oasis in the heart of central Florida’s Polk County. Located between Bartow and Winter Haven along US 17, this small compact city of about four square miles area has developed along Lake McLeod and Eagle Lake. It is home to a multicultural population of about two thousand six hundred people and takes advantage of development around it while retaining its quality of life.

The City of Eagle Lake was incorporated in 1921 by a special act of the Florida Legislature and is governed by a city council/ manager form of government. Just fifty miles from Tampa, Eagle Lake is connected to the rest of the state by Interstate 4, 13 miles north of the city, which links the east and west coasts of Florida. State Highway 60 also crosses the state, just a few miles to the south of Eagle Lake. The popular attractions of Florida are just an hour away from here.

The origins of Eagle Lake can be traced to two events. An English adventurer named John Bingham settled on the northwest shore of Eagle Lake around 1880. He built a log cabin there that he named “The Eagle’s Nest.” Today, it is recreated in the building which houses the Eagle Lake Chamber of Commerce. In 1882, Louisa S. McLeod, a widow from Alabama, bought 101 acres of prime land and called it “The Terraces.” Dense pine forests grew there and it was a perfect habitat for eagles. It is now popularly known as Eagle Lake.

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This was the birth of a town in central Florida’s wilderness. The Citrus trees planted there were the first orchards. The railroad made its early beginning in 1884 when the South Florida Railroad Company purchased land from Mrs. McLeod to run a spur line from the northwest. A passenger and freight station was built by 1889. In 1902 Eagle Lake was connected to Bartow and Lake Alfred with the first passenger service of two trains daily in each direction. The town grew to meet the growing needs of the population. The city had a general store, drug store and a grocery store that also housed the post office. Many original structures remain to this day.

The Church of Christ Church that was built in 1912 still holds services on 3rd Street. The first one-room schoolhouse was used until 1925 when it was replaced by a two-story structure that was used in 1975. It still stands at the corner of Eagle Avenue and 7th Street North. The recent construction of the Lake Region Senior High School in Eagle Lake has renewed the interest of homebuilders in the area.

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