Lake Placid's Murals Are a Must-See

    By Gary McKechnie

    For my money, one of the most dramatic views in Florida is in Highland County's Lake Placid (the Caladium Capital of the World) where, on the east side of US 27, there’s a high ridge and lovely Lake Clay that seems as if it would be at home in the Adirondacks. I saw they’ve mapped it out for some homes, but I hope this gorgeous vista remains clear.

    Believe it or not, the views are equally enjoyable a few blocks away in historic downtown. If you’re wondering if you’re in the right place, just look for Lake Placid's murals. Dozens and dozens of wonderful murals – some as large as 175 by 30 feet and others filling several stories on downtown buildings – are painted throughout the community. Pick up a guide ($3) to all of these murals at the Chamber of Commerce (where there's a 10-minute video) and then take a leisurely drive or casual stroll to see the story of cattle drives, of Lake Placid’s pioneers, of Native Americans who lived here 10,000 years ago, of sandhill cranes and the citrus industry, and larger-than-life local residents like lady rancher Jennie Reninger who was so good with a bullwhip she could snap a cigarette out of your mouth from 10 feet away – one of the earliest anti-smoking campaigns.

    Exploring Florida's history is something every resident should do, and when you find a small town like Lake Placid where they decided to “paint the town” and create what’s essentially an outdoor art gallery, it makes you really proud. If you love art, history and small towns, you’ve got your trifecta right here.

    I hope you get a chance to see the Lake Placid murals some day. Call 863-465-2394 for tours and information, and be sure to visit