Split the Difference

Uploaded 15 Dec 2018 — 3 favorites
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© JamesHarmon McQuilkin
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Photo Info
UploadedDecember 15, 2018
TakenAugust 26, 2018
MakeNikon Corporation
ModelNIKON D810
Exposure1/250 sec at f/14
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length34 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

Mount Dora is a city in Lake County, Florida, US. As of 2011, the United States Census Bureau estimates the Mount Dora population at 12,534.It is part of the Orlando-Kissimmee, FL, Metropolitan Statistical Area. Founded in 1880, Mount Dora is known for its small town charm. It has many antique shops in the downtown area. The downtown area overlooks Lake Dora. Mount Dora is home to one of three freshwater lighthouses in Florida. It hosts many monthly festivals and is known as the "Festival City."
The town of Mount Dora began in 1874 when the area was settled by David Simpson, his wife, and two children. In 1880, Ross C. Tremain became the town's first postmaster, and later a major real estate developer for the area. A post office called Mount Dora has been in operation since 1883.Tremain named the unincorporated village Royellou, after his children, Roy, Ella, and Louis.

The community was renamed for Dora Ann Drawdy, who was an early settler of the town in the mid-1880s. In 1846, the surveyors named Lake Dora after her, and in 1883 the town was renamed after the lake.The Mount in Mount Dora reflects the fact that the town is on a plateau 184 feet above sea level. In addition to this, Dora is memorialized through Dora Drawdy Way, an alleyway located in the downtown area.

The town became a popular winter retreat for hunters, fishermen, and boaters, and in 1883 the Alexander House, a two-story hotel, was opened. The Alexander House has been renamed several times and was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. A railroad came to town in 1887, followed by an orange packing house, fertilizer factories, and a cannery were established as well. The town was granted a charter in 1910 with John Philip Donnelly as its first mayor; the town had 371 residents at the time.

In the 1920s, Mount Dora began to grow significantly, both in residential development and business development. Mount Dora began investing in public infrastructure, including streetlights, a water system, curbs, and paved roads.The first two public parks were created and the Mount Dora Community Building was built largely from funds raised by Mount Dora residents. The building has since served as the city's performance and meeting venue.

Fear of the Cold War was on the minds of many Mount Dora residents. One wealthy individual decided to construct a fallout shelter. With contributions from about 25 other families, the underground shelter known as The Catacombs was built. It could support 100 people for six months and contained an air conditioner and dehumidifier, as well as food and supplies. The condition of The Catacombs is greatly deteriorated, and its location is kept a secret.

In 2017, Mt. Dora became embroiled in a dispute with a family over an issue of free expression. The homeowners painted the wall surrounding the property with images from Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, supposedly to help their adult autistic son.

2 responses

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (15 Dec 2018):

    Informative and interesting narrative and an excellent image!

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight gave props (19 Dec 2018):

    Photo is a beauty. Hard to believe there are still small enclaves in Florida. We lived there 1949-50, and 1952-54. Florida was still very rural. Farms everwhere. Wonderful memories.

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