In 1980, a seven member Historic Preservation Board was appointed by the Lakeland City Commission by authorization of City Ordinance No. 2175. Its function included developing a historic preservation program for the City, recommending boundaries of the first historic district to be created, and designating historic landmarks to be preserved. The first district created was in the center of town surrounding Munn Park. Munn Park was named after the founder of Lakeland, Abraham Munn. The historic district covers the main business area of Lakeland and includes many original buildings dating from as early as 1902.
What is now the Munn Park Historic District evolved from Louisville, Kentucky businessman Abraham Munn’s purchase of 80 acres of land which now constitutes the heart of Lakeland’s downtown business district. Unlike the city’s six other historic districts which are residential or mix of residential and commercial, the Munn Park Historic District is almost exclusively commercial. It contains some of the oldest structures in the city, as well as the first open space in the city, Munn Park. The district is bound by Florida Avenue to the west, Bay Street to the north, Lemon Street to the south, and extends around Lake Mirror to the east. Its most notable structure is the Lake Mirror Promenade designed by noted landscape architect Charles W. Leavitt, which provides a grand entrance to the district. The mix of structures reflects more than a century of commercial growth and development for Lakeland.
A survey of the proposed Munn Park Historic District was conducted in the spring of 1982 by the City of Lakeland’s Community Development Department and what are known as site survey forms were completed for approximately 100 structures which met the standard of being 50 years old or more. The site survey forms contain a wide variety of information about each structure, including location, date of construction (if known), architectural style, original owner (if known), and specific construction details such as materials used, type of foundation, and roofing and siding materials. Some of the information may be outdated since the forms were completed more than 30 years ago.
The site survey forms are reproduced here as PDF files and are searchable by address.