This historic photo shows a young woman shopping in Lakeland, Florida in 1939.

Lakeland was incorporated January 1, 1885 and rose to prominence due to its strategic location on the railway line connecting Tampa and Orlando. This advantageous positioning helped Lakeland develop into a thriving city. A particularly notable chapter in Lakeland’s history is its contribution to World War II efforts. In 1940, the city became home to Lodwick Field, a flight training school. This facility quickly became an important part of the war effort. Thousands of pilots were trained there. Many of these trainees went on to serve with distinction across various theaters of war.

The operation of Lodwick Field in Lakeland had a profound impact on the city, both economically and culturally. It is possible this young woman was the wife of one such trainee. The influx of trainees and their families helped the local Lakeland economy and brought diversity to the city.

Photograph by Marion Post Wolcott. Restored and colorized by KNOWOL.