By 1880, several of the founding families, such as the Browns (of Brown's Ford Park on HWY 19 and Browns Ford Schoolhouse) and the Dukes (of Dukes Lake and Dukes Cemetery), had already made their way to the area south of Yalaha, which would later become Taylorville.
The Brown's Ford Schoolhouse was the first school in the area. It was located between Brown's Ford (a crossing along a wagon path named after the first Simon Brown, who lived on the north side of the river) and Dukes Cemetery. At the cemetery, you can still see the oak trees that are bent over from the weight of the children's clothes that they would hang on the young trees as they spent their recess swimming in Lake Catherine.
Originally, much of what is now Lake County, including modern Groveland, was part of Sumter County. The people of Yalaha and Tavares helped to form Lake County in 1887 from parts of Sumter and Orange Counties.
Around 1888, the Orange Belt Railway was built to connect the citrus groves in Sanford to the ports of St. Petersburg. Small towns began to appear along the railroad, including Villa City, Taylorville, and Mascotte.
The area became a large producer of turpentine and lumber, along with some cattle ranchers and citrus growers. The cuts made in the pine trees, in order to extract the sap, could still be seen well into the 1950s.
The Taylor brothers built a turpentine still and established Taylorville (located north of SR 50 along SR 19).
The Arnold family started a lumber mill along the railroad around what is now Crittenden Street. At its peak, the lumber mill ran from the current 7/11 gas station all the way to SR 19.
The Edge family began to build many of the buildings that are still part of modern day Groveland's downtown area.
In 1912, Taylorville moved south to the downtown area and was renamed Groveland, in order to make it sound more attractive to land buyers.
In 1922, the city of Groveland was officially incorporated.
L. D. Edge was Groveland's first mayor and the youngest Florida Speaker of the House in 1923, while residing in Groveland.
By the 1940s, citrus became the leading industry in the area.
The B & W Canning Company was formed by Gene Busbee and Norton Wilkins and the B & W Canning Plant was built by the Train Depot (on the northeast corner of SR 50 and SR 19), which can still be seen today.
The citrus industry lasted until around 1989 when many of the groves began to succumb to the freezing temperatures. As a result, many of the land owners began to sell out to subdivision developers.
L. Day Edge was Groveland's first mayor and the youngest Florida Speaker of the House in 1923, while residing in Groveland.
Thank you for your interest in Groveland's history!
For more details, come visit us at the Groveland Historical Museum!