With a history going back to Florida’s pioneer days in the 1870s, the City of Lakeland is proud of its unique architectural and cultural heritage. Boasting the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings on the campus of Florida Southern College, as well as notable buildings and structures designed by Donovan Dean, Franklin O. Adams, Edward Columbus Hosford, and Charles Wellford Leavitt, Lakeland’s architectural history reflects a diversity of styles and character.
Established in 1980, Lakeland’s historic preservation program protects the irreplaceable architectural, cultural, and historical character of our community. Historic preservation maintains the integrity of the City’s historic districts and local landmarks and ensures that changes to these areas and structures are done in an architecturally appropriate manner that preserves their character. Long term outcomes of this program have strengthened the local economy by attracting and stimulating private investment, creating new jobs, stabilizing and improving property values, and increasing heritage tourism opportunities. Lakeland was named a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service and Florida Division of Historic Resources in 1989, one of the oldest such designations in the state, which enables it to administer federal and state historic preservation programs. Within the City of Lakeland Land Development Code, Article 11: Historic Preservation Standards defines Lakeland’s historic preservation program.
The City of Lakeland has seven local historic districts, protecting more than 1,600 historic buildings and 13 individual landmarks. Historic designation is a means of identifying and classifying various sites, buildings, structures, and districts as historically and/or architecturally significant.