Lawler twins left their mark on Kissimmee business community

Women’s History Month 2021

Lawler Twins: Lola and Lottie

Which twin arrived in the world first is a mystery, but what is known is the Lawler twins left their mark in the community of Kissimmee, Florida. Lottie and Lola Lawler were born on May 15, 1888, in Wildwood, Florida, to circuit-riding Methodist minister, Rev. Samuel W. Lawler and his wife Mary. The family was in Kissimmee from 1896-1898 and again from 1913-1916 when Rev. Lawler was minister of the First United Methodist Church.  Living also in Alachua and Polk counties, Lottie and Lola chose to settle in Kissimmee where they would live out their lives.

Following her graduation from Florida Southern, Lola attended Florida State University, studied Christian education at Southern University in Texas and also studied at Northfield, New Hampshire. She worked for the Everglades Cypress Lumber Company in Loughman, Florida, as assistant bookkeeper. Later, Lola taught for two years in the Kissimmee schools, requiring her students to memorize quotations and scripture verses. A member of the Woman’s Club and charter member of the Business and Professional Woman’s Club (BPW), she served as president for both organizations. For four years, Lola was state elementary superintendent of the Methodist Church and served on the Board of Stewards of the First United Methodist Church in Kissimmee.

Of particular importance to Lola was the visual impression Kissimmee made on newcomers. As a member of the Garden Club, this afforded her the opportunity to organize a Beautification League for the City of Kissimmee in 1927. The League aided in a project of planting palms around the lakefront and shrubbery at the Community House. For many years, she also directed the plantings down the center of Broadway.

Lola Lawler passed away on November 16, 1966, and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Kissimmee. The Woman’s Club honored her with a memorial window in the First United Methodist Church.

The Lawler Twins with Mrs. Frank King (center).

Lottie Lawler

Lottie Lawler was often referred to as a “one-woman show.”  She served as secretary for the Kissimmee Chamber of Commerce for six years during the 1930s and was elected vice-president of the Chamber in 1933.  Lottie was also a charter member of the BPW, serving two years as president and also as district director. As a dare by the national BPW president in 1933, Lottie and another member from Tampa hitch-hiked 1,500 miles to the national BPW convention in 1933. She claimed the trip cost them each only $9.35.  

Upon leaving the Chamber in 1936, Lottie entered into the real estate business with Lola. They established the Lawler Agency, located at 25 Broadway. Lottie also helped organize a regular Tuesday night program for the Kissimmee All-States Tourist Club. Like Lola, Lottie served on the Board of Stewards for the First United Methodist Church.  

Lottie became a resident of John Milton Nursing Home and on April 7, 1970, the local BPW presented her with her own wheelchair, complete with the BPW emblem on the back. A tea was also given in her honor at the nursing home on May 17, designated by the club as “Lottie Lawler Day.” Lottie Lawler passed away on March 20, 1972, and rests beside Lola in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Written by Anza Bast

Sources:  Ancestry.com; “Kissimmee Gazette” April 15, 1955, April 16, 1970, March 23, 1972; “Orlando Sentinel” December 2, 1966, April 22, 1970