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Lakeland, Florida
Downtown Lakeland
Downtown Lakeland
Flag of Lakeland, Florida
Flag
Nickname(s): 
Swan City
Location in Polk County and the state of Florida
Location in Polk County and the state of Florida
Country United States
State Florida
County Polk
Settled c. 1875
Incorporated (city) January 1, 1885
Government
 • Type Commission-Manager
Area
 • City 75.30 sq mi (195.02 km2)
 • Land 66.29 sq mi (171.69 km2)
 • Water 9.01 sq mi (23.34 km2)  10.9%
Elevation
194 ft (59 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City 112,641
 • Density 1,699.27/sq mi (656.09/km2)
 • Metro
725,046
  Census Bureau American Community Survey
Demonym(s) Lakelander
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
33801–33815
Area code(s) 863
FIPS code 12-38250
GNIS feature ID 0294459
Website www.lakelandgov.net

Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, part of the Tampa Bay Area, located along Interstate 4 east of Tampa. According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau release, the city had a population of 112,641. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area.

European-American settlers arrived in Lakeland from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina in the 1870s. The city expanded in the 1880s with the arrival of rail service, with the first freedmen railway workers settling here in 1883. They and European immigrants also came because of land development opportunities with farming, citrus, cattle and phosphate industry developing. Lakeland is home to the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve.

History

Prehistory

The first Paleo-Indians reached the central Florida area near the end of the last ice age, as they followed big game south. As the ice melted and sea levels rose, these Native Americans ended up staying and thrived on the peninsula for thousands of years. By the time the first Spanish conquistadors arrived, over 250,000 Native Americans were living on the peninsula. Some of these first early tribes were the Tocobago, Timucua, and Calusa. In 1527, a Spanish map showed a settlement near the Rio de la Paz. The arrival of the Spanish turned out to be disastrous to these Native American tribes. Within 150 years, the majority of the pre-Columbian Native American peoples of Florida had been wiped out. Those who had not succumbed to diseases such as smallpox or yellow fever were either killed or enslaved. Little is left of these first Native Americans cultures in Polk County except for scant archaeological records, including a few personal artifacts and shell mounds. Eventually, the remnants of these tribes merged with Creek Indians who arrived from the north and become the Seminole Indian tribe.

Early history

Lakeland fl
A view of Lakeland's business district, early 1920s

Florida became a state in 1845, and Polk County was established in 1861. After the American Civil War, the county seat was established southeast of Lakeland in Bartow. While most of the early history of Polk County centered on the two cities of Bartow and Fort Meade, eventually, people entered the areas in northern Polk County and began settling in the areas which became Lakeland.

Lakeland was first settled in the 1870s and began to develop as the rail lines reached the area in 1884. It was incorporated January 1, 1885. The town was founded by Abraham Munn (a resident of Louisville, Kentucky), who purchased 80 acres (320,000 m2) of land in what is now downtown Lakeland in 1882 and platted the land for the town in 1884. Lakeland was named for the many lakes near the town site.

In April 1898, the Spanish–American War began and started a crucial point in Lakeland's development. While the war ended quickly and had little impact on most of the nation, the Florida peninsula was used as a launch point for the war and the then small town of Lakeland housed over 9,000 troops.

The Florida boom resulted in the construction of many significant structures in Lakeland, a number of which are today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This list includes the Terrace Hotel, New Florida Hotel (Regency Tower, currently Lake Mirror Tower), Polk Theatre, Frances Langford Promenade, Polk Museum of Art (not a product of the 1920s boom), Park Trammell Building (formerly the Lakeland Public Library and today the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce), and others. The city also has several historic districts with many large buildings built during the 1920s and 1940s. The Cleveland Indians held spring training there from 1923 to 1927 at Henley Field Ball Park. Parks were developed surrounding Lake Mirror including Barnett Children's Park, Hollis Gardens, and the newest, Allen Kryger Park.

The "boom" period went "bust" quickly, and years passed before the city recovered. Part of the re-emergence was due to the arrival of the Detroit Tigers in 1934 for spring training. (The team continues to train at Lakeland's Joker Marchant Stadium and owns the city's Florida State League team, the Lakeland Flying Tigers.) The development of the Lakeland Municipal Airport as a major facility in central Florida transportation was another factor. The 1930s also featured the arrival of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1938, he came to Lakeland at the request of Florida Southern College President Ludd Spivey to design a "great education temple in Florida." For 20 years, Wright worked on his "true American campus" creation. In his original master plan, he called for 18 buildings (and several other structures), nine of which were completed and nine left on the drawing board. All of the buildings were built out of what Wright called his "textile block system", the first use of such a system in Florida. He called his project "A Child of the Sun", so named from the architect's own description of being "out of the ground, into the light, a child of the sun." It is the largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world, and in many ways helped to form a pattern for many colleges in Florida and other areas of the country in the future years.

Lakeland Cox School01
The John F. Cox Grammar School opened in 1925, now repurposed as the clinic for Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine

From World War II to present

During World War II, hundreds of young British airmen were taught to fly at Lakeland's Lodwick Airfield by volunteer flight instructors, a collection of barnstormers, and independent pilots. Later, when America entered the war, the Army Air Corps relied on training fields like Lodwick to train pilots for its fighters, bombers, and transport planes.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 67 sq mi (173.5 km2), of which 45.84 sq mi (118.7 km2) is land and 5.61 sq mi (14.5 km2) (10.90%) is covered by water. Lakeland is located within the Central Florida Highlands area of the Atlantic coastal plain, with a terrain consisting of flatland interspersed with gently rolling hills.

Lakes

Lakeland FLAUSA lake Mirror
Lake Mirror Park in downtown Lakeland is lined by City Hall and Lakeland Terrace Hotel.

The dominant feature in Lakeland is the city's many lakes. Thirty-eight lakes are named, with a number of other bodies of water unnamed, mostly phosphate mine pits that eventually filled with water. The largest of these is Lake Parker, which is 2,550 acres (10.3 km2) in size. Much of the culture of Lakeland revolves around its many lakes, and many people use the lakes as reference points in much the same way that people in other towns use streets as reference points, such as "I live near Lake Beulah." In addition to Lake Parker, some of the more prominent lakes in the Lakeland area are Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Morton, Lake Mirror, and Lake Gibson.

Swans are one of the most visible features on the lakes of Lakeland. They have a long history, the first swans appearing around 1923. By 1954, the swans were gone, eradicated by alligators and pets. A Lakeland resident who mourned the passing of the swans wrote to Queen Elizabeth. The royal family allowed the capture of two of the royal swans, and the swans now on the lakes of Lakeland are the descendants of the royal swans sent by the queen.

In July 2006, Scott Lake, one of the city's lakes, was almost totally drained by a cluster of sinkholes. The lake later partially refilled .

Climate

Lakeland, like most other parts of Florida north of Lake Okeechobee, is located in the humid subtropical zone (Köppen climate classification: Cfa). Typically, summers are hot and humid with high temperatures seldom dropping below 90 °F and 70 °F for the overnight low. Like most of Central Florida, afternoon thunderstorms are the norm throughout the summer. Winters in Lakeland are drier and mild, with frequent sunny skies. High temperatures range in the low 70s during the day, with lows in the 50s. Rare cold snaps drop temperatures below freezing every few years.

Climate data for Lakeland (LAL), 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1948-present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 87
(30.6)
90
(32.2)
92
(33.3)
95
(35)
103
(39.4)
105
(40.6)
102
(38.9)
100
(37.8)
98
(36.7)
96
(35.6)
93
(33.9)
87
(30.6)
105
(40.6)
Average high °F (°C) 73.6
(23.11)
76.9
(24.94)
81.0
(27.22)
85.7
(29.83)
90.7
(32.61)
93.2
(34)
93.9
(34.39)
94.2
(34.56)
91.7
(33.17)
86.6
(30.33)
79.9
(26.61)
74.5
(23.61)
85.2
(29.56)
Average low °F (°C) 50.2
(10.11)
52.5
(11.39)
56.2
(13.44)
60.0
(15.56)
66.5
(19.17)
71.7
(22.06)
72.8
(22.67)
73.1
(22.83)
72.1
(22.28)
66.0
(18.89)
58.5
(14.72)
52.3
(11.28)
62.7
(17.06)
Record low °F (°C) 20
(-6.7)
27
(-2.8)
25
(-3.9)
35
(1.7)
47
(8.3)
56
(13.3)
64
(17.8)
63
(17.2)
62
(16.7)
42
(5.6)
28
(-2.2)
20
(-6.7)
20
(-6.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.59
(65.8)
2.67
(67.8)
3.68
(93.5)
2.54
(64.5)
3.19
(81)
8.74
(222)
7.88
(200.2)
7.51
(190.8)
6.10
(154.9)
2.60
(66)
1.79
(45.5)
2.88
(73.2)
52.17
(1,325.1)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.8 7.4 7.8 6.4 7.5 14.4 17.1 16.8 12.4 6.9 6.4 5.9 116.8
Sunshine hours 203.2 209.4 258.2 302.1 306.7 255.8 255.4 248.9 226.5 239.9 213.4 203.5 2,923.0

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 552
1900 1,180 113.8%
1910 3,719 215.2%
1920 7,062 89.9%
1930 18,554 162.7%
1940 22,068 18.9%
1950 30,851 39.8%
1960 41,350 34.0%
1970 42,803 3.5%
1980 47,406 10.8%
1990 70,576 48.9%
2000 78,452 11.2%
2010 97,422 24.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
Lakeland Demographics
2010 Census Lakeland Polk County Florida
Total population 97,422 602,095 18,801,310
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010 +24.2% +24.4% +17.6%
Population density 1,492.6/sq mi 334.9/sq mi 350.6/sq mi
White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic) 70.8% 75.2% 75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian) 63.1% 64.6% 57.9%
Black or African-American 20.9% 14.8% 16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 12.6% 17.7% 22.5%
Asian 1.8% 1.6% 2.4%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.3% 0.4% 0.4%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Two or more races (Multiracial) 2.7% 2.4% 2.5%
Some Other Race 2.6% 5.5% 3.6%

As of 2010, 48,218 households were in the city, with 15.5% being vacant. As of 2000, 23.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39% were individuals and nontraditional families. About 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.82.

As of the 2010 census, the city was 20.9% Black or African American, 70.8% White, 0.3% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian, and 2.7% were two or more races. Of the population 12.6% were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.

In 2000, the city the population was spread out, with 21.4% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 23.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $16,119, and for a family was $17,468. Males had a median income of $14,137 versus $9,771 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,760. About 47% of families and 35% of the population were below the poverty line, including 97% of those under age 18 and 9% of those age 65 or over. In 2008–2012, the per capita income was $23,817 and the median household income was $40,284. Persons below the poverty line in 2008–2012 were 17.5% according to the US Census.

Languages

As of 2000, those who spoke only English at home accounted for 91% of all residents, while 9% spoke other languages at home. The most significant were Spanish speakers who made up 6.4% of the population, while German came up as the third-most spoken language, which made up 0.8%, and French was fourth, with 0.5% of the population.

Religion

Pfeiffer Chapel HABS, FLA,53-LAKE,1A-14
Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

In 1913, the Wolfson family arrived from Lithuania and became the first Jewish settlers to the area. After some struggles, the Jewish community in Lakeland flourished and the first synagogue, Temple Emanuel opened in 1932.

The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute presents classes and seminars in Lakewood in partnership with Chabad of Lakeland.

Lakeland is home to the Swaminarayan Hindu Temple, which was established in 2005.

In 1994, the first and only mosque in the county was established. It was called Masjid Aisha, but is now called the Islamic Center of Lakeland.

Christianity makes up the largest religious group in Lakeland. As of 2013, an estimated 300 churches existed with an address in the city.

Culture

Historic districts

Lakeland Munn Park Hist Dist01
Munn Park
  • Beacon Hill-Alta Vista Residential District
  • Biltmore-Cumberland Historic District
  • Dixieland Historic District
  • East Lake Morton Residential District
  • Lake Hunter Terrace Historic District
  • Munn Park Historic District
  • South Lake Morton Historic District

Buildings and locations

CenterState Bank Building Century Plaza
Century Plaza in downtown Lakeland.
Lakeland Lake Mirror Promenade05
Frances Langford Promenade
  • Central Avenue School
  • Cleveland Court School
  • John F. Cox Grammar School
  • Florida Southern College
  • Henley Field Ball Park
  • Joker Marchant Stadium
  • Frances Langford Promenade
  • Lakeland Center
  • Lakeland Square Mall
  • Lakeside Village
  • Old Lakeland High School
  • James Henry Mills Medal of Honor Parkway
  • Oates Building
  • Polk Community College
  • Polk Museum of Art
  • Polk Theatre
  • Southeastern University (Florida)
  • USA International Speedway
  • Florida Polytechnic University
  • Winston School
  • Without Walls Central Church - a local/regional megachurch
  • Silvermoon Drive-in

Media

Polk County is within the Tampa Bay television market. Bright House Networks is the cable television franchise serving Lakeland, which offers most television stations from the Tampa Bay market, as well as WFTV, the ABC affiliate from Orlando. WMOR-TV, an independent television station, is licensed to Lakeland, with its studios in Tampa and its transmitter in Riverview.

Lakeland and Polk County are within its own radio market. Local radio stations include:

  • WLKF 1430 AM
  • WONN 1230 AM
  • WWAB 1330 AM
  • WPCV 97.5 FM
  • WWRZ 98.3 FM

WLLD 94.1 FM is licensed to Lakeland, but has wider focus on the Tampa Bay area, with studios in St. Petersburg. WKES 91.1 FM is also licensed to Lakeland as part of the statewide Moody Radio Florida network, with studios in Seminole, near St. Petersburg. Most major stations from Tampa Bay and a few from Orlando are also available.

The local newspaper is The Ledger, owned by Halifax Media Group.

The city magazine is "The Lakelander" published by Patterson Publishing

Popular culture

Lakeland FL Southgate Shopping Center01
Southgate Shopping Center

In 1990, Lakeland made its Hollywood debut when the Southgate Shopping Center was featured in the movie Edward Scissorhands. It was also used in the filming of the Judd Nelson movie Endure. Classrooms from Florida Southern College were used in the Adam Sandler comedy, The Waterboy.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Because Lakeland is the largest city on Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando, the city is an important transportation hub. The county nickname, Imperial Polk County, was coined because a large bond issue in 1914 enabled wide roads between the cities of Polk County.

The important freeways and highways in Lakeland today are:

  • Interstate 4 is the main interstate in central Florida linking Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, and Daytona Beach.
  • Polk Parkway, or SR 570, is a tolled beltway around Lakeland, with both ends terminating at Interstate 4. Although its shape, location, and tolls makes it impractical as a "bypass" road, it is useful as a way of getting from part of town to another and providing access to I-4 from most parts of the city.
  • US 92, following Memorial Boulevard for most of the city, was the route leading to both Tampa and Orlando before I-4 was built; US 92 is still a main road leading to Plant City going west, and Auburndale, Winter Haven, and Haines City going east.
  • US 98, going south, follows Bartow Road and leads to Bartow, the county seat. Heading north out of town, it provides a route to Dade City.
  • State Road 33, following mostly rural land, provides access to Lake County and the Florida Turnpike.
  • State Road 37, following Florida Avenue, the main north–south route in Lakeland, is also the main road leading south to Mulberry.
  • State Road 540, Winter-Lake Road, is in southern Lakeland, leading to Winter Haven and Legoland Florida.

Bicycle routes

In recent years, the Lakeland area has developed a number of paved, multi-use bicycle routes including the Lake-To-Lakes Trail, which runs from Lake Parker through downtown, past several lakes, ending at Lake John. Other routes include University Trail, which connects Polk State College to Florida Polytechnic University, and the Fort Fraser Trail, which runs along US Highway 98 from Polk State College to Highway 60 in Bartow.

Public transportation

Lakeland FL Amtrak station01
Lakeland Amtrak Station
  • Lakeland Amtrak Station
  • Lakeland Linder International Airport In 2017, Linder received its first international flight and was renamed Lakeland Linder International Airport in 2018.
  • Lakeland Greyhound Terminal
  • Citrus Connection local bus service.

Utilities

Water and wastewater in the Lakeland area is managed by Lakeland Water Utilities, municipal water supply is treated at local water plants, T.B. Williams and C. Wayne Combee. The water is mainly supplied by wells that draw from the Floridan aquifer. Power is generated by a nonprofit public power utility, Lakeland Electric.

Lakeland Electric is a municipal utility and government department of the city of Lakeland, Florida.

Lakeland was the third city in the state of Florida to have electric lighting powered in 1891 by The Lakeland Light and Power Company after Jacksonville and Tampa. Over a decade later in 1904, citizens purchased the private light power plant for $7,500 establishing the locally owned, municipal utility known today as Lakeland Electric.

Power plants

Lakeland Electric powers the city of Lakeland by two power plants, C.D. McIntosh Power Plant, coal-natural gas combined cycle plant slated to phase out in 2024, and Larsen Memorial.

The last coal unit at C.D. McIntosh Power Plant is slated to phase out in 2024 a plan presented by the Lakeland Electric staff in 2019.

Sister cities

See also: List of sister cities in the United States

Economy

Publix Corporate Headquarters Main Entrance Sign, Lakeland Florida
Publix headquarters

Lakeland is the largest city on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa. Large industries in the Lakeland area are citrus, cattle, and phosphate mining. In the past few decades, tourism, medicine, insurance, transportation, and music have grown in importance.

Citrus growing dates back to the early settlers who planted trees in the area in the 1850s. After a series of freezes in counties north of Polk County, the area became the focal point for citrus growing in Florida. Although citrus is no longer the largest industry in the area, it still plays a large part in the economy of Lakeland and Polk County.

Phosphate mining is still important to the economy of Lakeland, although most of the mining now takes place farther south. The Bone Valley produced 25% of the U.S. phosphate supply.

Lakeland's largest employer is Publix Supermarkets. Publix is one of the largest regional grocery chains in the United States with over 1,200 stores across the American South. Publix employs over 6,500 people in the Lakeland area including headquarter and warehouse employees.

Lakeland is a transportation hub. FedEx Freight and FedEx Services and the Saddle Creek Corporation employ over 600 people in the area. Other large employers in the area include Amazon, GEICO, Rooms To Go, and Lakeland Regional Health.

Sports

Club Sport Founded Current League Stadium
Lakeland Flying Tigers Baseball 1963 Florida State League Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium
Gulf Coast League Tigers Baseball 1995 Gulf Coast League Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium
Southeastern Fire Football 2014 NAIA Victory Field
Florida Tropics SC Indoor soccer 2016 Major Arena Soccer League RP Funding Center
Lakeland Magic Basketball 2017 NBA G League RP Funding Center
Lakeland Tropics Soccer 2017 USL League Two Bryant Stadium
Lakeland Renegades Rugby league 2019 USA Rugby League All Saints' Academy
Lakeland NightShade eSports 2019 Florida eSports League

Stadiums

Joker Marchant Stadium, north of downtown, hosts spring training for the Detroit Tigers, as well as their Lakeland Flying Tigers class-A Florida State League and GCL Tigers rookie-league Gulf Coast League minor league baseball teams.

RP Funding Center is also home to two indoor sports teams. The Lakeland Magic is a basketball team playing in the NBA G League and is an affiliate of the Orlando Magic. The Florida Tropics SC is an indoor soccer team playing in the Major Arena Soccer League. The Tropics organization also operates an outdoor team, the Lakeland Tropics, which competes in the Premier Development League. The Florida Tarpons were an indoor football team playing in the American Arena League for one season after relocating from Estero, Florida.

History of sports teams

In the 1980s, the Lakeland Center briefly played host to the indoor version of the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team. The Lakeland Center has also hosted a few hockey teams, the Lakeland Ice Warriors, the Lakeland Prowlers, and the Lakeland Loggerheads. The United States Basketball League once had a team here as well called the Lakeland Blue Ducks. Sun 'n Fun was home to Lakeland's only roller derby league, the Lakeland Derby Dames; however, the team was dissolved in November 2015.

The Lakeland Center also hosts the Florida High School Athletic Association's state basketball finals.

Education

The 28 elementary schools, seven middle schools, six traditional high schools, and three magnet-choice high schools in the Lakeland area are run by the Polk County School Board.

Traditional public high schools

  • Mulberry Senior High School
  • George W. Jenkins High School
  • Kathleen High School
  • Lake Gibson High School
  • Lakeland Senior High School
  • Tenoroc High School

Magnet high schools

  • Central Florida Aerospace Academy
  • Lois Cowles Harrison Center for the Visual and Performing Arts
  • Polk State College Lakeland Collegiate High School

Traditional public middle schools

  • Kathleen Middle School
  • Lake Gibson Middle School
  • Crystal Lake Middle school
  • Sleepy Hill Middle School
  • Lakeland Highlands Middle School
  • Southwest Middle School

Magnet middle schools

  • Lawton Chiles Middle School
  • Rochelle School of the Arts (elementary and middle)

Charter schools

  • McKeel Academy of Technology
  • Lakeland Montessori Schoolhouse
  • Lakeland Montessori Middle School
  • Lakeland Collegiate High school
  • Magnolia Montessori Academy

Private schools

  • Calvary Baptist Church Academy
  • Geneva Classical Academy
  • Heritage Christian Academy
  • Lakeland Christian Preparatory School
  • Lakeland Christian School
  • Parkway Christian Academy
  • Resurrection Catholic School
  • Santa Fe Catholic High School
  • Sonrise Christian School
  • St Anthony
  • St Joseph
  • St Lukes
  • St Paul Lutheran School
  • Victory Christian Academy
  • Excel Christian Academy

Colleges and universities

  • Everest University
  • Florida Polytechnic University
  • Florida Southern College
  • Florida Technical College
  • Keiser University
  • Webster University
  • Polk State College
  • Southeastern University
  • Whitefield Theological Seminary
Florida Polytechnic University (25811685378)
The IST building of Florida Polytechnic University

A number of opportunities exist for higher education around the Lakeland area. Southeastern University is the largest university in the area, with undergraduate enrollment around 6200. Southeastern is affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Florida Southern College, established in 1883 and with a current undergraduate enrollment of just over 2600, is on Lake Hollingsworth. Florida Southern is the home of the world's largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. In July 2008, the University of South Florida's Lakeland campus was granted partial autonomy by Governor Charlie Crist and became Florida Polytechnic University. Florida Polytechnic (FLPoly) is just inside the Lakeland's northeast border at the intersection of I-4 and Polk Parkway. They also have some administrative offices on the campus of Polk State College on Winter Lake Road. FLPoly is focused on STEM degree programs, such as engineering and computer science. Both Everest University and Keiser University, two multisite, accredited universities, have locations in Lakeland. Traviss Career Center is a vocational school. Webster University offers on-site, regionally accredited graduate degree programs in business and counseling at their Lakeland Metropolitan Campus

Media

See also: List of newspapers in Florida, List of radio stations in Florida, and List of television stations in Florida

Polk County is within the Tampa Bay television market. Charter Spectrum is the cable television franchise serving Lakeland, which offers most television stations from the Tampa Bay market, as well as WFTV, the ABC affiliate from Orlando. WMOR-TV, an independent television station, is licensed to Lakeland, with its studios in Tampa and its transmitter in Riverview.

Lakeland and Polk County are within its own radio market. Local radio stations include:

  • WLKF 1430 AM
  • WONN 1230 AM
  • WWAB 1330 AM
  • WPCV 97.5 FM
  • WWRZ 98.3 FM

WLLD 94.1 FM is licensed to Lakeland, but has wider focus on the Tampa Bay area, with studios in St. Petersburg. WKES 91.1 FM is also licensed to Lakeland as part of the statewide Moody Radio Florida network, with studios in Seminole, near St. Petersburg. Most major stations from Tampa Bay and a few from Orlando are also available.

Print media include The Ledger, a local newspaper owned by Gannett. Patterson Jacobs Media Group publishes a magazine, The Lakelander.

Notable people

Entertainment

  • Nat Adderley, jazz cornetist and composer
  • Lindsey Alley, Mouseketeer and actress
  • Bobby Braddock, record producer in Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Howard J. Buss, composer
  • Charleene Closshey, film/Broadway actress, musician, and producer
  • Copeland, pop/alternative rock band
  • Jonny Diaz, Christian musician
  • Faith Evans, singer
  • Stephen Baron Johnson, painter
  • Frances Langford, singer, actress, and radio star (1930s and 1940s)
  • Neva Jane Langley, Miss America 1953
  • Mike Marshall, bluegrass musician and mandolinist
  • Robert Phillips, guitarist
  • Lauren Miller Rogen, actress
  • Forrest Sawyer, NBC reporter and anchor
  • SoulJa, rapper
  • Steve1989MREInfo, YouTube personality
  • J. D. Sumner, singer and songwriter
  • Dan White (1908–1980), American actor in film and television
  • Monte Yoho, drummer for Outlaws

Sports

Other

  • Charles T. Canady, Chief Justice, Florida Supreme Court
  • Lawton Chiles, Senator and Governor of Florida
  • Carol Jenkins Barnett, philanthropist and businesswoman, the daughter of George W. Jenkins
  • George W. Jenkins, founder of Publix Super Markets
  • R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Marvin Pipkin, scientist engineer that had many inventions and innovations for the light bulb.
  • Gene Ready, Florida businessman and state legislator
  • Charles Z. Smith, Associate Justice, Washington State Supreme Court
  • Park Trammell, Mayor of Lakeland, Florida Attorney General, Governor of Florida and U.S. Senator
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