Friday, November 14, 2008

The Historic Hotel Grand: Lake Wales Florida

The Hotel Grand is the most prominent structure in downtown Lake Wales and has always attracted my imagination. It was built in the 1920s, at the end of a Florida real estate boom.

The inside is quite ornate, and the place must have been really something in its day. I'm told many famous people stayed there.

In my childhood, the hotel (then called the Walesbilt) was well past its prime, but it did have habitable rooms and a number of businesses on the ground floor. Soon after I graduated from high school this was no longer the case. Today the building is in full disrepair, with all entryways boarded up. It makes me sad when I drive by it.

There is hope. Development plans are often discussed but so is the possibility of demolition.

When I was in high school, one of my classmates fell from one of its upper stories and died. I don't know if it was an accident or suicide.

The Grand makes an occasional appearance in my prolific dream life, especially in dreams of the acrophobic variety. Usually, I am at its top and terrified about this prospect. In the worst cases, I am hanging out of a window, legs dangling, my fingertips slowly losing their grip.


kevin kelly said...

when the agape players had it it was a grand place it was a christian group had play dinner plays there health food store gift shop and ice cream parlor fudge shop there i ran the eleavator there and worked the frount desk and mantanace and in the kitchen help went there in 82 stayed till 84 or so till that jerk bought it he a man from new york

kevin kelly said...

also christmas balcony show also