Lakeland has over 38 lakes, many which were phosphate mines that eventually filled with water. Phosphate mining was one of the prominent industries in Lakeland, mining around Lakeland began in the late 1800s.
The Spanish-American War in 1898 spurred development in Lakeland, as over 9,000 troops were stationed there. Rapid construction began and a number of historic buildings that exist today were built: The Terrace Hotel, New Florida Hotel, the Polk Theatre, Promenade of Lake Mirror, Polk Museum of Art, Park Trammell Building, and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.
In the 1930's Frank Lloyd Wright was invited to Florida Southern College, and today it is the location of the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. Visitors to the "Child of the Sun" Visitor Center can see a vast display of photographs, furniture, and drawings depicting Wright's work at the College.
Today visitors to Lakeland can take a 90 minute segway tour beginning at the Lake Mirror promenade, visit the famous historical buildings, the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings at Florida Southern College, and eventually return to Lake Mirror through the beautiful gardens and native landscape at the Southern Landings wetland park.
Every spring Florida's Strawberry Festival is held in Lakeland, a tradition for over 75 tears. Other annual events in Lakeland include: