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77Lake Wales Area Resident and Visitor Guide Lake Wales became a stop for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad in 1911. Historic exhibits at the Lake Wales Depot Museum. Historic Lake Wales Depot Museum President Calvin Coolidge. Paved highways enabled the rst tourists to visit this tranquil retreat. The Atlantic Coastline Railroad reached Lake Wales in 1911. It served as transport for the naval stores coming out of the turpentine stills and opened the way for land development and tourism. More and more people began traveling by automobile in the 1920s and 1930s. After the Great Depression tourism and growth picked up in the 1940s 1950s and 1960s. Although many historic buildings were torn down to build accommodations for tourists during this time the Lake Wales historic downtown was spared. The success of nearby Disney World in the 1970s further impacted the surrounding communities bringing both tourists and employment opportunities. A community redevelopment movement was organized in the 1970s and 1980s to preserve the architectural heritage of the city. In the 1990s historic preservation became part of the citys comprehensive plan so that future changes will reect and preserve the citys historic past. Lake Wales is proud of its historical and architectural heritage and is committed to preservation.