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History + Vision

Generations in the Making for Generations to Come.

Justly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Mountain Lake Historic District comprises a living history that the patina of time has only burnished. The one-thousand-acre enclave of natural and architectural beauty is as lush and vibrant as ever, its glory days remain alive and well, with many more ahead.

1883
1912
1914
1914
1915
1915
1916
1915
1920
1921
1923
1926
1927
1929
1929
1972
1991
1993
1993
2017
2023
2030

Robert Ruth secures 1,396 acres land adjacent to Iron Mountain and Buck Lake, the land that will eventually become Mountain Lake.

The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad begins service to Lake Wales.

Frederick Ruth purchases the western slope of Iron Mountain and the remaining land surrounding Buck Lake, bringing the total holdings to 2,500 acres. December 12, 1914 Mountain Lake Corporation is formed.

Mountain Lake founder Frederick Ruth commissions Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to design the grounds of Mountain Lake and uses the promise of investment in citrus to recruit captains of industry to be the first investors.

Mountain Lake is put on the map. The Mountain Lake spur is completed, establishing a train station outside the gates delivering priceless convenience.

Seth Raynor makes his first visit to Mountain Lake and begins designing the golf course on Olmsted’s routing. This marks the first time Olmsted and Raynor are colleagues on the same project. Olmsted and Raynor will go on to develop Fishers Island with Frederick Ruth, and Raynor and Olmsted will work together again at Yeamans Hall.

The Colony House welcomes its first guests who will become early investors and members of Mountain Lake.

Nine holes open for play: the present day 1-6, 16-18.

The second nine holes of the golf course is completed; Mountain Lake is designated as a township.

The Colony House is expanded. The new west wing adds 26 guest rooms, a living room, card room, and an office.

Mountain Lake resident Edward Bok purchases a tract of the highest land in Mountain Lake to create what will become Bok Tower Gardens. He employs Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to transform the land into a beautiful garden sanctuary.

The east wing of the Colony House is completed.

Construction of Bok Tower begins. Milton Medary assembles the nation’s highest regarded craftsmen to provide the brass, wrought iron, tile, stone, and stained-glass adornments.

President Calvin Coolidge dedicates Bok Tower. The celebration draws an estimated 67,000 people. It is President Coolidge’s final major address as president.

Charles H. Banks, Seth Raynor’s assistant on various projects, is retained to make renovations to the course.

Bok Tower Gardens is placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It will later achieve National Landmark status.

The Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. designed Colony House receives designation on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mountain Lake Estates Historic District recognizes the combined residential architectural works of Olmsted, Wait, Harden de Valson Pratt III, Franklin W. Abbott, Wallace Neff, and others.

Bok Tower Gardens is named a National Landmark.

The first level of the Colony House is extensively renovated. The design reflects the classic understated elegance pervasive through the Park.

Under the guidance of Tyler Rae, all tee complexes on the Seth Raynor designed golf course are renovated. The tees evoke Raynor’s original strategy while adapting to the modern game and use the best zoysia grasses available.

Mountain Lake is poised for the future ahead with updates to infrastructure and amenities for members by following the rich history of the Park and Olmsted’s design principles.

Spaces to live, be active, connect with others, and recharge.

Members value all the Park has to offer: Florida’s best Seth Raynor designed golf course, the beauty of an Olmsted landscape, and a full complement of events and activities in a tradition driven, family oriented community.

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