- Lake Wales, Florida
official_name = Lake Wales, Florida
mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Location in Polk County and the state of
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = flag|United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = flag|Florida
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = noflag|Polk
area_total_km2 = 36.3
area_land_km2 = 34.6
area_water_km2 = 1.7
area_total_sq_mi = 14
area_land_sq_mi = 13.3
area_water_sq_mi = 0.7
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 10194
population_density_km2 = 280.8
population_density_sq_mi = 728.1
timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
latd = 27 |latm = 54 |lats = 17 |latNS = N
longd = 81 |longm = 35 |longs = 3 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 45
elevation_ft = 148
postal_code = 33800-33898
area_code = 863
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 12-38950GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0285290GR|3
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 recorded by the U.S. Census Bureauis 11,802 [http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2004-04-12.xls] . The center of populationof Florida is located in Lake Wales [http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/statecenters.txt] . Lake Wales is located in central Florida, west of Lake Kissimmeeand east of Tampa. The Shrine of Ste Anne des Lacswas nearby. Among the attractions in Lake Wales are Bok Tower Gardens, Chalet Suzanne, and Spook Hill, an optical illusionwhich makes a car in neutral appear as if it is traveling uphill ( gravity hill). A 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. The winter months are quite mild but the summertime...expect to see temps from the mid 90's to the 100's. Lake Wales is right in the middle of Polk County. Polk County is one of the poorest counties in Florida, recently gaining the nickname "the ghetto of Florida".
Lake Wales is located at coor dms|27|54|17|N|81|35|3|W (27.904707, -81.584031)GR|1. The town lies almost in the exact center of the Florida peninsula. In 2004 the eyes of Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne all passed over the town. Virtually all physical damage has been restored.
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.3 km²(14.0 mi²). 34.6 km² (13.4 mi²) of it is land and 1.7 km² (0.7 mi²) of it (4.71%) is water.
As of the
censusGR|2 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 densitywas 294.8/km² (763.9/mi²). There were 4,598 housing units at an average density of 133.0/km² (344.5/mi²). 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 incomefor 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.
Lake Wales lies near the intersection of U.S. Highway 27 and State Road 60. The downtown area lies on State Road 17, the "Scenic Highway". Furthermore, Lake Wales is approximately 25 miles to Interstate 4 via US 27, 50 miles to Interstate 75 via State Road 60 West, and 45 miles to The Florida Turnpike via State Road 60 East.
Bus service is provided to
Winter Havenand Frostproofby Winter Haven Area Transit.
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. [Morris, A. (1974) "Florida Place Names" University of Miami Press]
The city of Lake Wales was established near the lake in 1911-12, planned by the Lake Wales Land Company. [Frisbie, L.K. (1976) "Yesterday's Polk County" Imperial Publishing Company, Bartow, FL] . The spelling Wales was used for the city, although the lake is still generally spelt Lake Wailes.
In 1925 the
Atlantic Coast Line Railroadbuilt a new line from Haines City joining lines to Everglades City. A depot was opened on this line at Lake Wales.
Lake Wales is home to nine schools, five of which are charter, three of which are traditional public schools and two private schools. Dale R Fair Babson Park Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Janie Howard Wilson Elementary, Lake Wales High School and Polk Avenue Elementary were converted to charter status in the Fall of 2004.McLaughlin Middle School, Roosevelt Academy Of Leadership And Applied Technology School, and Spookhill Elementary School are still traditional public schools. Lake Wales Lutheran Schools and The Vanguard School are private.
Lake Wales is hoping that the new charter initiative has several advantages: 1) educational innovation, 2) student choices, 3) school achievement, 4) local governance, 5) discipline, 6) teacher advantages, and 7) funding advantages.
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 Southern College and Webber International University.
Lake Wales High School (LWHS) plans to return the teaching of French and offer more college level courses. School officials plan to collaborate with Polk Community College, the University of Central Florida and Lake Wales Hospital to bring a higher level of learning to the students. Since the charter, LWHS has gone from one reading teacher to four reading teachers. They are in the process of adding an introduction to the engineering program with the collaboration of specialized professors from the University of Central Florida. They are also looking into the addition of German classes, upon students' approval. LWHS is hoping to raise 1 million dollars for renovations. By using fundraising and community support the school is hoping not only to remodel the academic structure but also to transform the scenery.
To compensate for the lack of grades six through eight in the charter system at the present time, Hillcrest Elementary and Babson Park Elementary have requested to have sixth grade added to their curriculum. In the two consecutive years Babson Park hopes to include seventh and eighth grade.
* [http://www.cityoflakewales.com City of Lake Wales official site]
* [http://historiclakewales.com Lake Wales Historic District]
* [http://www.lwcharterschools.com Lake Wales Charter Schools]
* [http://www.chaletsuzanne.com Historic Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Inn]
* [http://www.saintanneshrine.org] Historic Saint Anne Des Lacs ruins
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.