Lake Wales is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 10,194 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 11,802. It is part of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lake Wales is located in central Florida, west of Lake Kissimmee and east of Tampa.HistoryThe land around the present city was surveyed in 1879 by Sidney Irving Wailes, who changed the name of a lake, then known as Watts Lake, to Lake Wailes.The city of Lake Wales was established near the lake in 1911-12, planned by the Lake Wales Land Company. The spelling Wales was used for the city, although the lake is still generally spelled Lake Wailes.In 1925 the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad built a new line from Haines City joining lines to Everglades City. A depot was opened on this line at Lake Wales.In 2004, Lake Wales endured the effects of three hurricanes which came through the area: Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne. The three hurricanes brought hurricane force winds to the Lake Wales area within a space of 44 days.Geography and climateThe town lies near the geographical center of the Florida peninsula. Lake Wales is located on the Lake Wales Ridge, a sandy upland area running roughly parallel to both coasts in the center of the peninsula. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.0 square miles (36 km2). 13.4 square miles (35 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (4.71%) is water.