Every now and then, I am amazed at the difference one person can make. In the case of Lake Placid, Florida, it was one couple.
This little town of just over two thousand people lies on a ridge that runs up the center of Florida [the ridge is all of one hundred feet above sea level]. It has two nicknames.
One is “The Caladium Capital of the World” because 95 percent of all caladium bulbs in the world come from the area.
The other is the “Town of Murals” because of a program started by one couple, Bob and Harriet Porter in 1992. At the time, the town had fifteen empty stores, and many building walls were spotted with black mildew and mold. Just twenty years later, Reader’s Digest declared it “America’s most interesting town.” That may be disputable, but it is no longer a dying town and is certainly worth seeing.
There are at least 48 large murals on building walls [they are still adding to the collection]. But unlike murals I have seen in many places on our travels, these are kept fresh. The Lake Placid Mural Society not only finds sponsors for the murals, it sees that they are maintained and given a protective coating to protect them from the Florida sun.
The small Chamber of Commerce Building houses a “Mural Gallery,” shows a free nine-minute film about the creation of the Mural Society, and sells a mural book and mural CD to help your mural tour. Indeed, if you have a bus load of people, they will find you a “Mural Professional” to show you the way.
Click on photos to enlarge.
P.S.: It isn’t “the town of clowns,” but there is a clown school, and there are 27 clown cut-out figures scattered about the town.
P.P.S.: It wouldn’t do to litter the streets of this pretty little town. Next week’s post will feature their trash cans.