By Emily Strzelczyk, Marketing Specialist
Have you ever been to downtown Clermont and wondered what the clump of old little buildings are next to Lake Minneola near the boathouse? It is Clermont’s Historic Village! Located at the corner of West Avenue and Osceola Street (near the post office) in downtown Clermont, the Historic Village is a joint effort of the South Lake County Historical Society and the city of Clermont to preserve the history of South Lake County.
The city of Clermont bought the village in 1996. At the time of purchase, the property only contained the train depot and the Quonset Hut. In 1998, the South Lake County Historical Society was established to manage the village.
The train depot, which was built around 1925, was renovated in 2011. The building includes rest rooms, covered picnic area and a meeting room that can hold 30-40 people. They host special events too. As a matter of fact, one of my friends was married in the village a few years ago and it was a beautiful wedding!
The Quonset Hut is an original hut from World War II. In 2012, it was renovated and is now a World War II museum.
There have been several buildings added to the village since it was purchased in 1996:
- The original Cooper Memorial Library which was built in 1914 was added in 2009.
- The Herring Hooks Schoolhouse is the most recent addition to the village and is a replica of the original schoolhouse built in 1881. There is even a replica of an outhouse typical of the era.
- The Kern House was added to the village in 2006. The house was built in approximately 1895 on Montrose Street and was the home to Alexander and Eleonora Kern. The Kerns were farmers in New Jersey and relocated to Clermont with their two children.
- The Townsend House, built in 1895, was moved to the village in 2002 from its original location overlooking Crystal Lake off of Highway 50. This was the home of James and Sallie Townsend.
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon and take a step back in time to enjoy some of Clermont’s history. You are sure to recognize some names of past residents that are now names of some our roads and buildings throughout Clermont.
You can visit the Historic Village every Saturday and Sunday from 1- 4 p.m. at 490 West Avenue, Clermont, Florida 34711. Admission is free but a $2 donation per person is requested.