Auburndale was originally named Sanitaria by its founders, a group of health seekers in 1873. Later, the name was changed by settlers to Auburndale, after Auburndale, MA. These early settlers were fruit growers and packers and they lined Lake Ariana with large estates.
By 1900, Auburndale was steadily growing with an economy based largely on agriculture. In 1913, the entire downtown area was destroyed by fire, then again in 1915.
Today, Auburndale plays a major role in the citrus industry in Polk County. A great deal of the packing, processing, and distribution of citrus in done in Auburndale. Tours are available in some of these facilities.
The City of Auburndale's Parks and Recreation Department operates a beach complex on Lake Ariana, which features one of Florida's largest freshwater beaches.
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