When we drove by in 2022, things looked closed down and the golf course permanently closed.  It's is a scenic drive even if they are closed. People live in this peaceful community.

Highland Park, Florida is located on Scenic Highway 17 in rural eastern Polk County, Florida, near Babson Park.  The population numbers in the low hundreds, but it is an incorporated community, an actual chartered town.

La Casa de Josephina, Highland Park, Florida

Highland Park was founded in 1927, and has always been a recreation focused community.


Highland Park, Florida Has an Historic Golf Course

The village is surrounded by an 18-hole golf course designed and built by the well known firm of Stiles & Van Kleek in 1927.  It is known today as Lekarica Hills Golf Course.

A Lake Wales businessman, B.K. Bullard, bought 3,000 acres in 1919 that included what is now Highland Park.

Bullard hired Irwin A. Yarnell to promote the community and sell lots. Yarnell produced many ads and brochures that are classics of Florida promotion.

Yarnell built a 25 room mansion in 1923 on a hilltop in Highland Park. It is still there today, and presents a great photo opportunity if you can find a place to stand and take the snapshot either from Scenic Highway 17 or the entrance into Highland Park.

Lekarica Hills Golf Course

"La Casa de Josephina" was a gift to his wife, Josephine, and it overlooks the entire community. It's architecture is typical of the Florida Boom era of the 1920's, Moorish looking like a Spanish or Italian palace.

The picture above of the Casa was taken in 2007. On a recent visit, I observed that the Casa had been painted a dark brown chocolate color.

Different strokes for different folks.

As of March 15, 2023, La Casa de Josephina is for sale for $1.5 million.  It has been on the market more than one year. Here is the listing: 

La Casa Josephina Realtor Ad

The Village of Highland Park is on the shores of Lake Easy. The lake used to be a favorite destination of weekend sea plane buffs who would fly in and have brunch at Lekarica resort.

Many of the early Highland Park residents were Quakers. They lived in a dormitory, separated into male and female wings.

The dormitory still stands, and is part of the Lekarica Golf and Country Club Resort. The restaurant was not open when I visited on a recent Monday (January 2012), but the original golf course is still played daily by residents and visitors.

Lekarica Resort Buildings

The hurricanes in 2004 did a lot of damage to Lekarica, but my recent visit showed that the damage has been repaired. There are plenty of fine vacation cottages on the property and the entire resort is for sale.

Step back in time and enjoy this part of Old Florida. It is a magical feeling to wander around Highland Park.


One of the most significant attractions in Highland Park is the Lekarica Country Club and Golf Course, which has been an integral part of the community for many years.

The course was designed by the renowned golf architect Donald Ross, and it features 18 holes spread across 6,582 yards of lush green fairways and challenging bunkers. The club has a rich history, having hosted several prestigious tournaments over the years, including the 1961 PGA Championship won by Jerry Barber.

However, in recent years, the Lekarica Country Club and Golf Course has faced some challenges. The property was sold in 2014 to a developer who intended to convert it into a residential community.

The sale sparked concerns among golf enthusiasts and residents of Highland Park, who feared that the historic golf course would be lost forever.

Despite these concerns, the developer moved forward with their plans, and the golf course was closed in 2018.

The closure of the Lekarica Country Club and Golf Course was a significant blow to the Highland Park community, as it was a popular gathering spot and a vital part of the town's identity.

However, there is some good news for residents and golf enthusiasts alike.

In 2021, the developer sold the property to a new owner who plans to restore the golf course and bring it back to its former glory.

The new owner has expressed a commitment to preserving the course's historic features while updating it to meet modern standards.

The restoration of the Lekarica Country Club and Golf Course is expected to take several years, but the community is optimistic about the future.

The reopening of the golf course will not only provide a recreational outlet for residents but also attract visitors and boost the local economy.

While the golf course has faced challenges in recent years, the community is optimistic about the future and looks forward to the day when the course will be restored to its former glory.


Lake Wailes Park
33 N Lakeshore Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853 | (863) 678-4182, ext. 239

Lake Wales is about 3.8 miles away from Highland Park. This picturesque lake is a favorite among locals and visitors for its tranquil surroundings and the variety of outdoor activities it offers.

You can enjoy a leisurely walk along the lakeside path, go fishing off the pier, or have a picnic in one of the shaded areas. The lake is also a popular spot for bird watching, with many species of waterfowl and waders making it their home.

It's a favorite place to unwind and soak in the natural beauty of Highland Park.

Bok Tower Gardens
1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853 | (863) 676-1408

This National Historic Landmark features a 205-foot tall Singing Tower with its carillon bells, lush gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., and the enchanting Pinewood Estate.

The gardens are a testament to the beauty of Florida's native plants and offer a peaceful escape into nature. The tower's carillon concerts are a unique experience, filling the gardens with music.

It's a magical place that combines art, architecture, and horticulture in perfect harmony. Picnic tables are available. Dogs are welcome.

Spook Hill
North Wales Drive, Lake Wales, FL 33853

This quirky local attraction is known for its optical illusion that makes stationary cars appear to roll uphill. Legend has it that the phenomenon is due to a giant alligator's spirit from a Native American legend.

Whether you're there for the science behind the gravity hill or the folklore, it's a fun stop that's sure to spark conversation and wonder. Don't forget to stop your car at the designated line and experience the mystery for yourself!

Lake Wales Country Club
2925 State Road 60 E, Lake Wales, FL 33898 | (863) 676-2422

This classic course offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels. Surrounded by Florida's natural landscape, the course features rolling hills, mature trees, and scenic views, making it a beautiful place to play a round or two.

The club also boasts a welcoming atmosphere, excellent facilities, and a restaurant where you can relax after your game. It's a favorite among locals for its friendly service and well-maintained greens.

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