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Resources for Historic Preservation


  • Lakeland Public Library Special Collections

    The mission of the Special Collections unit of the Lakeland Public Library is to acquire, preserve and make accessible to researchers materials which document Lakeland's history. The materials focus specifically on the city's people, institutions, organizations, industries and events. Materials relating to Polk County and the state of Florida are also acquired as those items have a Lakeland connection. The collections consist of records, manuscripts, printed and published material, maps, photographs, films, videotapes, audio cassettes, scrapbooks, posters, news clips, newsletters and ephemera, especially postcards and citrus labels. The unit also maintains an index to obituaries in The Ledger from 1911 to 1975 and 1999 to the present and an index to deaths in Polk County between 1975 and 1998.

    Though the Lakeland Room is not a museum, the unit will on occasion accept artwork and artifacts that have a direct connection to the city. The holdings of Special Collections are in a variety of formats, including manuscripts, photographs, books, and scrapbooks. The manuscript materials consist of personal papers and business records of a number of prominent citizens of Lakeland, including Norman Riggins, Herbert Drane, Columbus Dean, Albert Lodwick, and the Carter family. Also included are the records of such civic organizations and social clubs as the Lakeland Chapter of the DAR, the Sorosis Club, the Woman's Club, and Historic Lakeland.

    The Special Collections unit is home to more than 10,000 photographic prints and negatives documenting Lakeland from the turn of the century to the present. Among the most significant of these collections is the Earl Morgan Savage Collection, with its many photos of Lakeland's developing downtown district in the 1920's, and the Dan Sanborn Collection which documents Lakeland's growth and development from the 1930's to the 1960's. The collection of books, pamphlets, other printed materials and maps has been specifically developed to document the history and development of Lakeland and, to a lesser extent, Polk County and the state of Florida as a whole. Most of the items in the collection are monographs, although there are also periodicals, maps, directories, and municipal, county, and state publications. The scrapbooks in the collection document the activities of a number of organizations in Lakeland and are often the only evidence of the organization's existence.

  • Historic Lakeland, Inc.

    Historic Lakeland, Inc. (HLI) is a not for profit organization dedicated to promoting appreciation of Lakeland’s unique architectural heritage, advocating for the preservation of its historic structures and using our City’s past to guide our community’s future.

    Historic Lakeland, Inc. was founded in 1979 for the preservation of 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, HLI has acted as the community’s conscience in matters of preservation.

    Despite HLI’s success in its mission to “promote awareness, understanding, and an appreciation of Lakeland’s history, and to insure the preservation of those things that represent the character of our city and are significant to its history,” advocacy is still needed in preventing the demolition of irreplaceable buildings. Historic Lakeland has actively worked to save the old Lakeland High School Building (now Lawton Chiles Middle Academy), the Lakeland Terrace Hotel, the New Florida Hotel (now Lake Mirror Tower) and the Coca-Cola Building (now the Lakeland Fire Department Administration Building), as well as assist in restoration of the Polk Theatre.

    Annually HLI recognizes owners of commercial and residential structures in Lakeland who have rehabilitated 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 Historic Preservation Month in May.

  • Historical Window Replacement

    The windows on many historic buildings are an important aspect of the architectural character of those buildings. Their design, craftsmanship, or other qualities may make them worthy of preservation. This is self-evident for ornamental windows, but it can be equally true for warehouses or factories where the windows may be the most dominant visual element of an otherwise plain building. Evaluating the significance of these windows and planning for their repair or replacement can be a complex process involving both objective and subjective considerations.

    The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and the accompanying guidelines, call for respecting the significance of original materials and features, repairing and retaining them wherever possible, and when necessary, replacing them in kind. This Brief is based on the issues of significance and repair which are implicit in the standards, but the primary emphasis is on the technical issues of planning for the repair of windows including evaluation of their physical condition, techniques of repair, and design considerations when replacement is necessary.

    The Repair of Historic Wooden Windows

  • Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service

    Preservation Briefs provide in-depth information about various aspects of historic preservation. Many provide guidance on the appropriate treatment of traditional building materials such as slate roofing, plaster, and masonry. Others address architectural features including storefronts and porches, or focus on the reuse of specific building types such as historic gas stations and barns. Additionally, this publication series covers broader themes such as how to understand architectural character and making historic buildings accessible.

  • Lakeland Downtown Development Authority

    The LDDA was created by a special act of the State Legislature in 1977 upon request of local leaders. Downtown Lakeland had declined just as other downtowns and consultants suggested this organized method of addressing redevelopment. The LDDA is a special taxing district, which levies up to 2 mills tax on real property within our district. Downtown property owners voted in 1978 to levy the tax on themselves and no subsequent votes have been held on this issue. A seven-member board governs the agency. Six of the members elected by district property owners and the seventh is a City Commissioner appointed by the Mayor.

    The LDDA advocates for downtown and its investors, and lobbies the City to make physical improvements according to a plan adopted by both entities.

  • The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation

    The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation advocates for legislation and funding in support of historic preservation on behalf of Florida’s many historic sites, museums and parks. We represent Florida’s preservation community through public and media outreach. We empower and support local preservationists by publicizing Florida’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Sites each year, and through our preservation awards program we recognize exemplary efforts in historic preservation.

  • The Florida Division of Historical Resources

    The Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources (DHR) is responsible for preserving and promoting Florida’s historical, archaeological, and folk culture resources. The Division Director’s office oversees a Historic Preservation Grants program to help preserve and maintain Florida’s historic buildings and archaeological sites; coordinates outreach programs such as the State Historical Markers program and the Florida Folklife program which identifies and promotes the state's traditional culture. DHR directs historic preservation efforts throughout the state in cooperation with state and federal agencies, local governments, private organizations, and individuals. The Division director serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, acting as the liaison with the national historic preservation program conducted by the National Park Service.

  • National Trust for Historic Preservation

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. We are the cause that inspires Americans to save the places where history happened. The cause that connects us to our diverse pasts, weaving a multi-cultural nation together. The cause that transforms communities from places where we live into places that we love. As the leading voice for preservation, we are the cause for people saving places.  Our mission is to protect significant places representing our diverse cultural experience by taking direct action and inspiring broad public support.