Not only is the County of Citrus teeming with opportunity, but the little towns scattered throughout the County give promise ofcoming importance. Each town is located in a territory that is well able to support business interests a dozen times as large as those which now exists, and the settling of farm land with energetic workers, a step that is inevitable and about to be started even now, will make of the present hamlets important towns and shipping centers for produce.
Inverness, the County Seat, has advantages of location from the standpoint of transportation, lake protection for farm and grove and good roades radiating in every direction.
Hernando and Holder, for many years dependent for many years entirely upon phosphate mines, have now discovered that fertile soil and salubrioas climates are greater assests and thes towns have begun an upward move. Floral City is akin to Inverness its advantages and the present season will see a long step forwatd in the products shipped from its station. Crystal River is already well cared for in an industrial way and Homosassa, with its rich hammock lands awaiting developement, should begin to grow space.
Perhaps the best description of the various towns in Citrus County is that written bt I. O. Fender, cashire of the Citizens Bank at Inverness, and published in The Tribune Christmas edition and later in the Inverness Chronicle. It follows:
Holder, five miles north of Hernando, has been a great center of the mining industry and has also relied too much on the mining business. Holder needs many good, substantial farmers to clear up great tracts of land and to engage in general farming and stock raising. Some of the county's best citizens live in Holder and always takes pride in showing the newcomer all due courtesies. The citizens of Holder especially invite the homeseeker the possibilities of their town, and more especially their farming lands before investing elsewhere. Lands for general farming can be bought in large tracts and in small for as little as $5 to $10 per acre. These lands are easily cleared, too. To illustrate, one enterprising citizen who believes that there are great possibilities in farming in this territory selected a body of whsat is known as cut over land between Hernando and Holder, meaning by cut over land, land from which the timber has been removed, and had it plowed under last fall. Last winter sixty-two acres of it ws bedded out and planted in velvet beans in early spring before it was fenced. The beans were coming up before the fence was put around it. After the fence was completed not a day's work was done in this field, and yet the owner refused $600 for the crop of beans and believes the field worth $1000. The real object of the bean crop was not remuneration, but the preperation of the soil for future crops.
Crystal River is located on the river of the same name, and is oly about nine miles from the Gulf. It claims, and probably justly so, the largest cedar mill in the South, the largest crate factory in the Staate, and also the largest rock quarry. Its fish aand oyester business amounts to $100,000 annually. It is surrounded by some fine trucking lands. The lands are especially adapted to gardening.
Crystal River has a bank, a number of prosperous mercantile establishments, four white churches, a graded and high school, hard surfaced streets, two hotels, a newspaper and many nice homes. The population is one thousand or more. The citizenship of Crystal River is of the highest type. Its. people are cultured and social and endeavor to make the homeseeker and tourist feel at home. Fishing and hunting near the town is especially good. The river abounds in fish of all kinds peculier to this climate and the Gulf is easily reached by means of launches, where many oysters may be had, and where there are many opportunities for the sportsman to enjoy life. The town has a local board of trade and a town improvement society, both of which work for the improvement and advancement of the town. (Photo: Street Scene in Crystal River)i
Homosassa, as the name implies, means a " River of Many Fish." This river, on which is located the town of the same name, abounds in fish of all kinds, both salt water and fresh. She heads nine miles from the Gulf of Mexico, being formed by many beautiful streams, which are as clear as crystal and are the world's greatest natural aquariums Sight-seers looking into these streams for the first time, watching the many different kinds of fish, feast their eyes for hours on this beautiful moving picture of God's own gift. Tourists from all over the world has visited the Homosassa River and the springs forming it, and almost without an exception, pronounce them one of the beauty spots of the earth aand the angels' paradise.
During the winter months duck shooting on this river is excellant. There is a vast area of creeks and marshes surrounding Homosassa in which ducks in great numbers feed. There is a number of swamps running parrellel with the Gulf and surrounding the town of Homosassa. These swamps are about twenty miles in length with an average width of three miles. In them deer and turkey may yet be found in sufficient numbers to afford good hunting. In these swamps or hammocks near the town and on the river was once the famous sugar plantation of General Eulee. Here it is said he made the money for building, or at least for interesting eastern capitalists in building one of the first railroads in the state, the old Eulee road from Cedar Keys to Fernandina. The old sugar factory still remains a monument to anti-bellum days when such plantations were worked by hundreds of negro slaves. The old sugar kettles and the old furnaces are still in place. Large cedar trees entwine their roots around the old iron kettles and on top of the furnaces twelve feet high stands cedar trees eight to twelve inches in diameter. The old plantation would not be recognized but for this old factory as it is now a swamp of low hammock. Farming has been neglected in spite of the very rich soil and fishing is almost the only occupation of the settler near the Homosassa River. Homosassa only needs another hotel to make it a desirable resort for the tourist in search of fishing and hunting during the winter months.
Inverness, the county seat of Citrus County, has a population of about 2000 people. The location of the town is very favorable for the building of quite a city. On the east it has a beautiful lake frontage on Tsala Apopka Lake. Around the borders of the lake are the finest orange groves of the county. The lake affords opportunities for the use of many small launches and pleasure boats. On the West are the high piney woods, the pine forests extending for nearly twenty miles to the Gulf.
Inverness is connected with almost every section of the county by means of good hard surfaced roads. The Atlantic Coastline and the Seaboard Air Line railroads with six or eight trains daily afford transportation to the outside world.
The past three years have witnessed the building of a $70,000 court house, a $25,000 jail, a $20,000 Masonic temple, two blocks of brick stores, a magnificent eleven-room brick school house, and near a score of pretty homes. There are two banks, an ice plant, a concrete factory, one of the largest saw mills in the State, a garage and repair shop, a large blacksmith shop, two phosphate mines, a small laundry and two packing houses. Inverness houses and business houses are lighted with electricity. There are five churches and a number of secret orders. The Masons have a commandry and one of the most creditable buildings in the State.
About fifteen hundred car loads of yellow pine lumber, forty thousand tons of phosphate, twenty thousand boxes of oranges and grapefruit, and one hundred car loads of melons are shipped from the town annually. Three years ago not a car of melons had ever been shipped from the town. It is now estimaated that over a hundred cars may be shipped another year. There are possibilities of increasing to five hundred or even a thousand cars yearly. There are also great possibilities of increasing the production of citrus fruits.
There has not been a murder in town except one or two negroes, and no place has been more free from robberies and petty theives. The people are peacefully disposed and very socially inclined. A regular lyceum course has been provided for several years, and only high class entertainmen s have been given by it. (Photo: Main Street in Inverness - Courthouse)
Thr Inverness graded and high school is the pride of the town. No city has a better public school sentiment. A compulsary educaation law is not needed. Inverness children, go to school because it is umpopular otherwise, and because the people believe in offering their children an opportunity of a liberal education . The comfortable school building and the large, pretty school grounds are very inviting to those desiring an opportunity to educate their children.
Inverness has two hotels and a number of boarding houses, but has need of a tourist hotel, and greatly needs a number of cottages to rent to winter tourists. There are several very desirable locations for a colony of such cottages. A furniture factory, a crate factory and a spoke factory are needed. Millions of feet of hard wood may be obtained for these from the hammocks. there is also need for a canning factory, but perhaps the greatest need is for a large number of first class farmers to clear up wild lands, build homes and engage in general farming.
Inverness invites the homeseeker, investor and tourist, and will show them every possible courtesy. While this has not been very generally regarded as a tourist town, yet more tourists are comimg here every year.he tourists who do not wish to live extravagantly will find a welcome here, and will not have to pay exhorbetant rates for board.
Floral City is located on the banks of Tsala Apopka and Consuello Lakes in the heart of the hardrock phosphate mining section of Citrus County, and is surrounded by lands well suited to the production of the ordinary staple ctops, and fruit growing, especially of the peach, fig and the citrus fruit, through which land runs three hard surfaced roads into Floral City, thus furnishing excellant means for the transportation of crops to the town.
At the presaent time the town has a population of 600 good neighborly law-abiding citizens, who are to a great extent engaged in the fruit growing and phosphate industries. It has several business houses, four churches, excellant schools, one drug store, one meat market, one automobile repair shop, one livery stable, a bank with a paid up capital of $15,000, two hotels, one bottling works, and a number of beautiful residences.
The town has excellant streets, many of which are shaded by live oak trees, from which fact Floral City has justly aquired the name of the "City of Oaks." It has many of the latest improvements, such as electric lights, hard surface roads, etc. (Photo: Typical residence Street in Floral City)
The climate and health conditions of the city are surpassed by few in the south. The city has wide, clean streets, and is supplied with pure water. In the summertime the city is swept by the cooling breezes ftom the Gulf, and even in the dead of winter the flowers and plants flourish.
The town is surrounded by lakes in which are found all kinds of fish peculier to the southern lakes, by large tracts of wild lands, which abound in quail, turkey, deer and even bear, all of which offers the best opportunities to the sportsman.
The great tracts of unfenced pasture land suited to stock raising, the stretches of timber land, and the great tracts adapted to fruit growing, and the rich phosphate deposits offer exceptional advantages to the investors and capitalists.
To the homeseeker, the splended roads, the soil at a cheap price adapted to the ordinary crops and fruit growing, the wonderful health and climate conditions and the phosphate mines, the social and educational facilities offer indeed splendid inducements.
Source: The Tampa Tribune: 3-29-1914
Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers