unnumbered pages. Illustrated throughout from photographs; map of Florida; folding "Preliminary Plan Mountain Lake, Polk County, Florida" showing the lots available and the golf course. 29x22.5 cm (11½x8¾"), wrappers.
Scarce promotional booklet for this planned Florida community, north of the City of Lake Wales, Florida, United States. It was founded in 1915 and contains a golf course designed in 1916 by Seth Raynor. Mountain Lake is located in the ridge country of Central Florida, and was developed by Baltimorean Frederick Ruth. With proximity close to trains from the North which would bring residents down for ‘the season’, Ruth assembled 3500 acres and engaged Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to lay out 600 acres of the property for the residences and Seth Raynor to design the golf course. This same trio also went on to design and develop Fishers Island in the 1920s. There are some notes in the archives at Mountain Lake that Ruth spoke to Donald Ross (who did nearby Lake Wales Country Club) prior to selecting Raynor, however Raynor was chosen and Mountain Lake became the first development of its kind. OCLC/WorldCat has nine listings of the booklet with various paginations and dates, but only two in the present iteration, at Duke and Yale.
Mountain Lake is one of Florida’s best kept secrets, especially for the avid golfer. A private community founded in 1915, Mountain Lake also has a top-ranked golf course designed in 1916 by Seth Raynor.
Mountain Lake is located in the rolling hills and lake region of Central Florida, just outside the small citrus town of Lake Wales. The community is within easy driving distance of both Orlando and Tampa.
Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., whose father designed Central Park and the Boston Common, among other projects, did the original layout for Mountain Lake. He also designed the Colony House, which serves as a clubhouse and private hotel. The Colony House and Mountain Lake Estates Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since its earliest days, Mountain Lake has kept its original character as a place of great natural beauty with a style of living that is outdoor oriented and unpretentious. The community has been described as “a setting of wondrous isolation from the clutter of commercial life.” Golf & Travel magazine named Mountain Lake one of the most attractive golf communities in America. There are 125 residences, few of them within sight of the golf course, so the gently rolling land is open and space is abundant. Mountain Lake is an ideal getaway spot for those who appreciate great golf, tennis, and croquet in beautiful natural surroundings, with an atmosphere that is warmly hospitable and relaxed.
In the mid 1920s Edward W. Bok, the publisher of The Saturday Evening Post and The Ladies Home Journal, was a homeowner at Mountain Lake. He had come to America from Holland and became very successful in his career. Wanting to make a lasting contribution to his new homeland, he acquired over 100 acres of the highest land of the park and created what is now known as Historic Bok Sanctuary. The “Singing Tower” is one of the world’s most renowned carillons, and outdoor concerts and other events are scheduled on a regular basis. Bok Sanctuary also hosts an international festival of carillonneurs* each year.”
Privacy at Mountain Lake is a long-held tradition. When Frederick Ruth envisioned the development for his land, he brought in Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., whose father had designed Manhattan's Central Park and the Boston Common. The resulting community attracted many famed residents who perceived Mountain Lake as a secluded haven from the winter. Among them was Edward Bok, publisher of The Saturday Evening Post and The Ladies Home Journal. His appreciation for Mountain Lake and the surrounding land in the 1920s compelled him to build the nearby carillon that would bear his name. More than 60 homes sprouted across the landscape in the 1920s and the 1930s, many reflecting a Mediterranean flavor in their design. The unique design and historic significance of those homes led the National Park Service to list the Mountain Lake Estates Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1990s. The Colony House, too, is included in that national listing. Most of the original homes remain, though some of the larger estates have been divided into apartments. Only a handful of the older homes have been demolished over the years.
Today, the community includes about 135 estate homes and a celebrated 18-hole golf course that has garnered inclusion among the best golf courses in the country by Golf Digest and Golfweek magazines. The course, too, dates to the early days of Mountain Lake Estates, but underwent sweeping renovations about a decade ago.
More year-round residents are listed among the property owners in Mountain Lake now, though many winter residents remain among those ranks.