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Can you guess that historic building in downtown Lakeland?

You’ll never guess the history behind some of Lakeland’s most familiar façades.


We’re on a history hunt: See if you can identify these mystery buildings.

Photo by Catapult

We walk by them every day. We step in their doors for lunch, or a haircut, or a coffee. But do we know the stories behind downtown Lakeland’s historic structures?

Here’s a chance to test your knowledge — read the following clues and see if you can correctly guess which building in the downtown area we’re referring to. No cheating or Googling, we’ll give you all the answers soon enough.

Without further ado, let’s meet the buildings:

  • Mystery Building No. 1 was built by one of Lakeland’s former mayors in 1903. Throughout the years, it has housed dry goods businesses, a cigar company, a sporting goods store, salons, and more. You’ll recognize this Richardsonian Romanesque-style building by its arched windows and round tower.
  • Mystery Building No. 2, constructed in 1902, is Lakeland’s oldest standing commercial building. Like building No. 1, it was built by a former mayor. In 1907, it housed the Electric Theatre, Lakeland’s first movie house. Today, it houses retail stores just steps away from building No. 1.
  • Mystery Building No. 3 can be found on North Kentucky Avenue. Look for its tin roof and wide, covered porches to find Lakeland’s last standing railroad hotel, constructed in 1916 to house railroad workers. Head to the building’s east side to see an exterior wash house still standing.
  • Mystery Building No. 4 is known for its Neo-Georgian façades, truncated corner entrance, and red brick + cast iron exterior. Built in 1904 after a fire decimated an entire block east of Munn Park, the building has housed several businesses, restaurants, and drugstores.

Ready to see how you fare? Take this quiz, then let us know what historic structure you’d like to learn the history behind next.

Hint: If you start walking north on Kentucky Avenue from Main Street, you’ll walk by each of these buildings in roughly five minutes.

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