Going south from Leesburg
through a densely wooded hammock lying along the west shore of Lake
Harris, the "Okahumpka Run" is reached, a narrow channel of water
connecting Lakes Harris and Dunham. The county road and the Plant
System Railway cross the run at Helena. Here, for may years, was
the head of navigation for the Ocklawaha line of steamers, and the most
inland point having steamer connection with the ocean through Lake s
Harris, Eustis, and Griffin, with their river connection, thence
north down the Ocklawaha to the St. Johns, and down that to the
The scenery on the Okahumpka Run is weirdly beautiful and luxuriantly
resembling, but unsurpassed by, any portion of the far-famed Ocklawaha.
Westward, to the Sumter County line, and eastward to Lake
Astatula, skirting the southerly lines of Lakes Harris and Dunham and
connection "run", are several thousand acres of rich hammock lands,
ot the westward being fringed with cypress swamp, containing some
specimens of forest giants, several of the largest ranging from twenty
thirty-five feet in circumference, and being very tall. Through
hammocks thousands of wild orange trees were found and have since been
and form parts of orange groves that now occupy a large portion of
rich lands. In this locality is situated Crystal Spring, a mirror
sheet of water several acres in extent and of enormous depth.
Near this wonderful spring is Okahumpka
a station on the Plant System. In the midst of a high, rolling
timber belt, on soil whose excellence is proven by thrifty orange
groves, Okahumpka is noted for its air of progress. A handsome
church, a nice school, two large well-stocked general stores, express,
and post-office, and the justly
noted Clarendon Hotel, are all within close proximity to the station.
The sportsman and the pleasure-seeker find a wide range of
amusement here. This locality is noted for its healthfulness.
About a mile east of Okahumpka is the picturesque
Palatlakaha Creek, which through its tortuous courses of about fifty
miles, furnishes an outlet to the ocean for numerous small lakes.
Within the past few years the Palatlakaha has attained an international
reputation because of the wonderful kaolin deposits -- discovered along
its course. For purity and color this is said to be unequaled by
any other deposit yet found in America.
It is stated that kaolin from the Richmond mine was sent to France, and
the china made from it equaled the finest class known to the art.
Palatlakaha Kaolin Mill is located about a mile up the creek where it
into Lake Harris. Here the pretty village of Richmond
is situated, on the road between Okahumpka and Bloomfield
About twelve miles south and on this same stream deposits of ocre await
development and will prove profitable.
Situated among the pines, at a considerable elevation,
about a third of a mile south of Lake Harris, is the neat compact
village of Bloomfield. A large church, a nice schoolhouse, two
stores, and a post-office are there. A steamer furnishes
transportation facilities. Orange and truck growing are the
leading industries. About two miles east from here is Yalaha
situated on a bluff close to the water's edge, and commanding a
magnificent view of the lake. It has a number of good stores, a
church, post-office, and admirable school facilities. Its natural
surroundings are surpassingly lovely. Its orange groves are
thrifty and vigorous. To the south of this section, and east of
the Palatlakaha, are the little settlements of
Around these is a beautiful rolling country dotted with pretty
lakes. Many neat homes and flourishing groves abound. Villa
a miniature city of villas, promises to become a
favorite winter resort for the tourist and health seeker. About
three miles west from it on the Orange Belt division of the Plant
System, is the thriving village of Mascotte
Rolling lands and pretty lake characterize this vicinity; but southward
to the Polk County line are extensive areas of flat lands with
hammocks. Stock raising and farming find a happy and profitable
here. These interests, with truck farming, contribute to the
of two stores and other commercial enterprises.
the metropolis of the lake region, is located between Lake Harris and
Lake Griffin, and is the largest town in Lake County.
This village, on the St.
Johns and Lake Eustis branch of the Plant System, is six miles east of
Leesburg. It has a post-office, express office, and a general
store. It is in the midst of over 700 acres of orange
groves. The oranges from this section took the premium at the New
Orleans exposition in competition with the world.. and have won in
similar contests at other exhibits. The soil is black and
fertile, with a clay subsoil from six inches to two feet beneath the
surface. Beneath this is a sub-stratum of marl. This entire
section was once a wild orange grove. In this section are some of
the largest orange groves in the State; the Lovell grove, the
famous General Tilson grove, and the widely known "Bonaventure", owned
by Hon. E. H. Mote, who has recently planted over thirteen thousand
young trees. Over twenty thousand trees have been set out in the
last two years and large areas are being cleared for more to be set.
The Orange Bend section is so widely known as the home of
the golden fruit that few visitors to Florida fail to see it. The
land is so rich and its yield of fruit and truck is so great that it is
regarded as exceptionally valuable. The great Tilson grove,
containing 150 acres in oranges, and its neighbor, the Mote grove, with
over 100 acres, known
as "Bonaventure" is also one of the largest truck farms in Florida,
125 acres in truck. It is on the banks of beautiful Lake Griffin,
a charming view, and is one of the most valuable properties in the
The famous grove of the Bishop-Hoyt Fruit Company is
situated in Orange Bend. The late Hon. P.P. Bishop, who was one
of the earliest orange growers in this part of the State, was president
of the company until his death, in December, 1896. The fine fruit
of this grove was widely known and sought after, not only in the North,
but in England, where were shipped every Christmas time some thousands
six miles from Leesburg; Fruitland
two miles west of Leesburg; Whitney
, on Lake Harris; Viola
and Lake Griffin; Astor Park, Paisley
, on the banks of the St. Johns River; Higley
, located between Lake Eustis and Lake Yale; Altoona
are all attractive small towns, or communities, located in Lake County.
Lake County has a countless number of lakes, among the
largest of which are Lakes Apopka, Eustis, Harris, Griffin and
Dora. IT has an area of 237 square miles of lakes, many of which
are linked by connecting channels; and these are among the finest
yachting and fishing waters in the world.
Eldorado is another of those indescribable charms that
have made Lake Harris- the "Galilee of America"- so famous.
minutes' ride of Leesburg by rail, it is visited by hundreds. A
hillside is covered with a succession of orange groves that make it a
Summed up in a word, Lake County stands out conspicuously
as one of the greatest counties of this great State, not only in
producing power, but in the character and thrift of its citizenship,
in the charm of its matchless scenery.
Comments and suggestions
will be welcomed.
- Last Updated #minneola#minneola#minneola#minneola#minneolaby ../../lcarticles/articles.html#astorFran Smith on October 24, 2008.