CRYSTAL RIVER, "THE SPORTSMAN'S PARADISE"

Crystal Springs, Paradise For Sportsmen, Develops Rapidly, On Awakening
Is Extending City Limits; Has Many Points Of Interests Nearby





Crystal River, “The Sportsman’s Paradise!” So has it long been called as the town and surrounding country offers a splendid field to the hunter and the fisherman. Its beautiful, crystal clear waters team with fish of all kinds; Bream, trout, black bass, mullet, etc., besides the silver tarpon, may be seen in vast numbers, gaily swimming in the liquid depths, while the woods abound in game including turkey, quail, squirrels, deer and even bear.

The town itself is an old one and has lain dormant for many years; but like every other city and village in Florida today, developments are contemplated and Crystal River is awakening from her sleep.

A few local improvements have already taken place and are in the making; an addition to the Crystal River Inn, one of the leading hostelries here, is nearing completion; the filling in and clearing of the lots on Market street will make them among the most desirable lots for business purposes in the town; but these are all minor improvements, and but mark the beginning of the big developments contemplated in the very near future. An ordinance was recently passed by the town council, to pave Lemon street and lay sidewalks all along Crystal street from Main to the city limits.  Other streets will soon be opened and paved and sidewalks laid, to do which paving certificates will be issued and the cost leveled against the abutting property.

Streets have already been cut through the Springdale addition, owned by a St. Petersburg corporation; and the location is one of the most beautiful lying as the land does around Crystal Bay, at the head of Crystal River, where deep springs  constantly bubble forth, furnishing the stream with an ever flowing supply of fresh, clear water.

Has Majestic Palms

Tall majestic palms, sturdy oaks, graceful pines, stately cedars, and glorious magnolias, are here found in rich profusion, and it is proposed to leave as many of these wild forest trees as compatible with beauty, progress and safety. Many little islands dot the bay lending picturesqueness to the scene.

Lots in the Hyde Park addition which lie fronting the Inverness Road, have all been staked and a number of them sold. Building here is expected to begin sometime this Fall or early Winter. The city limits were recently extended to take in this subdivision.

“Kenwood,” another subdivision where the work of clearing and surveying is now going on, lies on the Dunnellon road, and will also be highly restricted.

“Palm Place” comprises forty lots in the Crystal Park addition, and is owned by the Adams Reality Company. Mr. Kneeling is a builder and contractor and will begin the work of construction immediately after the bond election. He will erect attractive, modern bungalows on each of the ten lots. This will be a restricted section and lots will only be sold on condition that homes are built at once.

Sell Small Tracts

Large and small tracts have in and near Crystal River been sold to development companies, and there is no question about activities here this Winter. The housing proposition here as elsewhere in the State, is a most serious one. There is not a vacant house to be found in the town, and letter of inquiry regarding same, come in every mail. The three hotels and the several boarding houses, will be utterly inadequate this Winter, if business has been good here all Summer. The tourist camp will have to be enlarged to meet the demand of the tent dwellers. While many will be called upon to open to open their homes, barns and garages to furnish accommodation to part at least of the hundreds who are even now passing through because of lack of house rooms, we cannot hold them here.

Besides her rivers and springs, Crystal River furnishes food for the sightseers, as there are several historic places nearby, a trip down the river by boat is one full of interest. The winding river with its many bays and islands scattered here and there, is lined with a variety of forest trees, palms, ferns, etc.

Famous Spanish Mound

A few miles down, a rustic foot bridge attracts the eye, and leads to an immense Spanish Mound, which rears its crest 100 feet or more above the surrounding country. This mound was built ages ago, entirely of shell.  Its tops and sides are overgrown with giant trees and natural swings of the grape and rattan vines.  What, by whom and for what purpose this mound was built is unknown; but there it stands a sentinel standing guard, and watching and waiting for the advance of progress of beautiful homes to stand where now and through the ages past, Mother Nature alone held away. Further down the river and near its mouth, lies Shell Island; this is one of the most popular spots for fishfrys, week-end parties and oyster suppers.

Several cottages on the island afford accommodations, and bathing and fishing parties here find their hearts delight. The island is entirely covered with oyster shells. Lying so near the Gulf of Mexico, refreshing breezes fan its shores constantly, making it a delightful summer resort, as the nights are always chilly, necessitating blankets.

Near Lecanto, eight miles from Crystal River, on the Inverness Road, may be seen quite an alligator farm; besides squirrels, skunks, coons, possums. The owner is a taxidermist, and has perfect curio shop of stuffed animals, and fancy articles made by him.

Another attractive and interesting spot is a five-acre tract on the Homosassa road, just beyond the townsite of the city contemplated by the Chicago group; this tract was not included in the holdings recently purchased by this corporation, as it had been previously deeded to the women of the Citrus County Federation of Women’s Clubs, for park purposes.

A Historic Spot

Facing the road where it could not possibly be overlooked, stand the ruins of an old sugar mill, known as the “Yulee Mill” as it was at one time part of the equipment of the Yulee Plantation, laid waste many years ago. The tall chimney is built of native rock, the masonry being in splendid condition. The approximate age of this ruin may be estimated by the size of the immense trees now growing out of it, the trunks of some of them being grown into the cogs of the wheels of the machinery to the depth of several inches. The old ovens are still there as well as three great iron kettles, rusted and corroded, but still firmly embedded in the rocks in which they had been placed. This relic of former times will be carefully preserved by the women, who intend to have cleared only so much of the underbrush and jungle as absolutely necessary, but will as far as possible, preserve the natural wild beauty of the place.

A Great Blue Bowl

Did you ever look down into a spring and see the moss grown rocks one hundred feet below? The Homosassa Spring at the head of the Homosassa River, presents the appearance of a huge blue bowl (the waters of the spring being an intense blue), resting in a bed of green moss grown rocks, its waters, seething, and boiling and bubbling, one hundred feet below, with fish of all sizes and kinds, sporting in their depths, with here and there a mullet splitting the waters, leaping into the air and again seeking its natural element. Hundreds of these fish can be seen in the crystal clear waters of this, as well as all other rivers of this section. In view of this most attractive spot the syndicate will erect a 300-room hotel, construction of which is promised at an early date.

The “Wishing Well” just outside of the city limits, is another source of attraction, a natural wonder. Simply a hole in the ground, which never fills up, whose waters are of unsounded depth, and no known outlet. It might be the fabulous and mythical “Wishing Well” of ancient lore.

Crystal River has a population of approximately 1200; electric lights and telephone service; good hard-surfaced roads leading to it; paved streets; a white way along its business center; several brick store buildings; three hotels; railway station—two passenger trains daily; a large rock quarry just a few miles out; and a good school building, erected only last year. School opened here on August 31. Also have churches of all denominations, and a motion picture theater. The streets here are wide and nicely laid out, and Main and Crystal Streets are on the main highway from Tampa to Valdosta, Ga. Crystal River is eighty-five miles north of Tampa; thirty-three miles from Brooksville; eighteen miles from Inverness and about forty miles from Ocala.

Had Cedar Industry

This was, a few years ago, the center of the cedar industry—a large cedar pencil factory having operated here for a number of years, and having only recently being dismantled—the machinery sold, building torn down, and the 500 acres upon which it now stands, will be placed on the market.

Citrus groves, grape vineyards, and truck farms, conclusively prove the value of the soil, which is a rich sandy loam, with clay subsoil in many locations; muck grounds abound in the low lying sections, though very little swamp land is to be found. It is nearly all high and rolling. The vegetables grown here are among the best in the South, while the corn, raised here in great quantities, cannot be excelled anywhere.

The government of the town is in the hands of the city manager, ably seconded by the mayor and council, all progressive men who have the interests of the city and its people at heart. The Booster Club and the Board of Trade, aided and abetted by the Women’s Club, the latter federated both with the County and State Federation, stand with the city fathers in all moves tending toward all progress and development.

A splendid high school was built here last year. The building is of red brick, two stories in height, modern in every particular; plenty of space for playground, tennis court, basket and baseball, those courts having already been installed. Pupils come here from Ft. Inglis, Dunnellon, Red Level, Lecanto and Homosassa to attend the higher grades. 

Author: Agnes Adams

Source: Tampa Tribune: 2-7-1926

Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers 



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