|City of Lakeland, Florida|
|— City —|
|Polk County and the state of Florida|
|Incorporated (city)||1 January 1885|
|• Mayor||Gow Fields (2010-2013)|
|• City Manager||Douglas B. Thomas|
|• City||74.4 sq mi (193 km2)|
|• Land||68.79 sq mi (178.2 km2)|
|• Water||5.61 sq mi (14.5 km2) 10.9%|
|Elevation||197 ft (141 m)|
|• Density||1,711/sq mi (660.8/km2)|
|Census Bureau American Community Survey|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0294459|
|Twinned with Richmond Hill, Ontario|
Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States, is located between Tampa and Orlando along Interstate 4. According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 97,422. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had an estimated population of 584,383 in July, 2009 based on data from the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research. It is twinned with Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada; Imabari, Ehime, Japan; Balti, Moldova; Portmore, Jamaica; and Chongming County, Shanghai, China as part of the Sister Cities program.
The first Paleo-indians reached the central Florida area near the end of the last ice age, as they followed big game south. As the ice melted and sea levels rose, these Native Americans ended up staying and thrived on the peninsula for thousands of years. By the time the first Spanish conquistadors arrived, there were over 250,000 Native Americans living on the peninsula. Some of these first early tribes were the Tocobago, Timucua, and the Calusa. In 1527, a Spanish map showed a settlement near the Rio de la Paz. The arrival of the Spanish turned out to be disastrous to these Native American tribes. Within 150 years, the majority of the pre-Columbian Native American peoples of Florida had been wiped out. Those who had not succumbed to diseases such as Small Pox or Yellow Fever were either killed or enslaved. Little is left of these first Native Americans cultures in Polk County except for scant archeological records including a few personal artifacts and shell mounds. Eventually the remnants of these tribes would merge with Creek Indians who arrived from the north and become the Seminole Indian tribe.
Florida became a state in 1845, and Polk County was established in 1861. After the American Civil War, the county seat was established southeast of Lakeland in Bartow. While most of the early history of Polk County centered around the two cities of Bartow and Ft. Meade, eventually people wandered into the areas in Northern Polk County and began settling in the areas which became Lakeland.
Early history 
Lakeland was first settled in the 1870s and began to develop as the rail lines reached the area in 1884. It was incorporated 1 January 1885. The town was founded by Abraham Munn (a resident of Louisville, Kentucky), who purchased 80 acres (320,000 m2) of land in what is now downtown Lakeland in 1882 and platted the land for the town in 1884. Among the names considered (and rejected) for the town by its residents were Munnville, Red Bug and Rome City.
In April 1898, the Spanish-American War began and started a crucial point in Lakeland's development. While the war ended quickly and had little impact on most of the nation, the Florida peninsula was used as a launch point for the war and the then small town of Lakeland would house over 9,000 troops.
The Florida boom resulted in the construction of many significant structures in Lakeland, a number of which are today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This list includes the Terrace Hotel, New Florida Hotel (Regency Tower, currently Lake Mirror Tower), Polk Theatre, Promenade of Lake Mirror, Polk Museum of Art (not a product of the 20's boom), Park Trammell Building (formerly the Lakeland Public Library and today the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce), and others. The city also has several historic districts with many large buildings built during the 1920s and 1940s. The Cleveland Indians held spring training there from 1923 to 1927 at Henley Field Ball Park. Parks were developed surrounding Lake Mirror including Barnett Children's Park, Hollis Gardens, and the newest, Allen Kryger Park.
The "boom" period went "bust" quickly, and years passed before the city recovered. Part of the re-emergence was due to the arrival of the Detroit Tigers in 1934 for spring training. (The team continues to train at Lakeland's Joker Marchant Stadium and owns the city's Florida State League team, the Lakeland Flying Tigers.) The development of the Lakeland Municipal Airport as a major facility in central Florida transportation was another factor. The 1930s also featured the arrival of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1938 he came to Lakeland at the request of Florida Southern College President Ludd Spivey to design a "great education temple in Florida." For 20 years Wright worked on his "true American campus" creation. In his original master plan he called for 18 buildings (and several other structures), nine of which were completed and nine left on the drawing board. All of the buildings were built out of what Wright called his "textile block system," the first use of such a system in Florida. He called his project "A Child of the Sun," so named from the architect’s own description of being "out of the ground, into the light, a child of the sun." It is the largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world, and in many ways helped to form a pattern for many colleges in Florida and other areas of the country in the future years.
From World War II to present 
During World War II, hundreds of young British airmen were taught to fly at Lakeland's Lodwick airfield by volunteer flight instructors, a collection of barnstormers and independent pilots. Later, when America entered the war, the Army Air Corps relied on training fields like Lodwick to train pilots for its fighters, bombers, and transport planes.
Geography and climate 
Lakeland is located at  Lakeland is 141 feet (43 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 67 square miles (173.5 km2). 45.84 square miles (118.7 km2) of it is land and 5.61 square miles (14.5 km2) of it (10.90%) is water. Lakeland is located within the Central Florida Highlands area of the Atlantic coastal plain with a terrain consisting of flatland interspersed with gently rolling hills.(28.041248, -81.958978).
The dominant feature in Lakeland is the city's many lakes. There are 38 named lakes in Lakeland with a number of other bodies of water unnamed, mostly phosphate mine pits that eventually filled with water. The largest of these is Lake Parker which is 2,550 acres (10.3 km2) in size. Much of the culture of Lakeland revolves around its many lakes, and many people use the lakes as reference points in much the same way that people in other towns use streets as reference points, such as "I live near Lake Beulah." In addition to Lake Parker, some of the more prominent lakes in the Lakeland area are Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Morton, Lake Mirror, and Lake Gibson.
Swans are one of the most visible features on the lakes of Lakeland. They have a long history, the first swans appearing around 1923. By 1954, the swans were gone, eradicated by alligators and pets. A Lakeland resident who mourned the passing of the swans wrote to Queen Elizabeth. The royal family allowed the capture of two of the royal swans, and the swans now on the lakes of Lakeland are the descendants of the royal swans sent by the queen.
Lakeland, like most of Florida north of Lake Okeechobee, is located in the humid subtropical zone (Köppen climate classification: Cfa). Typically, summers are hot and humid with high temperatures seldom dropping below 90 degrees and 70 degrees for the overnight low. Like most of Central Florida, afternoon thunderstorms are the norm throughout the summer. The winters are drier and mild, although the rare cold snap will drop temperatures below freezing.
|Climate data for Lakeland, Florida|
|Record high °F (°C)||87
|Average high °F (°C)||74
|Average low °F (°C)||51
|Record low °F (°C)||20
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.45
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||203.2||209.4||258.2||302.1||306.7||255.8||255.4||248.9||226.5||239.9||213.4||203.5||2,923|
|Source #1: |
|Source #2: |
Government and politics 
Lakeland is governed by a six member city council. Four members are elected from districts. The other two are elected at large. The mayor is elected.
Public safety and crime 
Lakeland made national headlines on September 28, 2006 when Polk County Sheriff's Deputy Vernon "Matt" Williams and his K-9 partner, Diogi, were shot and killed after a routine traffic stop in the Wabash area of the town. The incident sparked outrage among the central Florida law enforcement community. More than 500 law officials came together in search of Angilo Freeland, the suspect wanted in connection with the murder. The next morning Freeland was found hiding under a fallen tree. Nine SWAT members fired 110 shots at Freeland, hitting him 68 times and killing him on the spot. "God will be his judge and jury now" said Sheriff Grady Judd, adding "we ran out of bullets" on Oct 1, 2006 to the Orlando Sentinel when asked why the police had shot Freeland 68 times. Deputy Williams and Diogi were laid to rest on October 3, 2006 after a funeral that included a one-hour and 45 minute procession to Auburndale.
|2010 Census||Lakeland||Polk County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||+24.2%||+24.4%||+17.6%|
|Population density||1,492.6/sq mi||334.9/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)||70.8%||75.2%||75.0%|
|(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)||63.1%||64.6%||57.9%|
|Black or African-American||20.9%||14.8%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||12.6%||17.7%||22.5%|
|Native American or Native Alaskan||0.3%||0.4%||0.4%|
|Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian||0.1%||0.1%||0.1%|
|Two or more races (Multiracial)||2.7%||2.4%||2.5%|
|Some Other Race||2.6%||5.5%||3.6%|
As of 2010, there were 48,218 households, with 15.5% being vacant. As of 2000, 23.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were individuals and non-traditional families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.82.
In 2000, the city the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 23.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $16,119, and the median income for a family was $17,468. Males had a median income of $14,137 versus $9,771 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,760. About 40.7% of families and 35.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 97.2% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2000, those who spoke only English at home accounted for 91.04% of all residents, while 8.95% spoke other languages at home. The most significant were Spanish speakers who made up 6.44% of the population, while German came up as the third most spoken language, which made up 0.75%, and French was at fourth, with 0.51% of the population.
In 1913, the Wolfson family arrived from Lithuania and became the first Jewish settlers to the area. After some struggles, the Jewish community in Lakeland flourished and the first synagogue, Temple Emanuel opened in 1932.
In 1994 the first and only Mosque was established. It was called Masjid Aisha but is now called the Islamic center of Lakeland. It was successfully remodeled in 2011. It is located on the corner of Providence and Orange Blossom.
Lakeland is the largest city on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa. Large industries in the Lakeland area are citrus, cattle and phosphate mining. In the past few decades, tourism, medicine, insurance, transportation and music have grown in importance.
Citrus growing dates back to the early settlers who planted trees in the area in the 1850s. After a series of freezes in counties north of Polk County, the area became the focal point for citrus growing in the state of Florida. Although citrus is no longer the biggest industry in the area, it still plays a large part in the economy of Lakeland and Polk County.
Phosphate mining is still important to the economy of Lakeland, although most of the mining now takes place further south. The Bone valley produced 25% of the U.S. phosphate supply.
Lakeland's largest employer is Publix Supermarkets. Publix is one of the largest regional grocery chains in the United States with over 1,000 stores. Publix employs over 6,500 people in the Lakeland area including headquarter and warehouse employees.
Lakeland is a transportation hub. FedEx Freight & FedEx Services and the Saddle Creek Corporation employ over 600 people in the area. Other large employers in the area include GEICO, Summit Consulting, Rooms To Go, and Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
The Lakeland seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.3% as of February 2011.
Historic districts 
- Beacon Hill-Alta Vista Residential District
- Biltmore-Cumberland Historic District
- Dixieland Historic District
- East Lake Morton Residential District
- Lake Hunter Terrace Historic District
- Munn Park Historic District
- South Lake Morton Historic District
Buildings and locations 
- Central Avenue School
- Cleveland Court School
- John F. Cox Grammar School
- Florida Southern College
- Henley Field Ball Park
- Joker Marchant Stadium
- Lake Mirror Promenade
- Lakeland Center
- Lakeland Square Mall
- Lakeside Village
- Old Lakeland High School
- James Henry Mills Medal of Honor Parkway
- Oates Building
- Polk Community College
- Polk Museum of Art
- Polk Theatre
- Southeastern University (Florida)
- USA International Speedway
- University of South Florida Polytechnic, Lakeland campus
- Winston School
- Without Walls Central Church - a local/regional megachurch
- Silvermoon Drive-in
Polk County is within the Tampa Bay television market. Bright House Networks is the cable television franchise serving Lakeland, which offers most television stations from the Tampa Bay market, as well as WFTV, the ABC affiliate from Orlando. WMOR-TV, an independent television station, is licensed to Lakeland, with its studios in Tampa and its transmitter in Riverview.
Lakeland and Polk County are within its own radio market. Local radio stations include:
WLLD 94.1 FM is licensed to Lakeland, but has wider focus on the Tampa Bay area, with studios in St. Petersburg. WKES 91.1 FM is also licensed to Lakeland as part of the statewide Moody Radio Florida network, with studios in Seminole, near St. Petersburg. Most major stations from Tampa Bay and a few from Orlando are also available.
Popular culture 
The webcomic Shotgun Shuffle takes place in Lakeland, FL.
Because Lakeland is the largest city on Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando, the city is an important transportation hub. The county nickname, Imperial Polk County, was coined because a large bond issue in 1914 enabled wide roads between the cities of Polk County. Then county commission clerk W.S. Wev proposed that an arch be placed over the entrance of every road entering Polk County heralding the motorist's entrance into "Imperial Polk County." The allusion was to the saying "All roads lead to (imperial) Rome".
The important freeways and highways in Lakeland today are:
- Interstate 4 - Interstate 4 is the main interstate in central Florida linking Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, and Daytona Beach.
- Polk Parkway - The Polk Parkway is a beltway around Lakeland, with both ends terminating at Interstate 4. Although its shape and location makes it impractical as a "bypass" road, it is useful as a way of getting from part of town to another and providing access to I-4 from most parts of the city.
- US 17 - Starting as a concurrency with US 92, it leads into Davenport, through Winter Haven, joins US 98 in Bartow, and leads out through Fort Meade.
- US 27 - Going from Haines City through to Frostproof, where it forms a concurrency with US 98
- US 92 - Following Memorial Boulevard for most of the city, US 92 was the route leading to both Tampa and Orlando before I-4 was built; US 92 is still a main road leading to Plant City going west, and Winter Haven and Auburndale going east.
- US 98 - Going south US 98 follows Bartow Road and leads to Bartow, the county seat. Heading north out of town, it provides a route to Dade City.
- State Road 33 - Following mostly rural land, State Road 33 provides access to Lake County and the Florida Turnpike.
- State Road 37 - Following Florida Avenue, the main north-south route in Lakeland, State Road 37 is also the main road leading south to Mulberry.
- State Road 540 - Winter Lake Road is a road in southern Lakeland leading to Winter Haven.
- Lakeland Amtrak Station
- Lakeland Linder Regional Airport
- Lakeland Greyhound Terminal
- Citrus Connection local bus service
- Planned Florida High Speed Rail
Public transportation is provided by The Citrus Connection daily except on Sundays/Holidays.
The public schools in Lakeland are operated by the Polk County School Board. There are 28 elementary, 7 middle, 5 traditional high schools and 3 magnet-choice high schools in the Lakeland area run by the Polk County School Board.
- Kathleen Middle School
- Lake Gibson Middle School
- Crystal Lake Middle school
- Sleepy Hill Middle School
- Lawton Chiles Middle Academy
- Lakeland Highlands Middle School
- Southwest Middle School
Traditional public high schools
- George W. Jenkins High School
- Kathleen High School
- Lake Gibson High School
- Lakeland Senior High School
- Tenoroc High School
Magnet high schools
- Central Florida Aerospace Academy
- Lois Cowles Harrison Center for the Visual and Performing Arts
- Polk State College Lakeland Collegiate High School
There are a number of opportunities for higher education around the Lakeland area. Florida Southern College, established in 1883, is the best known college in Lakeland and is located on Lake Hollingsworth. Florida Southern is the home of the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Southeastern University is a university affiliated with the Assemblies of God with 3000 students. The University of South Florida Polytechnic operates a joint site with Polk State College on Winter Lake Road in south Lakeland. In July 2008, USF Lakeland was granted partial autonomy by Gov. Charlie Crist and became the University of South Florida Polytechnic. USFP plans a new campus located just inside the Lakeland's northeast border at the intersection of I-4 and Polk Parkway. Both Everest University and Keiser University two multi-site for-profit accredited universities have locations in Lakeland. Traviss Career Center is a vocational school. It is NAFTC´s Training Center.
Joker Marchant Stadium, north of downtown, hosts spring training for the Detroit Tigers, as well as their Lakeland Flying Tigers class-A Florida State League and GCL Tigers rookie-league Gulf Coast League minor league baseball teams. Lakeland is also home to the Lakeland Raiders, an indoor football team playing in the Ultimate Indoor Football League. They play at Lakeland Center. In the 1980s, the Lakeland Center briefly played host to the indoor version of the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team. The Lakeland Center also hosts the Florida High School Athletic Association's state basketball finals.
Sister cities 
See also 
- "Florida by Place. Population, Housing, Area, and Density: 2000". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- "Annual Estimates of the population for the Incorporated Places of Florida" (XLS). US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Ancient Native". HOTOA. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- "Polk County History". Polk Counjty Historical Association. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
- "The Ancient Ones". HOTOA. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- Weibel, B. "Trail of Florida's Ancient Heritage". active.com. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- "Spanish American War". Polk County Historical Association. 2003-6. p. 6. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- "Restoring a Campus-Full of Frank Lloyd Wright". NPR. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Florida's Geological History". University of Florida. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- Diane Lacey Allen (23 June 2006). "'The Lake is Dry'". The Ledger. Retrieved 3007-11-25.
- "Florida Lake Swallowed by Sinkhole Reappearing". Associated Press. 25 July 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated". University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "Average Weather for Lakeland, FL - Temperature and Precipitation". Weather.com. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- "NOAA". NOAA.
- Biography of Sheriff Grady Judd
- Information about Deputy Williams' funeral.
- "Census Of Population And Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- Modern Language Association Data Center Results of Lakeland, Florida.
- "First Jewish Settlers". Polk County Historical Association. 2002-10. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- "Temple Emanuel History". Billy. 2002-10. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- "Religion in Polk". Lakeland. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- "Lakeland Demographics Guide 2010". City of Lakeland. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- "Unemployment Rate - Polk County, FL - July, 2012 | theledger.com | The Ledger | Lakeland, FL". Ledgerdata.com. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
- "Why Imperial Polk". Polk County Website. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "Traviss Career Center | Lakeland, Florida". Traviss.edu. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
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