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
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
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 moves to
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
1934 Detroit Tigers arrive in Lakeland for spring training for the
1935 Lakeland Municipal Airport opened at present site of Tiger
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
1954 Lakeland Police Department hires its first African-American
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.
1976 Carpenters' Home closes.
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
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
2005 Lake Mirror Tower (formerly New Florida Hotel) opens as an
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
2013 Howard Wiggs elected mayor.
2014 Florida Polytechnic University opens.