Lake County Florida was once the hotspot for the citrus industry. The Citrus Tower was built in 1956 as a monument to the growers. My first visit here was during February of 2014 with Beth Elliott. We loved the tower, that stands on one of the highest hills in Florida’s ridge section. At that time we were unable to see the observation deck because the elevator was down.
Today though coming back in 2019 with my husband Keith we were able to sail straight to the top! While enjoying our view, the tour guide Betzi told us that the tower just this past year has been renovated. The owner Greg Homan has passed ownership on to his son and daughter-in-law and they have added air conditioning, ledges and stools for those taking in the view and given everything a facelift.
When I visited with the then owner Greg Homan back in 2014 he explained a bit of the history of this wonderful place. He said, “The idea was conceived and built mainly through the efforts of Mr. A.W. Thacker and Mr. F. J. Toole.”
“Over 240 stockholders from 22 states who had faith in the future of Central Florida financed the Citrus Tower. They believed that the natural and manmade beauty of the area would bring hundreds of thousands of visitors. The tower after 15 months of construction was opened on July 14, 1956 as Florida’s highest observation point. It is built of 5 million pounds of concrete and 149,000 pounds of reinforced steel.”
Greg added at the time this was built that the view from the top covered 17 million citrus trees in a 2,000 square mile area. In its heyday, the tower’s grounds once boasted candy and jelly factories, a restaurant, a citrus packing house, and about 70 acres of groves.
Today the tower offers a history of the grove industry and the view is more of a suburban one, but still emphasizes the beauty of Florida’s rolling hills and spring fed lakes.
Keith and I learned that the Citrus Tower vista from its observation deck offers views of Lake, Orange, Polk and Sumter Counties. “On a clear day parts of Pasco, Osceola, Seminole and Hernandez counties as well. The skyline of downtown Orlando and Disney World can also be seen.”
The addition of a tour guide is a great idea. Betzi shared a lot of geographical details. In the lobby enjoy the new coffee shop or the adjoining video arcade.
For more information about the Citrus Tower, call 352-394-4061.
The Florida Citrus Tower is located at 141 North US Highway 27, Clermont, Florida 34711.
If you like this story, you might enjoy reading about the 28 story observation deck!