Highland City, Florida

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Highland City is a census-designated place (CDP) in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 2,051 at the 2000 census. It is part of the LakelandWinter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area.



The modern-day area of Highland City was the site of the United State Army's Fort Fraser, established in 1837 during its war with the Seminole Indians. Zachary Taylor, former U.S. President, commanded the fort for a short period. Fort Fraser was abandoned shortly after its construction.

In 1885, the Pemberton Ferry Branch of the South Florida Railroad was completed between Lakeland and Bartow. The area now known as Highland City was the only stop between the two larger cities. The stop, and eventual village, was named for the Haskell brothers, who were early investors in the South Florida Railroad. E. B. Haskell was a newspaper publisher from Boston, Massachusetts and his brother Dr. C. C. Haskell, of Maitland, Florida, was an original stakeholder in the South Florida Railroad. In addition to the town of Haskell, the South Florida Railroad's #6 locomotive was named the E. B. Haskell.[3]

The Haskell freight depot was built by the railroad company along the roadway that would later become U.S. Highway 98. (In 1958, the depot was demolished due to its proximity to the roadway, and was replaced by a new freight building).[4] The first postmaster (and also the first freight agent of the depot) in Haskell, Thomas A. Goode, was appointed on February 9, 1887.[5]

Developer W. F. Hallam had begun to develop the Lakeland Highlands area by 1924. Hallam built the Hallam Country Clubhouse in the area west of Highland City and the road accessing the clubhouse became known as Clubhouse Road. The development of the Highlands also brought an influx of new residents to the Haskell community.[5]

In 1925, the community of Haskell was incorporated by the Florida legislature, which also had the effect of officially changing the community's name to Highland City. The city elected its first officials [5]:

By 1927, the town's official area was reduced due to a lawsuit brought on behalf of a few Highland City landowners. This ended the town's short stint as an incorporated place.[6]

Town Name Confusion

A common error in referring to this place is to add an 'S' to the end of "Highland," causing the name to incorrectly read "Highlands City." For example, a new train depot, constructed in 1958, originally featured a sign with the mistakenly spelled "Highlands City" name. Lakeland Ledger reporter Courtland Anderson made special note of the error in the caption of his photo of the new depot.[4]

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