Our Florida travels took us to Lake Wales and the Bok Tower which is located out in the middle of hundreds and hundreds of acres of orange groves. This unlikely location was chosen by the Bok family in 1927 perhaps because it is on top of a knob or small hill which is said to be the highest location above sea level in Florida.
The location brings up the mental image of an oasis in the middle of a dessert. The Bok Tower and Gardens are surrounded by lush gardens and towering live oak trees, but the surrounding countryside is very arid and the orange trees have to be irrigated.
The tower was build between 1927 – 1929 and rises some 205 feet above the top of the hill. It is a beautiful structure with brick walls and facings of pink and grey Georgia marble and Florida coquina, a limestone of shell and coral fragments. The singing tower contains 60 bells, from the smallest of 11 pounds to the largest of over 11 tons. The singing tower was presented to Calvin Coolidge on February 1, 1929 to be used as a national landmark.
The base is surrounded by a water moat which contains all kind of rather large gold fish. Near the base is located a sundial but I couldn’t figure out how to read the time from the sundial. As one looks skyward, on can see the beautiful tower which encloses all of the bells. There are some mighty scary figures carved on top of the tower – no doubt left there to keep any evil spirits away. We listened to a “concert” of recorded music from the carillon but went away wondering what live music from the bells would have really sounded like.