Friday, February 23, 2007

Clermont Capers

In the 2000 Census, the population of Clermont is noted as 9,333. Last year, 2006, this figure had increased to a staggering 22,097 and there are lots of signs of growing pains. Located in the heart of the Florida Hill Country (??) the area was a significant producer of oranges. In 1956, the City Management built the Citrus Tower, shown here, although no one seems to know why. The observation deck, at 226 feet, permits the overview of 20,000 square miles in eight different counties and, when it was built, an estimated 17 million orange trees.
When we first traveled this part of highway US 27 a dozen years ago, it was a two lane concrete road and Clermont was one of the traffic lights on the way to Disneyworld. Now it is a four lane divided highway with a fully fledged overpass at the highway 50 crossing. Construction is everywhere and there is scarcely an orange tree to be found. Wal-Mart and many other majors have come to town in the last five years and the Historic Downtown District is fast becoming derelict. Serving as a bedroom community for Orlando, most of the incorporated area consists of typical Florida subdivisions, not too much for visitors to get excited about.
In the observation deck of the Tower there are four (poor quality) photographs of views from the tower at some time in the past (no date indicated). Following are copies of these pictures along with a current view of the same area. Although the old downtown area has fallen on hard times, there is a very nice picnic area a couple of blocks north on the south shore of Lake Minneola. We ate our jam sandwiches there and dreamed of the Crown Club. The Elks Lodge is in this same general area.
Sadly, the crime index for Clermont has climbed to around 500 versus the national average of 352 while, shockingly, Orlando's index is currently over 1,000.
On a lighter note, to win back my Sweeties favor following our Marathon debacle, I suggested that we should consider a new RV along the lines of this one. She was not amused.
Incidentally, Clerbrook, the recently purchased Encore Golf and RV Resort 5 miles north of Clermont, has spacious sites, casual golf for those so inclined and, at this time, remarkably negotiable rates :-)

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