You’d think we’d eventually run out of extraordinary subjects for our annual Extraordinary issue, but with the continued growth and changes in Lake and Sumter counties, that’s just not possible.
Extraordinary people are never difficult to find in a place with such a diverse and exceptional population. What’s amazing is we don’t have to search. We often meet them during events, interviews, and community affairs throughout the year. This year’s ensemble of extraordinary people includes a former supermodel, a nurse who travels to disasters, a professional baseball player, a teacher who wanted to help a troubled young man, a high school marching band, and a motocross rider who’s also a musician.
Last year, we did a brief story on the purchase of the long-abandoned Howey Mansion. This year, we’re happy to report it’s almost completely restored. Now a venue for meetings, weddings, and other events, the beautiful historic building looks much the same as it did when William Howey had it built. It’s also open for tours if you’re a history buff.
Another extraordinary place is a little gem in Lake County called Astor. The small, unincorporated community was named for William Blackhouse Astor Jr., of the wealthy Astors in New York City. William bought 12,000 acres to establish a town he called Manhattan, and the town thrived, but the name was never widely accepted. Upon his death in 1892, it was renamed Astor to honor him. It might interest you to know the small town’s history has a connection to the Titanic.
You may want to keep this issue as it also includes a listing of all the big festivals and events in the many great cities and towns of Lake and Sumter counties.
As a special treat for readers, we’ve included the first edition of Lake County Arts. This insert will provide you with any information you need about the various arts in the area. Since we feature a department called Local Talent, we know just how many uniquely skilled artists, musicians, performers, and authors there are in our part of Central Florida.
It’s a good day to sit back and read about the many extraordinary people, places, and other features that make Lake and Sumter counties such great places to live.
Until next month,