Lake Morton is not just home to the city's iconic royal swans. The South and East Lake Morton Historic District neighborhoods, located primarily south and east of Lake Morton and north of Lake Hollingsworth, are important to Lakeland because of their architectural integrity and historical elements.
Although the development of these neighborhoods began around 1906, most of the houses were built during the Florida Boom between 1920 and 1926 -- as illustrated by all the "Century Home" plaques appearing through a program started by resident Michael Maguire. This era provides the basis for the predominant architectural character of Bungalow and Mediterranean styles exhibited today.
Today, the neighborhood provides an authentic, urban walkable neighborhood experience. It is a diverse mix of young people and established families, with walkable neighborhood bistros, bars, and shops. The area’s rolling topography and occasional angular or curvilinear streets and lake shores provide pleasant spaces and vistas, creating a character unique in Lakeland and rare in Florida cities.
The presence of the Florida Southern College’s Frank Lloyd Wright campus, the Lakeland Public Library, the Polk Museum of Art, and several other architecturally or historically significant buildings further support the neighborhood’s quality and character.
The Lake Morton Neighborhood Association is a vibrant and welcoming group that produces a popular historic home tour each year and actively works to protect and enhance the unique feel of the neighborhood. All are welcome to our monthly meetings. The website can be accessed at https://lakemorton.org/.
Together, the East and South Lake Morton historic districts boast Lakeland's largest collection of Century Homes. A project to recognize these homes with permanent bronze markers was started in 2018. Some owners open their doors each year for the Historic Home and Garden tour, which often sells out.
The Mayfaire by-the-Lake art festival takes place on Mother's Day weekend each year along the shores of Lake Morton. It typically features more than 140 artist booths and is one of the oldest and largest art festivals in Central Florida.
Century Homes: https://www.lakemortoncenturyhomes.org/the-galleries
Historic Home Tour: https://www.facebook.com/historichometours
Meetings: Fourth Tuesday of most months at 7 p.m., at Success House, 1001 Success Ave, Lakeland, FL 33803. (NOTE: No meetings in July, August, November, or December.)
Michael Maguire shows one of the Lake Morton Century Home plaques at his home.