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TIMELINE LISTING KEY EVENTS IN LAKELAND HISTORY

LAKELAND TIMELINE

1849   John Hollingsworth built a home on the southeast shore   
           of the lake that bears his name. 

1882   Louisville, Kentucky businessman Abraham Munn buys
           80 acres of land in Polk County sight unseen.  That 80
           acres was to become the heart of downtown Lakeland. 

1883   Lakeland pioneer settler Herbert Drane establishes a camp
           on Lake Wire with his railroad construction crew.  He made
           Lakeland his home for the next 64 years. 

1884   Munn’s Lakeland Improvement Company lays out streets
           and begins selling lots in his 80 acres tract and makes
           provisions for a city park in the center of his plat. 

           The African-American Moorehead community settled near
           Lake Beulah. 

1885    Lakeland was incorporated as a town on January 1. 

            Hotel Tremont, Lakeland’s first hotel, opens at the corner
            of East Main and Massachusetts. 

           The First Presbyterian Church was built on Tennessee Ave. 

1891   All Saints Episcopal Church was moved from the small town
           of Acton to Massachuetts Ave., Lakeland.      

           Lakeland lighted by electricity for the first time. 

1895   “Great freeze” destroys the citrus crop. 

1898   9000 soldiers camp in Lakeland awaiting transport to fight
           in the Spanish-  American War in Cuba. 

1904   Lakeland Electric established when the city buys a privately
           owned electric utility. 

1908   Lakeland Fire Department organized.

           City Park renamed Munn Park in honor of Abraham Munn. 

1912   Park Trammell of Lakeland elected governor of Florida

           Booker T. Washington spoke to a crowd of 2000 at the city
           ball field. 

1914   Louisville Cardinals of the American Association become the
           first baseball team to hold spring training in Lakeland. 

1922   Southern (now Florida Southern) College moves to
           Lakeland. 

1924    Lakeland Terrace hotel opens. 

1927   Lakeland’s first public library (now the Park Trammell
           Building) opens on Lake Morton.

           New City Hall opens on Massachusetts Avenue.

           Lakeland residents George Haldeman and Ruth Elder
           attempt a trans-Atlantic flight 5 months after Charles
           Lindbergh accomplished the feat. 

1928   Lake Mirror Promenade dedicated.

           Carpenters’ Home opens.

           Polk Theatre opens. 

1930   George Jenkins opens the first Publix Supermarket in
           Winter Haven. 

1934   Detroit Tigers arrive in Lakeland for spring training for the
           first time. 

1935   Lakeland Municipal Airport opened at present site of Tiger
           Town. 

1938   Frank Lloyd Wright makes the first of his many visits to
           Florida Southern College. 

1940   Lakeland (later Lodwick) School of Aeronautics opens at the
           present site of Tiger Town. 

1942   Lakeland Army Air Field (Drane Field) opens at the present
           site of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. 

1946   Promenade around Lake Mirror named for Lakeland
           resident Frances Langford. 

1948   Babe Ruth visits Lakeland during spring training. 

1951   George Jenkins moves Publix corporate headquarters to
           Lakeland. 

1954   Lakeland Police Department hires its first African-American
           officers. 

1956   Elvis Presley appears for 3 shows at the Polk Theatre. 

1957   Queen Elizabeth donates two swans to Lakeland. 

1960   Lakeland celebrates its Diamond Jubilee. 

1966   New Lakeland Public Library opens on Lake Morton.

1972   First Mayfaire held on the library lawn. 

1974   First Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in held. 

1977   It snows in Lakeland. 

1980   President Jimmy Carter visits Lakeland. 

1985   Lakeland celebrates its centennial. 

1988   Lakeland Square Mall opens. 

1989   Restoration of Munn Park begins.

           Frank O’Reilly first popularly elected mayor in Lakeland
           history. 

1993  George Jenkins High School opens. 

1995   Lakeland (now Larry R. Jackson) Branch Library opens. 

1996   Publix Supermarket founder George Jenkins dies. 

1998   Lakeland native and Florida governor Lawton Chiles dies. 

1999   Renovated Lakeland Terrace Hotel reopens after being
           closed for 12 years. 

1999    Restored and renovated Lake Mirror Park dedicated. 

2000    Hollis Gardens opens. 

2004   President George W.  Bush visits Lakeland during the
           presidential campaign. 

2005   Lake Mirror Tower (formerly New Florida Hotel) opens as an
           apartment building. 

2005   Lakeside Village shopping center opens in south Lakeland. 

2006   Allen Kryger Overlook Park opens on Lake Mirror. 

2007  The e-library opens in south Lakeland. 

2009  Gow Fields elected mayor.  First new mayor in 16 years.

2011  Lisa Womack, appointed Chief of police, first woman to hold that 
            position.

2013  Howard Wiggs elected mayor.

2014  Florida Polytechnic University opens