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Scope and Content Note

Original Florida Tile factory, 1954

In 1954, Leon Sikes Sr. and his two sons James and Leon Jr. purchased a ceramic tile manufacturing company in Lakeland, Florida. Within 20 years it became the nation's second largest manufacturer of ceramic tile. They changed the name to Sikes Corporation in 1972 to reflect the addition of a carpet manufacturing plant in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Florida Tile was sold to Premark International in 1990, then to Illinois Tool works in 1999. On November 17, 2003 Florida Tile Industries Inc. announced it would close its Lakeland manufacturing plant.

This collection is composed of aerial photographs of the building on Lake Wire, Lakeland from 1954 to 1960 showing the enlargement of the plant as the business grew. A few of the photographs show the surrounding area of downtown Lakeland as far as Lakes Mirror and Morton to the east and Bonnet and Beulah to the west.

This collection also consists of 1989 correspondence from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Air Quality concerning various permits issued to the Sikes Corporation. It relates primarily to Sikes' construction of preparation plants, presses, and kilns.

Newspaper articles are located in the Vertical Files.