Home Local News Lakeland Rewind – “Truth” of History

Lakeland Rewind – “Truth” of History

By Carl Helton, LC staff

As we celebrate Lakeland’s 40th anniversary on August 26 at the IH with a LAMP concert, we thought it would be great to go back into the archives and share former history articles from previous Lakeland Currents’ editions and other writers.

The LAMP summer series recognizes Lakeland’s40th birthday at the Aug. 26 concert at IH Park.  Featured bands will be Ted Horrell and The Monday Night Card (Dr. Horrell is the Lakeland school superintendent) and The Nick Black Band.  Food trucks will be Caliente, Memphis Mojo Cafe and Beakers Sno Cones. The concert runs from 7 to 10 p.m.


We are stating with the first history story I wrote for Lakeland Currents.  I was asked to write an article on Lakeland’s history and I was sort of stumped. There had been several previous history stories by other writers covering the major history stories of Lakeland and I was trying to figure out what history to write about.  As I pondered on the idea I started typing my thoughts of our history and a very different story came out of my keyboard.  To start off the History series we look at the “truth” of the history of Lakeland from the Currents June 2016 edition.

As I begin to dig into Lakeland’s history, I first need to realize the “truth.” The “truth” is that we are not a city steeped with rich history. There were no major civil war battles in the community and no train depot to catch a ride somewhere grand.

We had no General Store anchoring a town square. Even to this day there are no businesses at Canada Road and U.S. Highway 70. It wasn’t until the 1990s that business started to pop up along U.S. Highway 64 between I-40 and Canada Road. To my knowledge, there is no old house that has been preserved and maintained that is over a hundred years old in Lakeland. One might argue that the Reed Log Cabin is well over a century old. That is true, but it was disassembled from its original location in Lexington, TN and put back together at its new foundation on Canada Road in the late 70s with a new addition. (Bam…I’ve set the stage for a story on that house in the near future).

Before the amusement park, race track and the Lake Land beach, we were simply a farming community. Older small farm houses dotted the geographic of our community. Some houses are still standing, some long gone and forgotten. To this day, we still have a large farming community surrounding us.

However, our true history lies hidden in the families long gone and stories that were passed down to younger generations and hand written in family bibles.

The “truth” is that Lakeland is a new city. We are the youngest city in Shelby County, as a baby taking its first steps. Our history is being created now to be told later down the line.

Our first school, Lakeland Elementary, was built in this century, a new millennium. In 2012, a Senior Center opened at IH Park. The Delta Blues Winery opened in 2015. We broke ground on the new middle school, which opened just this week.

In 2016, the IH Park saw the opening of an Outdoor Event Stage (The LAMP), which hosts summer concerts for our community. We are also opening up our community with a brand new interchange at I-40 and Canada Road.

According to our first census as a city in 1980, we had 612 residents. Our last national census in 2010 shows we had a population of 12,430. It is in the here and now where our community history is to be made. It is in the people, in our community, and in our daily lives that we can and will excel and take pride in our city. Lakeland is a city that we can build a foundation of history now for the next generation to research and tell the stories and relive through old pictures. Herein lays our new history and our current truth.

Carl Helton, LC staff.

Editor’s note: Carl’s family bought Lakeland property in 1977 and they moved to the City in 1982.