The Pipkin Bandshell at Florida Southern College in Lakeland was constructed in 1941. It was named after a Lakeland pioneer named L. N. Pipkin, who moved to Polk County in 1883 and served as a Florida Southern trustee since 1910 and still going as of that dedication October 1941 ceremony. The 80-year-old campus landmark was torn down this week to make room for the growing college’s new athletic department building.
At one point, bandshells cropped up in many small towns across Central Florida. Most were constructed in the 1920 boom years and most were torn down during the 1960s and 1970s. So the Pipkin bandshell was, in many ways, an anachronism. It was not used for much anymore. It hosted a computer lab inside when I attended college there 19 years ago.
So it makes sense to tear down the bandshell, which needed expensive repairs, in favor of a more useful modern space. But it’s still sad to see such a landmark go. It was the site of many concerts and where I accepted my fraternity bid two decades ago!