Lake Wales, Florida
Lake Wales, Florida
Lake Wales is situated on the highest point and in the geographical center of the Florida peninsula. Located in Polk County this scenic city is surrounded by lakes and lies among rolling hills.
About The Community
Besides excellent recreation all year round, Lake Wales provides wonderful job opportunities. Citrus has been a major contributor to the local economy since the earliest days. Recently Lake Wales has become a center for light manufacturing, construction, and electronics firms. The Longleaf Business Park and a regional mall also provide employment opportunities.
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After the Civil War, a pristine lake was named after Sydney Wailes, a Florida government land agent. Lake Wales was founded in 1911 by businesspersons who purchased 5,000 acres in the hilly wilderness around Lake Wailes. They believed that the pine forests would support turpentine and lumber industry, the sandy soil was ideal for growing grapefruit and oranges, and the rolling hills would be the perfect site for a town. In 1913 the spelling of town’s name changed from “Lake Wailes” to “Lake Wales” by popular demand. Incorporated in 1917 Lake Wales was granted Municipal charter in 1921.
Today Lake Wales is home to 16 thousand people. It is a great place to live and work with a diversity of parks and facilities available for leisure activities. The city boasts of 110 acres of parks and a variety of recreational facilities including a 2.5-mile bike-hike trail on the shores of the lake, a community center, a renovated historic gymnasium, several neighborhood playgrounds and two sports complexes. The lakes provide plenty of opportunities for water sports.
Vicinity of Lake Wales
Lake Wales Public Library originally run by the Lake Wales Woman’s Club since 1919, found a new home on the shores of Crystal Lake in 1960, through diligent efforts of the citizens. Expanded in 1991 today it houses books, audiovisuals, kits, archives, periodicals, maps, clippings, and software.
One of America’s most famous landmarks, the Historic Bok Sanctuary, is located just north of Lake Wales. The tower and gardens were donated to the state by Bok, a Dutch immigrant, writer, publisher, and humanitarian. The historic bell tower, visual centerpiece of a magnificent garden, houses one of the world’s great carillons. Do not miss the “Old Cracker House,” Window by the Pond nature observatory, guided garden walks, and the panoramic view.
The local museum was once a railroad passenger station. Constructed in 1928 of brick and covered with pink stucco, the Depot served the community until1974, when freight service shifted to the West Lake Wales station, and trains no longer stopped here. The Spanish style building with the red tile roof, a landmark in Lake Wales became a museum and cultural arts center in 1976. The Depot has evolved into a resource center for the collection, conservation, exhibition, and study of materials pertaining to the history of Lake Wales. The mission of the Lake Wales Arts Council is to promote, encourage, and celebrate the arts for the enhancement of community life.
The historic Lake Wales downtown commercial district houses shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Recognized by the National Historic District, the buildings were restored to their 1920 look and feature a number of indoor and outdoor murals, reflecting the early history of Lake Wales. An annual art show, the monthly ‘History on Wheels’ classic car cruise-in, and other events are held here. The annual Country Flo outdoor music and camping festival is held at Triple Canopy Ranch in Lake Wales.