Meet the original owners of these historic homes

Did a noteworthy Lakelander once walk your halls? Learn more about the original owners of some of Lakeland’s historic homes, and send us your own home’s history if you know it.

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The Columbus Deen House | Photo via Special Collections at Lakeland Public Library

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It’s no secret that Lakeland has a love of historic homes, but how often do you think about the pioneers of Lakeland who originally built + inhabited them?

Today, we’re looking at three noteworthy homes in the South Lake Morton Historic District and the influential Lakelanders for whom they are named.

The Columbus Deen House, 417 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Way

On the corner of what was formerly known as East McDonald Street and Success Avenue sits the home of Columbus W. Deen, a bank teller and real estate developer in the early 1900s. Columbus built this house in 1912 for $15,000 (that’s somewhere in the ballpark of $466,000 in 2023).

Following Columbus’ death in 1927, the home was a private hospital and sanitarium before being sold to Florida Southern College to be used as a dormitory, and later a fraternity house.

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William Reid House | Photo via Special Collections at Lakeland Public Library

The William Reid House, 1055 Success Ave.

If you happen to pass the William Reid House, you’re passing a piece of history that once housed William Reid — a former city commissioner and two-term mayor. The home was built for William and his wife, Ellie, in 1924 — only four years before he served as mayor for the first time in 1928 and again in 1931.

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Herman Watson House | Photo via Special Collections at Lakeland Public Library

The Herman Watson House, 926 Success Ave.

Dr. Herman Watson and his wife, Lucille, had this two-story bungalow built for their family in 1924. Aside from being a prominent surgeon and doctor in Lakeland, Herman is also remembered for founding The Watson Clinic in 1941.

Wondering if any history-making Lakelanders once roamed your halls? Access the Special Collections Library on the Lakeland Public Library’s website to search your own historic home by address. If you find an interesting historic tale, share it with us so we can celebrate your home’s unique history.

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