It Began in 1880
The City of Tavares was founded in 1880 by Major St. Clair Abrams in hopes that it would be the capital of Florida. Instead, Tavares became the county seat for Lake County in 1887. Through the years, Tavares has developed into a governmental center. It is home to three courthouses and a state-of-the-art Criminal Justice Complex and Jail.Many historical sties tell the story of Tavares’ history. The Woodlea House is believed to be the oldest standing structure in Lake County. Built in 1871 by Captain Melton Haynes (1827-1883), this home and the land on which it sits was named Woodlea by Isabella Haynes, the daughter of Melton and Sarah Haynes. Other historic landmarks include the Opera House (built by Major Abrams in 1887) and the current courthouse built in 1924).
The museum, located on Main Street, is an excellent source for further information on area history.