What’s that Lakeland landmark named after?

We’ve all wondered about the names behind some of our local parks and places of interest. Pull back the curtain on the history behind their monikers.

marble arcade

The Marble Arcade, c. 1900 | Photo via Florida Memory

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What’s in a name? We’re uncovering the mysteries behind the monikers of some of Lakeland’s most famous landmarks. See how many locations’ backstories you know.

Marble Arcade

This downtown high-rise at 129 S. Kentucky Ave. was built in 1926, and, unfortunately, its name doesn’t mean you’ll find any games there. The name comes from its original “arcade” architectural style (think: A succession of arches like the Coliseum in Rome) lined with black marble.

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium | Photo by @ahjaxx

The Tigers have played at Joker Marchant Stadium since 1966.

Photo by @ahjaxx

Joker Marchant Stadium

You won’t find Batman’s nemesis hanging around at any Lakeland Flying Tigers games. The team’s stadium is named after Marcus “Joker” Marchant, Lakeland’s first Parks and Recreation director, who helped bring TigerTown to life.

The exterior of a green two-story building with "Peggy Brown Center" etched into a stone sign. The entryway is an open arch and a palm tree stands in front of the left corner.

Look for the Peggy Brown Building around Lake Mirror — it’s the green one next to Barnett Family Park.

Photo by LALtoday

Peggy Brown Building

This public building on Lake Mirror gets its name from one of Lakeland’s former mayors and longest-serving commissioners. Peggy C. Brown was elected as mayor of Lakeland in 1976 and 1984, and she served on the City Commission from 1974 to 1995.

Lake Crago

Introducing 144 acres (not including bodies of water) of recreational activities

Photo by @thelaltoday

Lake Crago

This man-made lake was named in 1964 to honor Arthur Crago, a Polk County resident who worked in the phosphate industry, revolutionizing some of its processes. Arthur was also devoted to land conservation and repair, earning the Conservationist of the Year award from the Kiwanis Club in 1965.

Cleveland Heights Boulevard

Today, Cleveland Heights is know for its palm tree-lined streets.

Photo by @papertams

Cleveland Heights

In 1923, Lakeland was looking to grow by adding a new neighborhood. Enter: Real estate developer H.A. Stahl. He bought 560 acres of land for just under a million dollars and named the area after his hometown of — surprise, surprise — Cleveland, OH. When the Great Depression hit, Stahl lost his investment and the development was taken over by the City.

Entrance to Munn Park with trees, benches, and signage

Abraham Munn also secured a railroad stop in Lakeland — today it’s near the park that now bears his name.

Photo by LALtoday

Munn Park

The park at the center of downtown Lakeland is named after one of the city’s first settlers. Kentucky native Abraham Munn bought 80 acres of land in Central Florida in 1882. Although the name Munnville was floated for the land, it was incorporated under the name “Lakeland” in 1885. Munn’s name lives on downtown, just look for it at the park’s entrances.

Gladys Leggett and neighborhood president Morris Chestang pose next to the neighborhood's sign

Gladys Leggett and Neighborhood Association President Morris Chestang

Gladys Leggett Neighborhood

This north Lakeland neighborhood is bordered by Kathleen Road, 10th Street, and the CSX railroad tracks. Its namesake was community leader Gladys Leggett, who was born in 1920 and died in 2018. Leggett worked with the NAACP and fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement.

A white fountain moves water from pool to pool, framed by palm trees.

Pro tip: It’s always free to visit Hollis Garden.

Photo via @thewanderingconk

Hollis Garden

Mark C. Hollis was the president of Publix from 1984 to 1996, and his family has been invested in local philanthropy for years. In addition to this public garden overlooking Lake Mirror, you can also find the family name on other landmarks like Lakeland Regional Health’s Hollis Cancer Center and Bonnet Springs Park’s Hollis Family Welcome Center.

A sign at the entrance of Dog Leg Woods Dog Park in Lakeland

Take your pup this park for views of Cleveland Heights Golf Course.

Dog Leg Woods

The name of this Cleveland Heights dog park may seem simple on the surface, but golfers might recognize another meaning. On a golf course, a “dogleg” is a challenging hole with a crooked green, similar in shape to a dog’s leg — the perfect name for a dog park by a golf course.

A black and white portrait of Paul A. Diggs in his US Army uniform from c. 1918

Diggs served in the US Army from 1918 to 1919 during World War I.

Photo via the City of Lakeland

Paul A. Diggs Neighborhood

This community across from Lakeland Regional Medical Center is named after one of the area’s former residents. Paul A. Diggs first came to Swan City after serving in World War I and stayed here until 1958. In his time as a Lakelander, Diggs racked up a long list of titles: social worker, high school sports coach, writer, and soda shop owner are just a few. In 1993, the neighborhood was named after him in honor of his commitment to community improvements.

Publix founder George Jenkins talks to an employee pushing shopping carts outside of a Publix Super Market. The black and white photo is taken c. the 1950s or 1960s, with vintage cars around them in the parking lot.

George Jenkins (right) opened his first store in 1930 — now there are 1,300+.

Photo via Publix

George Jenkins High School

Longtime Lakelanders probably already know this one. George W. Jenkins was the founder of Publix Super Markets, opening his first location in Winter Haven before establishing the company’s headquarters in Lakeland. Jenkins was known around town as “Mr. George,” earning a reputation for his booming business, as well as his philanthropic contributions. Today, several landmarks bear his name, including the high school that opened in 1993.

A historical, black and white photo of strawberry farmers in a field in the Kathleen area. Adults and children sit between boxes and rows of strawberries, holding berries.

Kathleen was a strawberry industry hotspot before losing its train depot in the 1920s.

Photo via Florida Memory


This area includes a large part of northwest Lakeland, stretching south of I-4. This historic community was one of many that pioneers first called home in the 1800s. Its first settler, Henry Prine, originally named it after his wife Catherine, but later changed its name since another Florida town was called St. Catherine. Learn more about the community’s history from the Kathleen Area Historical Society.

Is there another name you want to know the history behind? Drop us a line and we’ll see what we can find.