Lakeland, Florida facts for kids
|City of Lakeland|
Location in Polk County and the state of Florida
|Incorporated (city)||January 1, 1885|
|• City||74.4 sq mi (193 km2)|
|• Land||68.79 sq mi (178.2 km2)|
|• Water||5.61 sq mi (14.5 km2) 10.9%|
|Elevation||197 ft (60 m)|
|• Density||1,711/sq mi (660.8/km2)|
|Census Bureau American Community Survey|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0294459|
|Twinned with Richmond Hill, Ontario|
Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States, east of Tampa. According to the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 100,710. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area (coterminous with Polk County), which had an estimated population of 623,009 in July 2013 based on data from the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research. It is twinned with Richmond Hill, Ontario; Imabari, Ehime, Japan; Balti, Moldova; Portmore, Jamaica; and Chongming County, Shanghai, China as part of the Sister Cities program.
The area was home to Native American tribes. Lakeland was settled in the 1870s and expanded in the 1880s with the arrival of rail service. Lakeland is home to the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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|
|Record high °F (°C)||87
|Average high °F (°C)||73.6
|Average low °F (°C)||50.2
|Record low °F (°C)||20
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.59
|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|
|2010 Census||Lakeland||Polk County||Florida|
|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%|
|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. 12.6% of the population 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.
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 6.44% of the population, while German came up as the third-most spoken language, which made up 0.75%, and French was fourth, with 0.51% of the population.
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.
In 1994, the first and only mosque was established. It was called Masjid Aisha, but is now called the Islamic Center of Lakeland. It was remodeled in 2011. It is located on the corner of Providence and Orange Blossom.
Christianity makes up the largest religious group in Lakeland. As of 2013, an estimated 300 churches existed with an address in the city.
- 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
- 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
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
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.
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.
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.
- Lakeland Amtrak Station
- Lakeland Linder Regional Airport
- Lakeland Greyhound Terminal
- Citrus Connection local bus service.
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