Lake Morton Dr
Lakeland, Florida 33801
Lake Morton is a bird sanctuary begun with a gift pair of swans from Queen of England, Elizabeth II. Swans have become Lakeland's city logo. The Lake Morton Historic District encompasses the South Lake Morton and East Lake Morton Districts. By 1912, several prominent families had built homes in the survey area. Approximately 90% of the homes were built between 1918 to 1927, an era known as the Boom Period of Lakeland growth.
Historically, Lake Morton was a staging area for troops en route to Cuba during the Spanish American War 1898-1899. Tampa, about 30 miles to the west, was overcrowded with troops and Lakeland was selected as an overflow site because of its proximity, its good rail connections, and water (13 lakes). Eventually, approximately 9,000 troops from five units camped in Lakeland, the first arriving in mid-May and the last leaving in late August, 1898. Lake Morton (known as Camp Morton during the war) was the camp of the 2nd Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry. The Massachusetts soldiers swam in Lake Morton until they realized that alligators occupied the lake.
The lake was named after early settler John Morton. An historic marker at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Lake Morton Drive marks the location.