We advocate for the preservation of Lakeland's landmarks and buildings that reflect its diverse history and culture.
We believe that progress is not based upon the eradication of the old to make way for the new, but that both play a Vital Role in our community's growth and well-being.
By sharing stories about the history of Lakeland and its architecture, we educate present and future generations and hope they will continue promoting this civic work.
"Architecture has been called the art of building beautifully, a fixation of man’s thinking, and record of his activity… Keep in mind that last phrase. It is important. " - Ernst Johnson, architect, professor, colleague of Eero Saarinen
Historic Lakeland was founded in 1979 for the preservation of maintaining our architectural heritage. One of our first challenges was the Frances Langford Promenade on Lake Mirror which was in deplorable condition after years of neglect. Since then, we have acted as the community’s conscience in matters of preservation.
Despite Historic Lakeland’s success in its mission to “promote awareness, understanding, and an appreciation of Lakeland’s history, and to insure the preservation of those things which represent the character of our city and are significant to its history”, voices are still heard advocating demolition of important buildings. Historic Lakeland has actively worked to save the old Lakeland High School Building (now Lawton Chiles Middle Academy), the Lakeland Terrace Hotel and the Coca-Cola Building (now the Lakeland Fire Department). Sites not actually threatened by demolition, but beautifully restored by other groups include Munn Park, the Antiques District, the Polk Theatre and the John Cox Grammar School (Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine). For more details please view our Success Stories section, with pictures of some of these preservation efforts.
Historic Lakeland applauds these valuable additions to our community. Annually we recognize owners of commercial and residential structures in Lakeland who have renovated and/or restored their properties in a manner consistent with the historic character of the structure and the area surrounding it. Awards are presented at an event held during National Preservation Week in May.