Historic Neighborhoods

Get to know Lakeland’s historic neighborhoods.

When we consider the role of a home in telling a city’s history — especially historic homes — there’s no better place to go than Lakeland’s seven historic districts. Walking along shady lanes, beneath canopies of trees that have grown over generations of Lakelanders, there’s a clarity that comes to mind. Appreciating the homes in which we live, and the city that built them, often begins in these historic areas with deep roots and meaningful histories.

Click on a neighborhood below to explore more:

Historic Preservation

The City of Lakeland is proud of its unique architectural and cultural heritage. Boasting the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings on the campus of Florida Southern College, as well as notable buildings and structures designed by Donovan Dean, Franklin O. Adams, Edward Columbus Hosford, and Charles Wellford Leavitt, Lakeland’s architectural history reflects a diversity of styles and character.

Established in 1980, Lakeland’s historic preservation program protects the irreplaceable architectural, cultural, and historical character of our community.

Beacon Hill

The 1920s saw a massive boom to Florida’s tourism and real estate industries, and Lakeland was no exception. During this time, the Beacon Hill and Alta Vista neighborhoods were established along South Florida Avenue. Alta Vista, meaning “high place,” was developed in 1923 by Augustus H. Devane, with lots selling for $600 to $2,000. The following year, Malcolm G. Waring, Alpheus M. Davis, and George Coogle developed Beacon Hill, a neighborhood promoted as being a place of “genuine contentment.” In 1990, both neighborhoods filed for historic district status and merged into one: Beacon Hill.


In 2004, a quaint neighborhood on downtown Lakeland’s east side gained historic district status. Like other districts on this list, the Biltmore-Cumberland district was established in 1925 when Florida’s housing industry was booming. In terms of architecture, homes in this area were typically built in the bungalow, Tudor, and Spanish Revival styles.


In 1907, Henry B. Carter and C. W. Deen purchased one hundred and sixty acres between Lake Hollingsworth and Lake Morton. As the development was Lakeland’s first south of the downtown area, it was named “Dixieland” and promoted as the “fashionable suburb” and Florida’s most “sure, safe investment.” Today, it’s home to a slew of bungalow-style homes, restaurants, antique stores, salons, and more. It was designated as a historic district in 1993.

Lake Hunter Terrace

Following the boom of the 1920s that led to many of Lakeland’s historic districts popping up, the Lake Hunter Terrace district was established in the 1940s. Considered a “modern development,” this neighborhood sits west of Lake Hunter and achieved historic status in 2002.

East Lake Morton

Bordering Lake Morton’s east and north shore is the East Lake Morton historic district. Of Lakeland’s seven historic districts, East Lake Morton is one of the oldest, with records showing the neighborhood’s earliest days in 1900 and relative completion in 1928. This neighborhood was home to noteworthy Lakelanders and community centers, including the Lakeland Public Library, the Sorosis Club, and the Lakeland Woman’s Club. The East Lake Morton neighborhood was added to the list of historic districts in 1993.

South Lake Morton

Citrus groves once spanned the distance from South Florida Avenue to Lake Morton. It’s in this space and as far south as Lake Hollingsworth and as far east as the Biltmore-Cumberland district where the South Lake Morton district, known now for its historic homes and proximity to Lake Morton, sits. Noteworthy residents of this neighborhood included Columbus W. Deen, one of the real estate developers behind the Dixieland district. Historic status for this neighborhood was first proposed in the early 1980s.

Munn Park

In February of 1884, roughly a year before Lakeland’s official incorporation, Abraham Munn established the Lakeland Improvement Company to plat the eighty acres of land that would become Lakeland. When the surveyors laid out streets and offered plots of land for sale, Munn set aside one central block — block fourteen — for a town square or public park. It was eventually dedicated by Munn as a “park in perpetuity, to forever remain in public ownership with no permanent habitable structures.” Originally named Drane Park, this town square was the backdrop for Lakeland’s railroad depot and saw many iterations throughout the years, from rose gardens to statues and fountains.

In 1980, the Lakeland City Commission appointed seven town leaders to the Historic Preservation Board. The first historic landmark and district recognized by this board was Munn Park and the area surrounding it, including many of downtown’s original structures dating back to 1902. The Munn Park district is unique from the other six due to it being almost entirely commercial, rather than residential. Its borders extend to South Florida Avenue on the west and past Lake Mirror on the east, with the Frances Langford Promenade being one of the district’s most notable structures.