Lake Wales, “Crown Jewel of the Scenic Highlands,” is nestled among rolling hills and sparkling lakes in the geographic center of Florida. Before the 1900s, this area of the Lake Wales Ridge was considered spectacularly beautiful but uninhabitable because the virgin forests did not have road or railroad access. Only Native Americans and a few white hunters had camped there. G. V. Tillman explored the untamed area in 1902 and fell in love with the beauty. He knew that the land was ideal for citrus, the old-growth pines could provide profits from turpentine, and the natural beauty would attract quality settlers to build a quality town. He shared his vision with three other businessmen, and together they formed the Lake Wales Land Company in 1911. Their timing was perfect. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad reached Lake Wales that year and brought on the boom time.