May 10-17 – Lake Placid, FL – American’s Mural Capital

Earlier this week we decided to set a date for heading home … May 25th (Memorial Day).

Since our last update, we had one minor crisis when a water hose running between oour water pump and hot water heater burst.  I tried to fix the problem.

but didn't have the correct connection or clamp to eliminate a slow drip.  Fortunately we know several mobile RV repair men who work Sun N Fun and Charlie was able to accomplish what I couldn't.

Our daily routine has remained pretty much the same, although as Florida has begun to "open up", Debbie has been wreatling with wether to get a hair cut (after two months).

Picture taken on Debbie's May 13th Birthday

During one of my daily walks, I took the path behind Lake Ibis, where we sail

Aside from spooking a hawk and spotting a Limpkin

I noticed a clutch of tortoise eggs which had been laid in a hole in the middle of the trail.

and another few yards further, spotted "mom", still at work.

The sunsets continue to captivate us most evenings.

And, for those who have not spent May in Florida, it is the Love Bug mating season.

Love Bugs are a species of March Fly, typically found in parts of Central America and the southeastern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast.  It is also known as the honeymoon fly or double-headed bugDuring and after mating, matured pairs remain together, even in flight, for up to several days.

When sitting outside, these harmless insects will alight on you hair, aarms, legs, laptops … just about anywhere.  However, what is really annoying is when driving, it is impossible not to "murder" hundreds of them … sometimes making it difficult to see clearly through you windshield.  Then if you don't remove them from the front of you vehicle the jusices from their corpses can begin to eat through your finish.

Yesterday, took a drive to Lake Placid …

Florida not New York.  And, "NO", it was not the scene of the movie "Lake Placid" which was actaullsy shot in Maine (where there aren't even any alligatorss, let alone crocadiles).

Lake Placid, FL, nnamed by Reader's Digest as "Americaa's Most Interesting Town" in 2013, if know aat all is known for four things.

  •  The Placid Tower 

At 270 feet high, the tower, made up of roughly 90,000 blocks imported from a mine in Texas, was the tallest concrete-block structure in the world at the time of its opening. In the late 1960s, the tower’s name was changed to “ ” in order to lure visitors. They branded the tower as providing visitors a state of bliss when looking out from the top. Simultaneously, the tower was also known as “The Tower of Peace,” further adding to the tourist’s confusion. However, ticket sales declined and ultimately the tower was closed in 1982 when its owner refused to pay the IRS taxes on the property.

The tower reopened in 1986, but still faced the same attendance issues that plagued it from the onset.  A handful of owners, however, managed to keep the tower and accompanying restaurant open until the early 2000s.  A testament to its lack of popularity both statewide and locally, no one has been able to pinpoint when exactly the structure closed.  Today, the tower sits closed in an abandoned plaza just east of U.S. 27.

  • The Caladium Capital of the World

98% of the world's caladium bulbs come from Lake Placid.  There are 14 calladium farms, spanning 1,200 acres, and these plants have been grown in the area since the 1940s.

  • The Clown School and Museum

Before 1993, there were no official clowns in Lake Placid. Along came Keith Stokes, also known as "Toby" to his Shrine brothers. Toby enjoyed spending part of his retirement in the Lake Placid community, but he missed the special feeling he got from "clowning around".

He approached the local hosital, Florida Hospital – Heartland Medical Center and made arrangements with the hospital administration to entertain patients with his clowning.

His efforts were well received by patients and the hospital staff realized what a positive impact he made on the health care. Toby and the hospital quickly came to an agreement that he could use meeting rooms in the hospital to train more clowns.

There may be only one museum dedicated to American Clowns and you’ll find it in Lake Placid! At last count, more than 700 significant pieces of clown memorabilia can be found within the walls of Toby’s American Clown Museum and School.

On nearly every surface of every wall, there are oils, prints and photographs of clowns.  There are paintings by Red Skelton, a famous clown and artist.  Many original circus posters from famous organizations like the Ringling Brothers are also displayed here.  Many are signed or inscribed to Toby, the founder of the American Clown Museum and School.

Children or all ages are always fascinated by the miniature circus, featuring clowns, guests and all manor of circus scenes, clown costumes from Toby's collection and art spanning the century, a large collection of clown figurines and dolls and even the ceiling has clowns – as many of the members have had a caricatures painted on the ceiling tiles

  • The Town of Murals and Mural Capital of America

"Founded in 1992, the Lake Placid Mural Society had a fairly simple goal: to beautify the town by commissioning massive murals for its public buildings, focused on Floridian industries and activities including inland lake fishing, citrus farming, quilting, cattle driving, turpentine production, and regional flora and fauna.

Many of the murals have a thematic garbage bin nearby, so for instance, the clown mural—painted on another Lake Placid attraction, the American Clown Museum and School—has a jack-in-the-box-shaped trashcan. Most of the murals also have some sort of intentional fault in them to try to spot, making a game of what began as one artist’s actual mistake that then became a theme across all of the town’s murals."

Today the town boast not only 47 murals adorning the sides of builddings but more than a dozen artistically-painted trash containers, several portraits of native Florida birds and other painted items.  There is more information on the many murals which follow at

During our drive to Lake Placid we noticed the Amreican flags were at half-staff everywhere.

We learned that May 15th was National Peace Officers Memorial Day,

an observance in the United States that pays tribute to the local, state, and federal peace officers who have died, or who have been disabled, in the line of duty.

And before even reaching Lake Placid, we passed through Arcadia, best know for its rodeos, where we spotted a large rodeo-themed mural

and one on a mini-storage building.Of course, Debbie kept her eyes out for some of her favorite subjects … decaying building and runting structures.

It didn't take much time after arriving in downtown Lake Placid to stumble across the first of some 50-plus increidble building murals, many huge in size.  We managed to see and photograph all but two (we somehow missed #31, "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow"  and after a lenghty search discovered the "Florida Panther" mural, #36, had been removed after being partly destroyed during a power washing … although were able to photofraph the from pictures in the town's "The Murals" magazine we purcahsed for $4.00).

No.1 – Cracker Trail Cattle Drive  (175' wide by 30'high)

Due to its size and a semi being parked in front of part of the mural,

the following show it is sections.

No. 2 – Celebrate Lake Placid – Americans Most Interesting Town  (46' wide by 20' high)

No. 3 – Airboat  (28' wide by 12'8" high)

No. 4 – Dr. Melvil Dewey  (35' wide by 18'8" high)

No. 5 – Decades of Green Dragon Basketball  (31' wide by 10' high)

No. 6 – Honoring Early Physicians  (15' wide by 12' high)

N0. 7 – Praririe Dwellers  (30' wide by 8' high)

No. 9 – Caladium Fields  (60' wide by 30' high)

No. 9 – Lake Placid Drug Store  ((12' high by 7'8" wide)

No. 10 – The Lost Bear Club  (40' wide by 13'6" high)

No 11.  Turpentine Industry  (62' wide by 14' high)

No. 12 – Layers of Time – in two parts  (89' wide by 16' high)

No. 14 – The Old Post Office  (70' wide by 14'6" high)

No. 15 – Town of Murals – How it All Began  (20' wide by 13' high)

Bob and Harriet Porter founded the Lake Placid Mural Society

No.16 – The Scrub Jay's Worl(27' high and 13'6" high)

No. 17 – The Talk of the Town  (60' wide by 11' high)

No. 18 – "Captain" T. W. Wood  (38' wide by 8 ' high)

No. 19 – Tea at Southwinds  (60' wide by 30' high)

No. 20 – Lake Placid Country Fair  (108' wide by 18' high)

No. 21 – Eddie Mae Henderson – Sharing and Caring  (22' high by 13' high)

No. 22 – Jeannie Reninger – A Remarkable Woman  (50' wide by 10' high)

No. 23 – The Trail to Eagle Scout  (40' wide by 8' high)

No. 24 – Tropical State Bank Robbery [in 1931]  (48' wide by 8' high and partly hidden by a tree)

No. 25 – Richard Archbold & Archbold Boilogical Station – in two parts  (184' wide by 8' high)

No. 26 – Toby's First Clown Class  (60' wide by 15' high)

No. 27 – The Art of Clown School  (30' wide by 9' high)

No. 28 – Inspiring Minds is Our Gift  (cover then end of the Municipal Library)

No. 29 – Turkey Hunt – The Lost Opportunity  (42' wide by 7'8" high)

No. 30 – Annie Hill – Nurse and Mid-Wife  (40' wide by 10' high)

No. 31 – Florida Beautiful: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow  (Photo taken from "The Murals" magazine)

No. 32 – God Bless America  (21' wide by 9' high)

No. 33 – Sandhill Cranes – Dwan Patrol  (18'4" wide by 9' high)

No. 34 – Watching From the Past  (30' wide by 10' high)

No. 35 – Our Citrus Heritage  (130' wide by 15' high)

No. 26. – Rare Resdient Florida Panthe(taken from "The Murals" Magazine)

No. 37 – Train Depot  (38' wide by 10'4" high)

No. 38 – Jewels of Highland County  (34' wide by 13'6" high)

No. 39 – Post Card Mural  (34' wide by 13' high)

No. 40 – The Rose Man  (12' wide ny 8' high)

No. 41 – Bassin'  (45'6" wide by 13' high)

No. 42 – Istokpoga  (50' wide by 13' high)

No. 43 – Lake Istokpoga Village  (32' wide by 13' high)

No. 44 – Toby's Clown School  (7' wide by 13' high)

Public Outdoor Movie Screen Between urals No. 45 and Nno. 46

No. 45 – Stuck in Time  (27' wide by 13' high)

No. 46 – Snapshot in Time  (22' wde by 13' high)

No. 47 – Hometown News – Lake Placie Journal 1960  (27' wide by 11' high)

No. 48 – Dr. Charles Akes  (36' wide by 7'6" high)

No. 49 – Screne  (14' wide by8' high)

No. 50 – Jesus

 No. 51 – Unknown Subject – in three parts

No. 52 – Trinity Lutheran Church

There are Six small murals of birds native to Florida

We spotted 14 of the 17 attistically-decorated trash containgers     

Wandering through a park we spotted two (what appeared like) cameras disguised as bird houses

and a bronze schlpture of a Florida Black Bear and Cub

Two "Clowns" on pedestrain benches

"Mumbles" the Tramp Clown

"Daisy" The Red Hat Clown

Two brightly decorated Fire Hydrants,

A British Telephone Both,

A brightly-colored Croc

A "Firestone" Bike Rack,

A Free Lending LIbrary,

A unique Pallet sign outside the Snyder Center for the Arts,

Two Rotary Park Benches amidst a garden and framed by Murals No. 12 and No. 13,

and near the Lake Placie Train Depot Railraod Museum

As I was drafting the lengthy post, a thunderstorm rolled overhead.  After it passed, Debbie looked out the window and spotted …



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