The Stories

304 Hillcrest Street

The house at 304 Hillcrest has been known by a couple different street numbers through the years (222, 302 & 306). As of 1917, it was only the second home on the south side of the street as you go west from Florida Avenue. It was also the only home on that block. The 304 street number stuck as of the street renumbering effort in 1924 and has remained since. As for the home’s age, the Polk County Appraiser’s Office lists the year of construction as 1913. A search of Lakeland’s 1915-16 directory doesn’t reveal any insight; however, the 1917-18 directory lists William & Mabel Moore as the occupants. The 1920 Census shows they owned the home (mortgaged). Looking back to the 1915 directory, we see that the Moore’s home was on Tennessee Ave. S. at the time. So who, if anyone lived in the house between 1913 and 1917?

The answer revealed itself in researching the Moores. Who were they? We can conclude that sometime in 1916, William Stephen & Mabel A [Drane] Moore had moved into the house. William was President of Moore’s Little Style Shop and a merchant tailor. The shop was in business from 1914 to at least 1931. William had moved from Virginia and Mabel Drane was born here in Lakeland. They met shortly thereafter at a party and were married on November 2, 1915.

That night it was noted in the Lakeland Evening Telegram, which covered the wedding that, “Upon their return to Lakeland, Mr. and Mrs. Moore will be at home to their friends in the beautiful new home, in the Drane Addition, which Mr. Moore is having built, and which when completed will be one of the most attractive residences in the city.” With this bit of information, we now know that the home was under construction as of November 1915. They honeymooned in Cuba with plans to move into the new home upon their return, so it would seem the house was complete in early 1916 (rather than 1913) and, indeed, Stephen and Mabel were the original builders and owners.

As William’s business grew through the years, so did their family. Their son Stephen was born in 1919 and a second son Herbert in 1920. They remained at 304 Hillcrest until at least 1931. William still lived on Hillcrest [at a house a block away] when he passed in 1966. Mabel, who lived to 99 years of age and had moved into her family home across from Drane Park passed in 1989. They never moved from the neighborhood and are both buried in Lakeland Memorial Gardens. Mabel’s father, as you may have already guessed, was Herbert Drane, one of Lakeland’s pioneer founding fathers.

Historic Home 4

Email HistoricDixieland@gmail.com

822 W Patterson Street

This grand home was once a fishing cottage according to its current owner. The story goes that this home was built in the 1880’s by Henry B Plant. Plant was an integral part of Florida’s history as a railroad tycoon. You can find more information about Plant here.

Historic Home 3

Do you know your century homes history? E-mail HistoricDixieland@gmail.com.