Before & After: Rare Historic Photos of Lakeland, FL

History of Lakeland, FL

Lakeland, FL has a long history. It started as a cow-town that was just a small train stop right before Tampa. But it grew significantly in the 1920’s. Most of the historic buildings were built in that time frame. We are going to go over some extremely rare an unseen archival photos that showcase how the city has grown into the large city it is today.


1) Picture of Cleveland Heights boulevard and lake Hollingsworth drive take 1924

This is a photo taken at the intersection of Lake Hollinsworth Dr and Cleveland Heights Looking Southward  The sign says "Cleveland Heights For More Information See your real Estate broker Buy and Build your home in "Lakelands Finest Residential Section"
Cleveland Heights Boulevard Historic Photo Lakeland, FL

This was a picture taken of the Cleveland Heights subdivision before it was built circa 1920’s. The developer was named H. A. Stahl who was from Cleveland, Ohio and named the subdivision after his hometown. There are many historic homes around this area that were built during this time frame, all of them share the same Mediterranean Revival Architecture popular of the time period. H.A Stahl lost everything during the stock market crash of 1929 that started the great depression. He died of a heart attack in 1931.

Here is what it looks like now:


2) historic scene of lake mirror Lakeland, FL taken ~ 1910

Scene on lake Mirror Lakeland, FL

Lake Mirror’s beauty was unsurpassed in Lakeland. It’s now known for its swans but in the past, it was a popular bathing spot. It is almost unrecognizable today and is located in the heart of downtown Lakeland.


3) Florida Southern college- overlooking lake hollingsworth- 1925- historic photo

Florida Southern College, Overlooking Lake Hollingsworth Lakeland, FL 25

Florida Southern College was found in 1885 and is a major contributor to Lakeland’s historic architecture of South Lakeland.

Here is what it looks like now:

From the back of the picture

“Located in a 60-acre orange grove overlooking Lake Hollingsworth, this co-educational college offers regular academic degrees and special courses in dramatics, music, and teacher training”


4) Aerial View of Lake Mirror Showing Downtown Lakeland, Florida- Looking West

Aerial view of Downtown Lakeland taken in the early 1930s
Aerial Hand Drawn view of Lakeland, FL

5) Airplane view of (Florida) southern college on lake Hollingsworth

Florida Southern College Historic Aerial photo

This is an aerial view of the famous Florida Southern College before Frank Llyod Wright built the trademark architecture of the college. On the right is Lake Hollingsworth.


6) Picture of main street Lakeland, FL

Main Street Lakeland, FL

This picture is a bit difficult to wrap your head around today. The city underwent some changes and changed some of the streets. I think that a large building on the right-hand side is the terrace hotel. The picture was taken at the corner of South Florida and Main street looking towards Lake Mirror. The interesting thing here is the little orange building in the center of the picture. That is no longer there. That was where there were little outdoor shops. That is now a road.

Here is what it looks like now:

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