Are you a boomer who grew up in Lakeland, Florida? Just thought this would be a fun thing to blog─reminisce and appreciate what was, what is and what will never be again – in our own hometown. It’s really simple─What or who was here when you were growing up, but is no longer? How many good, and not so good memories will we recall?

How long can we keep this going?

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN:

Teen Midway

McCrory’s and their cherry Cokes

Kress’s and their vanilla Cokes

Old men playing checkers in the park

Slim’s corner store, across the street from LJHS

Lake Morton Elementary School

Rochelle High School

Hazel Haley, Ruth Hall Brown, Nurmi Nelson, Coach Teadt and Maxine McIntyre

The ability to drive all the way around Lake Mirror

One-way streets downtown

Fox & Hound, Morrison’s Cafeteria, The Empire, Colony Shop, Butler’s Shoes

The papier-mâché stork in the children’s department of Penney’s downtown

The oak canopy over Munn Park, as we fed the pigeons and watched the kois in the fountain

The Southgate arches

Sock hops at “the” Civic Center on Lake Mirror – with ALL the original Rogues playing (RIP Willy)

The Palace and Lake Theaters, the Filmland and Lakeland Drive-Ins

If you have pictures to share, email them to carolyn@orangeblossomwishes.com!

  1. Sylvia Hart says:

    Attenbergs Gas & Groceris on the Southside (sold candy cigarettes), Early Bird Record Shop where Harry’s is downtown, Toytown, Hobby Harbor, Jarlin & Mitchell & Thom McCans Shoes WITH PERSONALIZED SERVICE , Colony Shop with shirts with fairy tales AND Villager A-Skirts (boy I did a lot of babysitting to buy those). The best is running away with my boyfriend at 5 to get married down on the promenade at Lake Mirror when Blinky the Alligator was around. Living on Lemon Street before Bartow Highway. Cleveland Heights Soap Box Derby!!

  2. Cindy Ivey Cope says:

    I remember my kindergarden teacher taking us on a “train” ride from the train depot downtown (later where we caught the city bus for Lakeland Jr. High). We went all the way to Auburndale on the train and thought it was the best !

  3. Carey Blanton says:

    The City Swimming Pool next to Morrell Hospital,
    The Orange Cup Regatta, Banana Man Morgan, The Ice House on So. Florida Ave.

    Kiddy Land @ the Lakeland Drive-IN while dad lit the PIC “That Stuff just Kills Me” mosquito coil.
    The Roller Rink on N. Massachusetts Ave.
    The Star Spectaculars @ The Civic Center, Lake Hollingworth (at night !)
    WONN and Buddy Penn who would play Mule Skinner Blues every morning @ 6:30 and holler out “Get UP you 6:30 getter uppers you!
    Smoke House Serenade every Sunday night on WONN.
    Nathan’s Mens Store with all of your “Cub Scout” uniforms etc.
    City Bus Advertisement Song ” Run down to the corner and jump onto the bus you can ride to town with us, you never have to honk or frown when you ride the bus” Honk, Honk!
    Carnival @ South Gate Shopping Center and the HUGE Spot lights that be seen from miles away.
    The voice of the Florida Gators, Football, Mr Ted Covington !

  4. Carey, I had forgotten about Buddy Penn’s raring wake up call. So good! Would we have ever made it through our teens without WONN?? How about these?

    Mayhall Auditorium

    A&W w/their little baby root beer mugs for us kids

    Pryor’s Family Style Restaurant on Pine Street, with boarding house tables and big crocks of various foods

    The Publix on Massachusetts

    No more 2-lanes for Memorial Boulevard, Massachussetts Avenue, Lakeland Hills Boulevard, Cleveland Heights Boulevard, Florida Avenue… and no more “Dakota Street”

    Sedmera’s Hardware, Myrick’s Menswear, Maas Brothers (LOVED their restaurant) and The Foxfire

    THE mulberry tree in Mulberry

    Sand Mountain

    Florida Tile complex on Lake Wire

      • Carolyn Hennecy says:

        Nancy,
        Sorry to take so long, recovering from extensive ortho surgery. I can recall Gandee Toys (Betsy’s dad owned it), Gordon’s Jewelers, and Crowder Brothers. There was also Ruby’s Tots N Teens on the corner at the arch. Seems there was a “dime” store along there, as well. Belk’s was there when they closed the Searstown location. At the far north end was the south side location of Peterson’s Nursery. Hope that helps.

  5. Greg Straight says:

    Yes the best milkshakes from Slim’s……he put a raw egg in em…

    The 5 and 10 toy store several doors north of Montgomery Wards downtown….It had creeking wooden floors and bins of toys (made in Japan)

    Battle of the Bands in Searstown

    Going to parties where the whole house was lit only with a black light.

    After seeing Disneyland in Calf. in 1963….(thinking Fla would be a good place for another one.) I was ten at the time.

    Remember when you had to sit out side at McDonalds in desk chairs. hamburgers were $ .15 small cokes $.10 large cokes $.15

    Crusing Memorial Blvd …Between McDonalds and Steak & Shake. (muscle cars)

    Driving to Mulberry to see Billy Graham on Easter Sunday….

  6. I remember: fish houses in lake parker, the chevy dealership &the yamaha dealer one block so. of lakeland jr. high on no. florida ave,JM fields, the mummy they found while building Montgomery Ward, drag racing late friday & saturday am, in polk city, Salty Sol Fleichman channel 13 am fishing report, fishing from the little boats around lake Morton, crusin memorial blvd & so.florida ave listing to 8 tract tapes I heard it through the grape vine, waiting for streakers in sears town parking lot. sitting @ steak n shake watching friends cruz by, shooting pool @ south side billards ?, the TG&Y store ,weekends @ christina park hill climbing on motorcycles , honda 305 dream & 90, the bamboos in no. lakeland close to the filmland drive in, the fighter jet crash on knights griffen rd.

  7. We can add to our list of “memories” the static display train at the park next to the hospital. I can’t BELIEVE they took it away. 🙁 SHAME on those in “power” who made the decision without the vote of the people! I didn’t know about it till it was gone!

    • I kind of thought the same until I found out the poor engine was deteriorating beyond anything we could afford to repair. It was sent to a nice new home… historical train museum in North Carolina. Sometimes we have to let go of things we love for their best interest and wellbeing.

  8. Wanda (Gilbert) Maffet says:

    Submarine races on Lake Hollingsworth where teenagers could go parking.

    Sunday skateboard races down Woodwind Dr (I believe) off Lakeland Highlands Rd.

    Art Show at Southgate Shopping Center of all the students of Mr. Thomas of Southwest Jr. High.

    Southgate Shopping Center was closed on Sundays.

  9. The boat races on Lake Moryon or Hollingsworth I forget which lake! We would here the noise on a Saturday from our house just a few blocks away and run down to watch! We flew kites at Florida Southern College and watched the July 4th parade by the lakes. The swans were safe to roam the lakes, too! Cartoons at the Polk Theatre, wow. I was at the grand opening of Lakeland`s first Taco Bell! And who could forget the colored tiles at Southgate!

  10. Cheryl Taylor LaFlame says:

    Going to the Cadet on Sundays for fried chicken and cole slaw. (When they closed, one of their employees gave me their cole slaw recipe, which I still use.)

    Cherry Cokes at Work’s Drugstore in Dixieland

    The old library on Lake Morton

    Leon’s doughnuts in the Medical Arts building

  11. Remember the Dixie Bar when the original Canadian Rogue’s would play; also, down the block was Zimmerman’s, where Pop Simmons would play the piano. Oh! What memories of the early 70’s.

  12. BUTLER HENDRIX says:

    I REMEMBER WALKING TO LAKELAND JUNIOR
    HIGH SCHOOL AROUND
    LAKE MIRROR AND PASSING RIGHT BY ALL THE ALLIGATORS !!! I ALSO REMEMBER SLIMS & MRS CASON’S BREAD BURGERS & SNOW CONE TRUCK BEHIND SLIMS. AND LAKELAND SKATELAND & LAKELAND DRIVE IN & CLEARVIEW DRIVE IN RESTAURANT.

  13. Carol A Gilmoe says:

    My brother, Jim Porter, is here from Mesquite Tx and told me about this site he had found. I love it, Carolyn, and yes, I DO remember the majority of things written about as well as some that go even further back, I will keep watching and will add some other things.
    I lived in Dixieland, was in the first “class” to go all three years at Southwest Jr. High, and attended the opening of Southgate Shopping Center.
    Will be watching this site, for sure! Thanks, Carolyn, great idea!!!

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