Imagine you traveled back in time to the early 1930s and you decided to make Winter Haven your “home base” while you explored Central Florida — and you booked your stay at the Haven Hotel.
What might staying at the hotel (now The Haven condominiums) have been like? One of its earliest brochures offers a glimpse into its history.
“Conveniences that one expects to find only in the large metropolitan hotels are offered to the guests of the Haven Hotel. In the lobby is a well stocked cigar and newsstand where one may purchase the morning or evening paper from your home city. Telegraph Office and long distance telephones are conveniently located on this floor. The reading and writing rooms and Ladies’ Parlors are on the Mezzanine floor. Direct connection with New York Stock Exchange is maintained through Ardis, Warwick & Co., members NYSE.”
The brochure describes Winter Haven as a city of about 5,000 amid “spring fed crystal clear lakes.” (Note: Our lakes are not spring-fed and are totally dependent upon rainfall for their level.)
It touted a city of beautiful homes, fine churches, splendid schools and wide, paved streets which were “well-lighted at night.”
The city was said to offer the amenities of others twice it size.
The copy goes on to note “there are no extremes of temperature in Winter Haven; its climate makes it indeed a ‘Winter Haven’ where balmy breezes and bright sunshine make glorious days for rest or recreation. Golf, tennis, bathing, boating, fishing and hunting (in season) may be enjoyed every day of the year.”
The hotel boasted, “Our dining room service is the best and our meals are a tempting menu of savory and appetizing dishes prepared from the best materials in a clean, modern hotel kitchen, by our competent chef and his capable assistants. The hotel’s excellent orchestra furnishes delightful music during the dinner hour, and later in the evening rhythmic strains of the latest popular music lead your steps to the dance floor. ...
“Guest rooms are all ... large, bright, and well-ventilated. ... The furnishings and appointments are modern in every detail, all have shower or tub bath, steam heat and room telephones. An electric elevator serves all floors.”
It must have been quite the hotel “back in the day.”
This information was taken from a brochure published about the time Bok Tower opened, which was 1929. There is not mention of Cypress Gardens, which opened in 1936. Punctuation within quotes is as presented in the brochure.
The Museum of Winter Haven History is closed for the summer. Tours are available year-round for groups of four or more by appointment. Contact Bob Gernert at (863) 206-6855 or firstname.lastname@example.org