Lake Placid, Florida
Lake Placid, Florida
The Caladium Capital of the World,
Town of Murals
(as Lake Stearns)
|1 December 1925|
(as Lake Placid)
|6 June 1927|
|• Mayor||John Holbrook|
|• Total||3.650 sq mi (9.45 km2)|
|• Land||3.599 sq mi (9.32 km2)|
|• Water||0.051 sq mi (0.13 km2) 1.4%|
|Highest elevation||173 ft (53 m)|
|Lowest elevation||72 ft (22 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||622/sq mi (240/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||285272|
|Website||Town of Lake Placid|
Lake Placid is a town in Highlands County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 2,223 and in 2017 the estimated population was 2,269. It is part of the Sebring Micropolitan Statistical Area.
The town has two nicknames: "Town of Murals" and "The Caladium Capital of the World". Lake Placid has 47 murals painted on buildings throughout the town, and 98 percent of the world's caladium bulbs come from Lake Placid. There are 14 calladium farms, spanning 1,200 acres, and these plants have been grown in the area since the 1940s. In 2013, Reader's Digest named Lake Placid America's Most Interesting Town. 
The town is home to the Lake Placid Tower, a closed concrete block observation tower that is 240 feet (73 m) tall according to early sources or 270 feet (82 m) tall according to late sources. However, government sources exclude a 270-foot height, allowing only a 240-foot height.
Lake Placid, which was formerly called "Lake Stearns", was chartered on December 1, 1925. Dr. Melvil Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, and the founder of the Lake Placid Club in Lake Placid, New York, proposed that Lake Stearns change its name to "Lake Placid". On April 29, 1927, the Lake Stearns Commissioners accepted Dr. Dewey's proposal. Subsequently, they submitted a request to the Florida State Legislature. On June 6, 1927, the community was chartered as the town of Lake Placid.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Lake Placid has a total area of 3.650 square miles (9.45 km2), of which 3.599 square miles (9.32 km2) are land and 0.051 square miles (0.13 km2), or 1.4%, are water.
The racial makeup of the town was 69.6% White, 7.1% Black and African American, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 18.9% Some Other Race, and 2.7% from Two or More Races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 46.1% of the population.
There were 841 households of which 58.3% were family households – with one or more people related to the householder or related to one of a same-sex couple by birth, marriage or adoption; and 41.7% were nonfamily households – including same-sex couples with no other relatives. Family households included 29.0% with their own children under 18 years, 37.0% were a husband-wife family, 6.4% were a male householder with no wife present, 14.9% were a female householder with no husband present. Nonfamily households consisted of 12.2% males living alone – 5.8% 65 years and older – and 19.7% females living alone – 19.7% 65 years and older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.21. The median age of the population was 34.4 years.
From the 2016 American Community Survey, the population was spread out with 10% under 5 years old, 15.3% from 5 to 14, 45.2% from 15 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older (significant margins of error causes total to exceed 100%). The sex ratio was 106.3 males per 100 females. The educational attainment of the population who were a high school graduate or higher was 59.2%, while 12.3% had a bachelor's degree or higher. The poverty rate of the population 25 years and older was 61.0% if less than a high school graduate, 52.2% if a high school graduate, 26.8% with some college, and 13.4% with a bachelor's degree or higher. The median earnings of the population 25 years and over during the past 12 months was $14,938, consisting of $10,625 if less than a high school graduate, $15,187 if a high school graduate, $18,988 with some college, and $147,961 with a bachelor's degree. The per capita income was $17,318. 54.7% of all people had incomes below the poverty level. All figures from the survey had significant margins of error.
Lake Placid is located in a fringe viewing area; its television stations originate in distant cities. Local television services offer signals from WFTV, the ABC affiliate in Orlando, WINK, the CBS affiliate in Fort Myers/Naples, WFLA, the Tampa Bay area NBC affiliate, and WTVT, the Tampa Bay area Fox affiliate. There are no TV stations whose studios or broadcasting towers are located in Lake Placid.
Lake Placid is part of the Sebring radio market, which is ranked as the 288th largest in the United States by Arbitron. It is the city of license for WWTK 730 kHz and is in that station's primary coverage area, however, there are no radio stations whose studios or broadcasting towers are located in Lake Placid.
Local print media include the weekly The Journal which has covered Lake Placid for almost 60 years; the News-Sun, a Sebring-based newspaper published on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday; and Highlands Today, a daily local supplement to The Tampa Tribune.
Points of interest
Lake Placid Tower
The structure, built by Ridge Builders, and previously called the Happiness Tower, is a closed concrete block observation tower located on US Highway 27. It is 240 feet (73.2 m) tall according to early sources (before 1982), although later sources (after 1986) have indicated that it is 270 feet (82.3 m) tall. Because its antennae are 392 feet (119.5 m) above sea level, and it rests on ground 142 feet (43 m) above sea level (392–142=250), only the 240-foot architectural height is plausible. It has three observation levels, at 192 feet (58.5 m) behind windows, at 200 feet (61.0 m) on a balcony, and at 225 feet (68.6 m) atop the elevator shaft. It was designed by architect A. Wynn Howell of Lakeland, built in 1960, and opened January 1, 1961. It was the tallest concrete block structure in the world when it opened.
For years, the tower was open to tourists who could take a 65 second elevator ride to the observation deck. Because of sluggish sales, the tower closed in 2003 and is now a cell phone tower.
Historical Society Depot Museum
The Old Lake Placid Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Depot, now the Historical Society Depot Museum of the Lake Placid Historical Society, is a historic Atlantic Coast Line Railroad depot in Lake Placid, Florida. It is located at 12 East Park Street and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are 47 large murals on the sides of buildings in Lake Placid's "uptown" area. These have become a tourist attraction. The Welcome Center sells a booklet with a map of the murals that provides specifics about the history that each one depicts, as well as information about the artist(s).
The murals were planned in 1992 by Harriet and Bob Porter and were painted in subsequent years by various artists, most depicting the history of the area. Some feature the tromp l’oeil technique.
- Lake Placid, New York, United States of America
- Lompoc, California, United States of America
- "Town of Lake Placid Departments". Town of Lake Placid. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- "National Places Gazetteer Files: Florida". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 7, 2017.
- North Magnolia Avenue
- Lake June in Winter
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "The Town of Murals". Lake Placid Mural Society. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
- Swanson, Yvonne (11 August 2007). "Caladiums please the eye". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Kimberly D. Hinder, "Florida's Earliest Tourist Towers: Placid Tower", Looking beyond the highway: Dixie roads and culture, ed. Claudette Stager and Martha Carver, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 2006. Cites Sebring News articles from early 1961. "either an enclosed observation deck at 192 feet or an open observation deck at 200 feet ... the crow's nest, which was 225 feet above ground. Lauded as the world's tallest concrete-block structure when it opened, the tower topped off at 240 feet". "A. Wynne Howell" (sic).
- HTN Tower Story "Two Hundred and Seventy Feet", "Three Hundred and Sixty".
- US Topo, Lake Placid, FL, 2015. USGS. Save then open to access images button at upper left.
- Miami Sectional Aeronautical Chart, Scale 1:500,000, 1 FEB 2018, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). PDF 69.3 MB.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Lake Placid town, Florida. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
- "Ratings–Sebring Market". Arbitron. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Kim Leatherman, "Falling down?", Highlands News-Sun, January 16, 2019, pp. A1, A5.
- "Architectural Helps for Tourism", Florida Architect, 12/7, July 1962. "Built of reinforced concrete faced with ceramic tile and capped by roof tracery of gold anodized aluminum".
- Placid Tower under construction "A. Wynn Howell" on sign.
- Kim Leatherman, "Happiness Tower code issues being resolved", Highlands News-Sun, January 17, 2019, pp. A1, A5.
- CHL Tower Group 2003 deed, Highlands County Property Appraiser, "Consideration: $1,190,000.00" "6th day of November, 2003".
- Joey Vars, "Forgotten Tourist Tower" Crow's Nest. The e-print version of this article, by Joey Vars, is at "Forgotten Tourist Tower", Feb 2-8, 2015, Volume 49, Issue 19, p. 4. "At 270 feet high," "A. Wyatt Howell" (sic).
- "The Town of Murals". Lake Placid Mural Society. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
- "Lake Placid, New York and Lake Placid, Florida sign Sister City Proclamation", Lake Placid, Adirondacks USA, November 2011.
- Michelle Carter, (May 13, 2011), "Sister Cities program falls on hard times", Lompoc Record, Lake Placid added to Lompoc Sister Cities program in October 1996.
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