Orange Groves? Where did they go?
So what happened to the orange groves? A common question when people arrive knowing the history of Lake County and the view of the groves the Citrus Tower once provided. Hopefully, this should provide some clarity. And while not orange groves, Lake County clearly made lemonade out of the lemons from what you are about to read.
Clermont, Florida, a city in Lake County, was once known for its lush citrus groves. However, over the years, the number of orange groves in the area has significantly reduced, and now the iconic Citrus Tower, which used to offer a panoramic view of the groves, now overlooks the rapidly developing Lake County and the beautiful lakes that prompted the area’s name.
The decline of the citrus industry in Clermont can be attributed to several factors, including disease, pests, and urbanization. The citrus greening disease hit the area hard, which decimated the citrus trees, afterwords, making them unproductive and eventually killing many. But, the worst, though, was the severe freeze damage that hit Central Florida over a period of three years in a row, killing the crops and hitting the bottom line for citrus growers who were barely hanging on year after year.
As the citrus industry declined, the land that was once used for orange groves was sold for development. The demand for housing and commercial real estate in Lake County has continued to grow, leading to the rapid urbanization of the area. As a result, the overwhelming majority of the land that was once home to citrus groves is now home to housing developments, shopping centers, and other commercial properties.
Orange Groves Out. New Development In!
Despite the decline of the citrus industry, the amazing and historic Citrus Tower remains a popular attraction in Clermont. The tower was built in 1956 and quickly became a landmark in the area. Basically, it was originally built to give visitors a view of the miles of citrus groves that once covered the area. Today, visitors to the Citrus Tower can still enjoy stunning views of Lake County and the surrounding lakes.
The shift from citrus groves to urbanization has had a significant impact on the local economy. While the citrus industry provided jobs and income for many families, the growth of housing developments and commercial properties has created new employment opportunities in the area. Additionally, the development of Lake County has attracted new businesses and residents, contributing to the growth of the local economy.
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