Lake Co. Communities and Settlements
Umatilla grew when the St Johns & Lake Eustis Railroad was constructed in 1881. Among the first businesses in Umatilla was a citrus packing house.
After the Big Freeze of the mid-1890s the town diversified. Vegetables were grown and shipped to northern markets, cattle ranches and turpentine
extraction also helped the changeover. During the begining of the 1900s
peaches were grown and much of the timber was logged.
Umatilla is the "Gateway to the Ocala National Forest". Although its size is small, about 2,000 people, it attracts people from all over the world.
Activities include the International skydiving meets held at the Umatilla Airport. The horse back riding activities have included a 100 mile ride and a
large Rodeo held at the Lake County Boys Ranch. Statewide RV rallies converge on Olde Mill Stream RV Resort.
The town celebrates a Black Bear Festival each year.
The town fathers were very inovative. The railroad track ran down the middle of the town dividing the shopping district. Instead of making the streets on either side of the track one way, they made them 2-way which encouraged people to shop both sides of the street with ease.
Now the main street of town is a 4-laned highway FL 19 which meanders through the Ocala National Forest with the next large town being over 50 miles distant.
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Last Updated by Fran Smith on Saturday, 15 March, 2012
Acron Aka Paisley