For immediate release - September 14, 2005
TAVARES — The newest exhibit at the Lake County Historical Museum will open on Friday, Sept. 16, and display some of the artifacts and photographs from one the County's most popular ghost towns.
Villa City was developed into a remarkable town in the 1880s by soap salesman George Thomas King. A prospering farming town, Villa City included a hotel, church and lumber mill.
"The last house fell apart in 1968, but most of the people left after the Big Freeze of 1895," said Dr. Diane Kamp, Director of Lake County museums.
Located south of the City of Groveland along the Palatlakaha River, Villa City was known for its lavish gardens. According to Kamp, some of the artifacts for the new exhibit come from a recent archaeological dig from the area and King's great grandson Howard King.
"The community was really based on citrus," King said. "My great grandfather had a beautiful garden, which we have pictures of, with pineapples and grapes. The whole house was lined with pineapple plants. It was really a fancy estate."
Some of the artifacts from the dig are actually from American Indian settlements, which points to the theory that the area around Villa City has been settled for some time. The exhibit will be featured in Gallery IV of the museum and will also include other towns in Lake County that have come and gone, said Kamp.
There is always something new to see and do at the Lake County Historical Museum, 317 W. Main St., Tavares. For more information, call Kamp at (352) 343-9600.
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445