Frances Langford Promenade Columns Get a Face Lift
LAKELAND, FL (February 6, 2018) | Visitors around the Francis Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror may be wondering what construction crews are doing near the Albert Paley sculpture “Tribute to the Volunteer Spirit”. The four column clusters that frame the piece of art are being restored. The column clusters are in the area known as the Dixie Highway and they consist of five 15’ tall Corinthian precast columns that surround a center column that is 18’2” tall. Round light globes top each of the columns.
The column clusters were originally installed in 1926 as part of the original Lake Mirror Construction. In 1959 the columns were removed and replaced. In 2016, all four sets of columns were damaged after a windstorm. As a temporary fix, the columns were strapped and injected with epoxy until funding would be identified for the restoration.
A grant application was submitted in 2016 to the State of Florida Division of Historic Resources to assist in restoration funding. It was approved for funding in 2017. The cost of restoration is $198,995. The project is funded partially by the State of Florida Department of Historic Resources in the amount of $50,000 and the remainder is funded through the City’s 2018 Fiscal Year Public Improvement Capital Plan in the amount of $148,995. Rodda Construction has been awarded the bid to complete the renovation project that is expected to be completed summer 2018.
The restoration of the Dixie Highway Columns will include:
- The removal of all four sets of columns, salvaging the Corinthian caps and existing bases.
- Molds will be made to the existing columns and new columns will be cast from the molds.
- The Column clusters will be reassembled, rewired and the globe lamps will be reinstalled.
The Frances Langford Promenade is part of the City of Lakeland’s Lake Mirror Master Park Plan that includes Hollis Garden, the Lake Mirror Center, Barnett Family Park, Sunflower Playground, Kryger Overlook Park, the Magnolia Building and the Peggy Brown Building. The promenade is a historic site located between Lemon Street and Lake Mirror Drive. On January 27, 1983 it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The project was built in two phases and completed in 1928. Charles Wellford Leavitt of New York was the original designer of the Promenade. In 1946, the City of Lakeland dedicated the promenade to Lakeland native Frances Langford for her music and acting career as well as for her work with the United Service Organizations during WWII. The Promenade was rededicated in 2013 with a new plaque honoring Francis Langford.