Located in the heart of downtown Lakeland is Lake Mirror and its Promenade. The community recreation area was the vision of Tom Appleyard, the manager of Lakeland's Chamber of Commerce in the early 1920s. Charles W. Leavitt, the noted New York landscape architect brought Appleyard's vision to reality.
The original design called for an amphitheater and a sculpture that were eliminated due to the cost, but the seawall along the northern and southern shores and the wide pedestrian path were completed in 1926.
Lake Mirror Park and amphitheater were dedicated in the fall of 1999 and Hollis Garden opened in 2000 on the southeast shore of the lake. A sculpture also graces the northeast shore.
Lake Mirror is located off Massachusetts Avenue (Hwy. 33) in Downtown Lakeland, Florida. It is bordered by Lake Mirror Drive.
Throughout the years, the Promenade, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been a source of pride within the community. While conceived in the 1920s, about 20 years ago reconstruction began to restore the Promenade to its original grandeur and vision.
Hollis Garden provides the focal point of the southern shore of Lake Mirror. The roof of its neoclassical, Tuscan gazebo can be seen from across the lake. Opened in 2000, Hollis is a formal garden located within the historic Lake Mirror Park. Over 10,000 flowers, ornamental shrubs, and shade trees grace the tiered garden.
The fountain is the focal point of Hollis Garden. A series of bowls and runnels lead from just below the fountain to the edge of Lake Mirror, representing man's ability to control food water to his benefit. Since the garden becomes increasingly aesthetic as one approaches the lake, it shows how man can enhance the beauty of Florida's land and its flora.
"Tribute to the Spirit of Volunteerism" Sculpture
Installed in April 2004, the modern "Tribute to the Spirit of Volunteerism" sculpture, designed by sculptor Albert Paley, is the controversial centerpiece of Lake Mirror Park.
The 41-foot-tall, 18,000-pound metal sculpture consists of a purple central column, buttressed by a tilted yellow spear and fan-like bursts. It is topped by curling, golden ribbons that are offset by five bright red spikes reaching upward at contracting angles.
Whether you love it or hate it, the sculpture definitely gets your attention because it seems a bit out of place in its historical surroundings.
Barnett Family Park
Located on Lakeland's Lake Mirror, is a five-building complex that offers a wide range of facilities for community entertainment and recreation, including senior adult activities, theatre productions, and building rental for the community.
Hidden from view from the lake, but part of the recreation complex is Barnett Family Park. It is a unique community recreational area featuring an awesome playground, a water play area, and a large picnic pavilion. All this in the heart of Downtown Lakeland.
You are likely to see many different birds on your visit to Mirror Lake, including seagulls and large pelicans; but, it is the swans that add a touch of romance and beauty to the lake. While there are both black swans and white swans, only this one seemed willing to pause long enough for a picture.
You might be asking yourself, "What is a loggia?" A loggia is a roofed open gallery within the side of a building, looking down on an open court. In this case, this loggia is located at the foot of Massachusetts Avenue along the western shore of Lake Mirror. It architecturally ties in the towering street to the lake below.
The flags seem to offer a quiet tribute to the long-ago vision of one man. The vision that not only became a reality but has served a community for over a half-century.