Orlando Evening Star
28-A September 21, 1969
Tourism comes to Florida's Clermont
By MILLER DAVIS
CLERMONT, Fla.—Here is the heart of Florida where kids go to bed in the Winter praying, . . and please God don't let the frost hurt the oranges..."
It hardly ever does.
For this green jewel of a community, nestled among 17 lakes, basks in the sun almost all of the year and the mean temperature is 72.
Citrus indeed is king here in Central Florida, and each year some 18 million boxes of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and tangelos are shopped to Vitamin C-oriented Americans everywhere.
Still, Clermont is surging into a visitors' town because of its water recreation, uncrowded beauty and --- because of its proximity --- it will become even more popular -- Disneyworld will soon open its fantasy only 30 minutes away.
Clermont offers the tourist the only real hills in Florida. except for the ridges of Tallahassee far to the north in the upper boottop of the state.
From the famed Citrus Tower, highest point in the state, the visitor can see both the Atlantic and the Gulf on a clear bright day. Carillon bells add a kind of Swiss-alp charm as the sightseer gazes out over the 1442 lakes of surrounding Lake County and across some $700 million worth of citrus acreage.
Clermont was a sleepy little community of 2000 in 1950; now it has grown to 5000 and has become a prime location for homesites for middle-income re-trees.
For visitors there are plenty of modern, reasonably priced motels, fine sandy beaches along the lakes which literally bump into each other, and excellent bass and pan fishing.
Nearby are the cultural advantages of any Florida big city — at Orlando and Winter Park, the home of Rollins College. Each offers first-class theater, symphony concerts, and a number of writing work-shops flourish in the area.
Clermont is as near as any community to the geographical center of Florida and also the population center. Two of the state's most heavily traveled highways intersect a town's edge --- U.S. 27 and Florida 50.
And for the person interested in permanent residency ---- the tax rate is low and light industry out-side the town proper hires retirees to augment full-time labor.
The general area is also noted for its watermelon production and sprawling cattle ranches.
Lakefront cottages are probably more plentiful around Clermont than at any other inland resort spot in Florida. And because Clermont is off the beaten track of the coastal resorts, the prices are much more reasonable.
And, as the sign says, there's always an added attraction: Come to Clermont and See the Wax Museum -- All the U.S. Presidents in Lifesize Wax. How about that.