Take a Peek… Lake Placid’s Outdoor Art Gallery

Take a self guided art walk and explore our 47 beautiful larger than life murals. Some of these murals have sound, while most of them have hidden items. Also, you will find 17 unique one-of-a-kind trash containers, all companion pieces to the murals, 45 bird plaques, over 27 clown cut-outs, a life size bronze Florida black bear and so much more. Here is a peek at some of our most acclaimed murals that should not be missed!

Town of Murals – How It All Began


In this mural, founders of the Lake Placid Mural Society, Harriet and Bob Porter look back on 20 plus years of the Society’s history. For six years after they retired they traveled throughout the United States and Canada for 3 months each summer on their Gold Wing motorcycle, often logging up to 18,000 miles.

On their last long trip, they came through Vancouver Island, B. C., where they saw a cutout of a woodsman with a pallet in his hand that said “Chemainus, The Little Town That Did.”

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Curiosity got the best of them and they decided to see what this little town did. They were delighted when they found 32 larger than life murals depicting the history of Chemainus. Further investigation found the murals fostered tourism and had brought this tiny town back from the brink of financial disaster. Shortly after leaving Chemainus, Bob made this statement; “We are going to paint murals in Lake Placid.”

In 1992, Lake Placid had 15 empty stores and black mould and mildew was evident on many of the walls in town. The Porters knew several artists and selected Thomas Freeman for the first mural, which he painted on the side of the Caladium Arts and Crafts Cooperative, also a new business and the brain child of Bob and Harriet. In 2016, the number of historic murals grew to 47.

Since its beginning, the mural society placed 142 pieces of artwork in town, which includes over 33,000 sq. feet of murals. There are over 140 towns and cities across the U.S. and Canada that have requested information to start their own mural project to help revitalize their towns. All the money for the murals is earned solely by fundraisers, sponsorships, and donations.

During these years, tourism increased, which has had a positive economic impact. Lake Placid became known as the Town of Murals, and Florida’s Outstanding Rural Community. In 2013, Lake Placid Florida won the coveted title of “America’s Most Interesting Town,” in a nation-wide search by Reader’s Digest. Ten towns were finalists in this contest, and in the end, Lake Placid stood out among the rest. It is truly a jewel in the crown of Highlands County.

The sponsors, Friends of the Porters, arranged this mural as a surprise for the Porters and as a thank you for their 20 years of service to the community.

Artist: Keith Goodson

Location: Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce

18 N. Oak Ave

Year: 2013

Sponsor: Friends of the Porters

Cracker Trail


Cowmen drive a herd of cattle through the Lake Placid area on their way to market. It was a two to three week trip and full of danger. Only the strongest would survive. The life of the Florida cowmen was not easy as they battled the heat, insects and storms.

The name “cracker” comes from the cracking of the whips the cowmen carried to keep the herd together. The registered brands you see all belong to Highlands County cattlemen.

Artist: Keith Goodson

Location: C-621 & US Hwy 27

Year: 1995

Sponsors: Noon Rotary Club and Highlands County Cattleman’s Association

Celebrate Lake Placid – America’s Most Interesting Town


In 2013, Reader’s Digest voted Lake Placid ‘AMERICA’S MOST INTERESTING TOWN’. We are very proud to have this title, and it inspired this beautiful mural that is a collage of several parts of the murals of Lake Placid.

Lake Placid has the distinction of being known by many titles. Lake Placid is known as the Town of Murals, with 47 larger than life historic murals forming an outdoor art gallery and the Caladium Capital of the World, where 95% of the world’s caladiums are grown and shipped all over the world. The 27 beautiful pristine lakes that surround the town within seven miles give Lake Placid the title of Florida’s Lake Country. Lake Placid is also know for the Clown Museum and School, which graduated over 2500 clowns since its beginning in 1993.

Artist: Keith Goodson

Location: Walgreens Drug Store
2 US 27 South

Year: 2013

Sponsor: Walgreens Drug Store

The Lost Bear Club


Lake Placid was once one of the best bear hunting grounds in Southern Florida. The territory around Lake Istokpoga and south along the western edge of the sand hills was almost too thick to penetrate by man or dog. This presented a perfect haven for bears to raise their young.

When settlers moved into the area they brought cattle and razorback hogs. Unfortunately, the bears liked fresh pork and beef, and, out of necessity the pioneers became bear hunters. During the first hunt 34 bear were killed: and some of the old timers boasted of killing over 200 bears during their lifetime.

Artist: Terry Smith

Location: Tony’s Barber Shop on E. Interlake

Year: 1997

Sponsor: Tropical Harbor Home Owners Association

Bass’n – Main & Bellview


The lakes of Highlands county are unique. These are the only lakes in the state of Florida that have escaped the problems most of our state’s lakes have faced in recent years. While Floridians work on finding answers to water quality questions, bass tournament weigh-ins regularly measure fish over 18 inches long weighing over 6 pounds. Nine pounds or more is not uncommon. For the bass master, our lakes offer unsurpassed bass fishing.

All of our lakes are connected with the famous Florida aquifer. But they are also connected through rivers, creeks, and ditches with one of the most notorious spawning beds in all of North America – Lake Istokpoga. This mural won first place in the prestigious Air Brush magazine’s national competition for billboards and murals.

Artist: Keith Goodson

Location: Creative Designs Hair Color Studio

Main Street and Bellview Street

Year: 1993

Sponsor: Henderson’s Fish Camp

Hometown News – Lake Placid Journal 1960


In bygone times, life was harder for people in all professions and hometown newspapers were no different, it took manual labor to get a newspaper printed. Machines employed included the linotype, used for setting type for news stories and advertisements. The Linotype was often called the 8th wonder of the world.
A lot of work goes into producing today’s newspapers, but life is easier now for editors, reporters, typists and other employees. And in another 30 to 40 years, the modern digital tools used to produce today’s newspapers may be as obsolete as those used in decades past.

Artist: Monica Turner

Location: The Plaza

Year: 2015

Sponsor: Lake Placid Mural Society 

Snapshot in Time – Plaza


This snapshot shows historian Albert De vane and Chief of the Seminole Indians Billie Bowlegs III in deep conversation. Albert Devane wrote extensively about the history of Highlands County, Okeechobee and surrounding areas.

As a result of their friendship, of more than 40 years, Albert probably knew more intimate details about Seminole history than any other living person at that time. He knew their geneology and could recite it as easy as a child recites the multiplication tables.

Chief Billie III preferred to sleep outdoors and his home was wherever he happened to be. He was born February 17, 1862, 3 miles from Lake Istokpoga on Arbukle Creek. He lived to the age of 103, and was over 6 feet tall. He was named at birth Billie Fewell by his father who was African American and his Mother a Seminole Indian. He died February 13, 1965 on the Brighton Reservation, in Florida

Artist: Keith Goodson

Location: The Plaza

Year: 2016

Sponsor: Rita Youngman 

Stuck in Time


Around the year 1927 three men of national prominence took a road trip through Highlands County. They explained they started from Ft. Myers and were going to take the loop around Arcadia in a quest for goldenrod, which could possibly be used as a potential source of rubber. The travelers had the misfortune of getting their Model-T stuck in the sand near Lake Annie. The local motor company owner Swain Bowers was called to their rescue with his truck and chains to pull them out. He found the thoroughly exhausted men with their car jacked up. The young entrepreneur would soon have this famous trio back on the road. At some point Swain Bowers realized in amazement he had just met Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone all at the same moment! Nearly ninety years ago!

Swain Bowers operated the Old Eagle service Station with his older brother. In 1927 he opened the Lake Placid Motor Co., at that time on N. Main St.

Artist: Keith Goodson

Location: The Plaza 

Year: 2015

Sponsor: Humberto and Janet Abriz

Tea At Southwinds


Not long after Dr. Melvil Dewey passed away, his resort, Litl Loj, became known as Southwinds. By the standards of those times, Dewey’s southern resort rivaled his northern resort at Lake Placid, NY.

These stylish ladies might have been a lot like Dewey’s guests—pretty, proper and primped. They were having tea on the luxurious patio of handmade Italian tiles. Their view from the patio was a long sweeping slope to the Lake Placid shoreline. It must have reminded them a little bit of home.

Southwinds is Lake Placid’s first mural. It’s an impression lifted from a postcard found at the Lake Placid Historical Society. But it was enough to get the mural project started in 1993.

Artist: Tom Freeman

Location: Caladium Arts and Crafts Co-op                                           at Interlake Blvd and Pine Street

Year: 1993

Sponsor: Tom Freeman

The Town of Murals