Lake Wales, Florida: Wikis


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Lake Wales, Florida
—  City  —
Location in Polk County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 27°54′17″N 81°35′3″W / 27.90472°N 81.58417°W / 27.90472; -81.58417
Country  United States
State  Florida
County  Polk
 - 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)
Population (2007)
 - Total 12,071
 - Density 728.1/sq mi (280.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 33800-33898
Area code(s) 863
FIPS code 12-38950[1]
GNIS feature ID 0285290[2]

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 Bureau is 11,802 [1]. It is part of the LakelandWinter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area. The center of population of Florida is located in Lake Wales [2]. Lake Wales is located in central Florida, west of Lake Kissimmee and east of Tampa.



Lake Wales is located at 27°54′17″N 81°35′3″W / 27.90472°N 81.58417°W / 27.90472; -81.58417 (27.904707, -81.584031)[3]. 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 census[1] 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 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 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.


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. Travelers heading east on State Road 60 are often victims of a well established speed trap operation that exists at the intersection of SR60 and Gibson Road, just east of the US 27 overpass ! Equipment used on this ongoing operation are visible on google maps, street view. There, you will see the cruiser and ticketing station that is placed just south of Gibson Road and SR 60. The police stop cars in platoons, netting nice tidy sums of money that go to the city's coffers. Beware when driving through lake wales.

Bus service is provided to Winter Haven and Frostproof by 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.[4]

The city of Lake Wales was established near the lake in 1911-12, planned by the Lake Wales Land Company.[5]. The spelling Wales was used for the city, although the lake is still generally spelled Lake Wailes.

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.

Wildlife and Environmental Lands

Grassy Lake Preserve, 185 acres of the Lake Wales Ridge scrub land, is located behind Janie Howard Wilson Elementary School in Lake Wales.

Local Attractions

Notable residents

NFL legend Red "Galloping Ghost" Grange was living there when he died in 1991.


Lake Wales is home to nine schools, five 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, 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, Bok Academy 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 University and Webber International University. Polk State College opened a satellite campus in Lake Wales in 2009.


Future plans

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.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ Morris, A. (1974) Florida Place Names University of Miami Press
  5. ^ Frisbie, L.K. (1976) Yesterday's Polk County Imperial Publishing Company, Bartow, FL

External links


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