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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 bought
           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 established 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 laid out streets
           and began selling lots in his 80 acre 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, opened 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 Avenue, Lakeland.      

           Lakeland lighted by electricity for the first time. 

1895   “Great freeze” destroyed 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. 

1917  Former President Theodore Roosevelt spoke to a crowd of 3000 in
            Munn Park on April 1.

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

1924    Lakeland Terrace Hotel opened. 

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

           New City Hall opened on Massachusetts Avenue.

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

1928   Lake Mirror Promenade dedicated.

           Carpenters’ Home opened.

           Polk Theatre opened. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1948   Babe Ruth visited Lakeland during spring training. 

1951   George Jenkins moved Publix corporate headquarters to
           Lakeland. 

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

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

1957   Queen Elizabeth donated two swans to Lakeland. 

1960   Lakeland celebrated its Diamond Jubilee. 

1966   New Lakeland Public Library opened on Lake Morton.

1972   First Mayfaire held on the library lawn. 

1974   First Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in held. 

1976  Carpenters' Home closed.

1977   It snowed in Lakeland. 

1980   President Jimmy Carter visited Lakeland. 

1985   Lakeland celebrated its centennial. 

1988   Lakeland Square Mall opened. 

1989   Restoration of Munn Park began.

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

1993  George Jenkins High School opened for classes. 

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

1996   Publix Supermarket founder George Jenkins died. 

1998   Lakeland native and Florida governor Lawton Chiles died. 

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

1999    Restored and renovated Lake Mirror Park dedicated. 

2000    Hollis Gardens opened to the public. 

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

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

2005   Lakeside Village shopping center opened in south Lakeland. 

2006   Allen Kryger Overlook Park established on Lake Mirror. 

2007  The e-library opened 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 opened .

2015  Larry Giddens appointed Chief of Police

2017 Newly renovated Joker Marchant Stadium, spring training home of the Detroit Tigers, opened featuring Publix Field