Although not one of Lakeland’s seven historic districts, there is plenty of history in Shore Acres. Most of this quiet residential neighborhood was platted in 1924, during the Florida land boom. But decades prior, a group of Englishmen settled the area around Interlachen Park and called it Acton, for an English lord. In the 1880s and 1890s, the village of Acton was a rival of Lakeland.
During its decade of existence, the town had about 200 residents – most of them the second or third sons of affluent Britons. The village boasted two hotels (Acton House and Lake House), a sawmill, two stores, a saloon, a church, and a railroad depot. However, no Acton-era structures stand today. The town declined and its residents scattered after a pair of disasters – back-to-back freezes in 1894 and 1895 that destroyed 90 percent of the citrus crop and a mysterious fire that burned the rail depot to the ground.
Today, Shore Acres is a mix of modest homes, most built in the 1920s through 1950s, as well as businesses along Gary Rd, Memorial Blvd, and N. Lake Parker Ave. Notable enterprises include Skate World, Jimbo’s Pit Bar BQ, Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE), Chef T’s Garden Grill, Nolan’s Aquarium Superstore, T.L.C. PetSnip, and several churches. The neighborhood includes two parks – Interlachen Park, with abundant green space and mature trees dripping with Spanish moss, and Sertoma Park, with picnic tables and a boat ramp to Lake Parker.
Residents include a mix of longtime Lakelanders and new arrivals. The neighborhood has been a favorite of real estate investors in recent years, fixing up and re-selling homes.
A Little Free Library that was generously donated to the Shore Acres neighborhood by the Westgate Central Neighborhood Association. It was painted by artist and Shore Acres resident Trista Parks of 3 Visions Art.
Liaison: Shane Parks
Meetings: The association is reorganizing. Future meetings to be announced. Please contact us if you'd like to be a part.
An article by local historian Martha Sawyer in the Ledger on May 19, 1982 describes the history of Acton.