Lake Wales, Florida
|Lake Wales, Florida|
Location in Polk County and the state of Florida
|• Total||14 sq mi (36.3 km2)|
|• Land||13.3 sq mi (34.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (1.7 km2)|
|Elevation||148 ft (45 m)|
|• Density||728.1/sq mi (280.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0285290|
Lake Wales is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 10,194 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 11,802 . It is part of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lake Wales is located in central Florida, west of Lake Kissimmee and east of Tampa.
The land around the present city was surveyed in 1879 by Sidney Irving Wailes, who changed the name of a lake, then known as Watts Lake, to Lake Wailes.
The city of Lake Wales was established near the lake in 1911-12, planned by the Lake Wales Land Company. The spelling Wales was used for the city, although the lake is still generally spelled Lake Wailes. Allen Carleton Nydegger, a Civil Engineer, was contracted by the Lake Wales Land Company to plot out the community of Lake Wales. He and his crew camped on the shores of Crystal Lake and spent months plotting out the new community. In 1925 the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad built a new line from Haines City joining lines to Everglades City. A depot was opened on this line at Lake Wales.
In 2004, Lake Wales endured the effects of three hurricanes which came through the area: Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne. The three hurricanes brought hurricane force winds to the Lake Wales area within a space of 44 days.
Geography and climate
The town lies near the geographical center of the Florida peninsula. Lake Wales is located on the Lake Wales Ridge, a sandy upland area running roughly parallel to both coasts in the center of the peninsula. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.0 square miles (36 km2). 13.4 square miles (35 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (4.71%) is water.
Lake Wales is located in the humid subtropical zone (Köppen climate classification: Cfa). In 2004 the eyes of Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne all passed near the town. Virtually all physical damage has been restored.
Wildlife and environmental lands
Government and politics
Lake Wales, Florida has a commission/manager form of government. Five city commissioners are elected to serve two-year terms. Four of the commission members are elected by the citizens at large but must reside in the district represented by the seat to which they are elected and the other commission member is elected by the citizens at large to serve as mayor and can reside in any district of the city. 
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,194 people (2006 Estimate put the population at 13,687, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), 4,044 households, and 2,563 families residing in the city. The population density was 763.9 inhabitants per square mile (294.8/km²). There were 4,598 housing units at an average density of 344.5 per square mile (133.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.49% White, 34.59% African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 3.62% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.95% of the population.
There were 4,044 households out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.5% were married couples living together, 18.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,884, and the median income for a family was $30,029. Males had a median income of $21,809 versus $20,568 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,106. About 36.9% of families and 41.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.2% of those under age 18 and 14.4% of those age 65 or over.
- Bok Tower Gardens
- Spook Hill, an optical illusion which makes a car in neutral appear as if it is traveling uphill (gravity hill)
- The commercial historic district in the heart of the old town contains important examples of architecture from the period of the Florida land boom of the 1920s. The district's tallest building, the Hotel Grand, is boarded up and at risk of demolition.
- Grove House, the visitor's center for the agricultural cooperative Florida's Natural (located across from the company's processing plant).
- Chalet Suzanne
- The Shrine of Ste Anne des Lacs
- Ladies' Home Journal editor Edward Bok died in Lake Wales in 1930 within sight of his beloved Singing Tower.
- Red "Galloping Ghost" Grange, NFL player, was living in Lake Wales when he died in 1991
- Amar'e Stoudemire, NBA player, born in Lake Wales
- Dominique Jones, NBA player, born and attended high school in Lake Wales
- Wade Davis, MLB player
- Pat Borders, 1992 World Series MVP, part-time Lake Wales resident and Lake Wales High School Alumnus
- Mario Gosselin, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver/owner, lives and operates his race shop in Lake Wales
- Walt Faulkner, racecar driver, lived in Lake Wales from 1926 to 1936.
- US 27 - This divided highway leads northward to Haines City and Interstate 4 going north, and Frostproof, Sebring and eventually Miami going south.
- State Road 60 - Also known as Hesperides Road, it leads eastward to Florida's Turnpike and Vero Beach. Westward the highway leads to Bartow and the Tampa Bay region.
- State Road 17 - The Scenic Highway running through the center of town, paralleling US 27 southward to Frostproof and northward to Haines City
Bus service is provided to Winter Haven and Frostproof by Winter Haven Area Transit.
Lake Wales Municipal Airport (FAA LID: X07) is a public-use airport located 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the central business district of the city of Lake Wales in Polk County, Florida, United States. The airport is publicly owned.
Chalet Suzanne Air Strip This single grass strip four miles north of downtown serves light aircraft arriving at the Chalet Suzanne Inn and Restaurant, a local landmark.
Lake Wales is home to twelve schools, six of which are charter, three of which are traditional public schools and three private schools. Dale R Fair Babson Park Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Janie Howard Wilson Elementary, Polk Avenue Elementary and Lake Wales High School were converted to charter status in the Fall of 2004. Edward W. Bok Academy Middle opened in the Fall of 2008 to create a seamless K-12 charter system. McLaughlin Middle School and Fine Arts Academy, Roosevelt Academy Of Leadership And Applied Technology School, and Spook Hill Elementary School are still traditional public schools. Lake Wales Lutheran School, Candlelight Christian Academy, and The Vanguard School are private.
The district is home to 4,675 students: 56.56% White, 31.38% Black, .3% Asians, 11.66% Hispanic and .11% Native America.
Lake Wales is also home to two colleges, Warner University and Webber International University. The J.D. Alexander Center, a satellite campus of Polk State College is located in downtown Lake Wales in 2009.
Lake Wales has three retirement villages. Two of them are outside city limits, but are considered to be part of Lake Wales, because it is the closest city. The first retirement village is Tower Lakes, which is on US 27. The second is Saddlebag Lake Resort, 9 miles from Lake Wales. Indian Lakes is 20 miles from Lake Wales. These last two are located on Hesperides Road.
- "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.
- Morris, A. (1974) Florida Place Names University of Miami Press
- Frisbie, L.K. (1976) Yesterday's Polk County Imperial Publishing Company, Bartow, FL
- "The Lake Wales Ridge: Ancient sands, diverse biota". Archbold Biological Station. 2010-09-24.
- "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated". University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "About Lake Wales Government". City of Lake Wales. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "College Football Hall of Fame || Famer Search". collegefootball.org. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
- "Amare Stoudemire NBA & ABA Statistics | Basketball-Reference.com". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "Dominique Jones NBA & ABA Statistics | Basketball-Reference.com". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "Wade Davis Statistics and History - Baseball-Reference.com". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "Pat Borders Statistics and History - Baseball-Reference.com". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "MarioGosselin.com - Bio". mariogosselin.com. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "Top Nielsen Markets". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- "Arbitron Markets". Arbitron. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- Dunn, Andrew (June 23, 2004). "Lake Wales Charter School Contracts OK'd". The Ledger. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- Carpenter, Maya (June 16, 2008). "Teachers prepare for opening bell; 92,236 students expected". Winter Haven News Chief. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- "About Lake Wales". City of Lake Wales. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Lake Wales, Florida.|
- City of Lake Wales official site
- Lake Wales Main Street
- Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce
- Lake Wales Charter Schools
- Historic Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Inn
-  Historic Saint Anne Des Lacs ruins