In 1875, wealthy attorney and newspaperman Maj. Alexander St. Clair Abrams and his wife, Joanna, journeyed north from their home in Orlando to a bridge of land weaving through a chain of beautiful lakes. It was here, in the heart of the state, where Major St. Clair Abrams envisioned a town that would someday be the seat of a new county.
In 1880, he began to lay out his town, calling it after a Spanish ancestor, a grandee named Lopez Para y Tavares. St. Clair Abrams made Tavares a railroad hub, believing railroads and waterways were the key to growth and prosperity. He built hotels, mills, factories, and parks. Despite a destructive fire in 1888 that leveled the business district and the 1894 and 1895 freezes that set back the citrus industry, settlers continued to arrive.
Today, Tavares maintains its small-town charm while it prospers as “America’s Seaplane City.” The author hopes that Tavares will “transport people back to a simpler time when the pioneering spirit and a sense of place and community existed, and to have readers reminisce about the days of life on Old Main Street USA.”
Highlights of Tavares:
• A portion of the profits from the sale of the book will go toward local historical preservation and education.
• Photographs in the book were selected from albums of longtime Tavareans and historical society archives.
• Also, many of the photographs are courtesy of the extensive picture postcard collection of Lake County historian, Clayton Bishop.
Grenier moved to Florida from Chicago in 1985. He is an author, preservationist, public speaker, living historian, and board member of the Lake County Historical Society and Tavares Historical Society.
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