Mountain Lake Estates Historic District

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Mountain Lake Estates Historic District
Mountain Lake Estates Entrance Bok Tower view 2008 December.jpg
entrance to Mountain Lake Estates, with Bok Tower in distance
Mountain Lake Estates Historic District is located in Florida
Mountain Lake Estates Historic District
Mountain Lake Estates Historic District is located in the United States
Mountain Lake Estates Historic District
LocationLake Wales, Florida
Coordinates27°56′9.6″N 81°34′58.8″W / 27.936000°N 81.583000°W / 27.936000; -81.583000Coordinates: 27°56′9.6″N 81°34′58.8″W / 27.936000°N 81.583000°W / 27.936000; -81.583000
Area896 acres (3.63 km2)
Architectural styleMission/[[Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture|Spanish Revival]], Colonial Revival
NRHP reference #93000871
Added to NRHPAugust 26, 1993

The Mountain Lake Estates Historic District is a U.S. historic district (designated as such on August 26, 1993), located north of Lake Wales, Florida, off the US 27A Scenic Highway.

Mountain Lake Estates was first developed in the 1920s as an exclusive residential area created "to attract the nation's business elite".[1] The developers hired Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to design the community. Such wealthy and widely known people as Edward W. Bok (long-time editor of Ladies' Home Journal and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author), August Heckscher (benefactor of the Heckscher Museum of Art), and Irving T. Bush (of Bush Terminal, Bush Tower, and Bush House fame) subsequently became early "snowbirds" and established winter homes in or near Mountain Lake Estates.[2]

The district contains 65 historic buildings, including two previously listed on the National Register: El Retiro Estate (today renamed "Pinewood" and part of the landmark Bok Tower Gardens)[3] and Mountain Lake Colony House.[1] Noted architect Wallace Neff, known for his celebrity clients' mansions in southern California (see for example Pickfair), designed one home within Mountain Lakes Estates, one of his few commissions outside California.[4]

Mission Revival, Colonial Revival, and other "revival" styles of architecture are most common.[5] House lots within the historic district can be sizable; as an example, Irving T. Bush's estate covered five acres (about 2 hectares).[6]


  1. ^ a b "Florida's history through its places: Polk County". Division of Historical Resources, Florida Office of Cultural and Historical Programs.
  2. ^ "Ridge scenic highway: Corridor management plan" (PDF). Tallahassee, Florida, p. 134: Environmental Management Office, Florida Department of Transportation. 2004.
  3. ^ "Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL | A Piece of Florida History near Tampa and Orlando". 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  4. ^ Neff, Wallace (1989). Wallace Neff, 1895-1982: The Romance of Regional Architecture. San Marino, CA: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, ISBN 0-87328-128-4, p. 128
  5. ^ "National Register of Historical Places - FLORIDA (FL), Polk County". Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  6. ^ "Florida auctions set." (Feb. 10, 1952). The New York Times, pg. 254

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