With an abundance of lakes, fertile land that could support citrus groves and a wealth of trees for logging, it is not surprising that settlers would make their way to Lake County.
Once regarded as rugged wilderness, the county began to come into its own in the years after the Civil War. Enterprising businessmen, developers and farmers were drawn to the area that had been part of Sumter and Orange counties. Lake County was established officially in July 1887. That same year the county witnessed another sign of progress: the construction of The Orange Belt Railway.
And with civilization, the beautiful lakes began getting names. There are more than a 1,000 named lakes in the county.
When the first census was done in 1890, there were just 8,034 residents in the county. Today there are approximately 290,000.
The past is gone but far from forgotten in South Lake County. Whether visiting the city of Clermont’s charming downtown or taking a walk on a leg of one of the area’s historic walking/hiking trails, the area offers ways to take a step back in time.