|Motto: Americas Hometown|
Location in Lake County and the state of Florida
|Country||United States of America|
|• Mayor||Albert Eckian|
|• Total||9.7 sq mi (24.9 km2)|
|• Land||8.4 sq mi (21.6 km2)|
|• Water||1.3 sq mi (3.3 km2)|
|Elevation||69 ft (21 m)|
|• Estimate (2008)||19,129|
|• Density||1,600/sq mi (610/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP codes||32726, 32727, 32736|
|GNIS feature ID||0305645|
|Website||City of Eustis official website|
Eustis is a city in Lake County, Florida, United States. The population was 15,106 at the 2000 census. The Census Bureau estimated the population in 2008 to be 19,129. It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Eustis High School is the town's local public high school.
The City of Eustis holds a festival every year which begins on the last Friday of February and runs through Sunday. This festival, referred to simply as GeorgeFest, is recognized today as the 2nd longest ongoing annual event held in honor of George Washington, first President of the United States. It has been held in February every year since 1902.
Eustis is located at .
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.6 square miles (25 km2). 8.4 square miles (22 km2) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) of it (13.28%) is water. The city limits are defined by Eudora, Abrams, and CR 44 (bypass) on the East, CR44 to the North, US Hwy 441 to the South, and Lake Eustis and Florida Hospital Waterman to the West.
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,106 people, 6,371 households, and 4,058 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,808.3 inhabitants per square mile (698.5/km²). There were 7,322 housing units at an average density of 876.5 per square mile (338.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.90% White, 18.98% African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.89% from other races, and 1.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.37% of the population.
There were 6,371 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 25.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,032, and the median income for a family was $39,519. Males had a median income of $30,807 versus $22,072 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,706. About 11.0% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.2% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.
Eustis also serves as the center for many small communities of Rural East Lake County including Cassia and Pine Lakes. These communities are not reflected in the Census Bureau's City Statistics but make up for the vast discrepancy in county to city stats. When the rural statistics are compiled into the city stats, the total population of Eustis topped 50,000 in 2000.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2008)|
Numerous educational institutions are zoned for Eustis, including: Eustis Heights Elementary, Eustis Elementary, Eustis Middle School, Eustis High School, and Alee Academy.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2008)|
The people of Eustis, on the east shore of Lake Eustis, took their time deciding on a name. First it was Highlands, then Pendryville, and finally Lake Eustis, itself named about 1825 for General Abraham Eustis. General Eustis, prominent in the Seminole Wars, had skirmished with the Indians on the south shore, near present-day Tavares, Florida. In 1876, A.S. Pendry homesteaded and set out a citrus grove. In 1877 he opened the Ocklawaha Hotel. The post office in the lobby carried the sign Pendryville".
Before railroads came in the 1880s, Eustis was a busy port for steamers plying Lakes Harris, Eustis, Dora, and Griffin. In 1883 the "Lake" was dropped and the town became just Eustis. Although the U.S. opened up the area for homesteading in the 1850s, settlement was delayed by the Civil War. Surveying was finally completed in 1875 and settlement began in earnest. Among the earliest settlers was Guilford David "G.D." Clifford, who established a store and began the first mail service for the new settlement. It was in the Clifford General Store second floor meeting hall that the town's first churches were formed. Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian groups all organized and held services there before they had their own buildings.
The first homes were those of D.W. Herrick, A.D. Herrick, and Henry Key. In 1881 Clifford and Smith built the first general store in the building later occupied by A.D. and C.D. Miller. A big year was 1878 when the town's first telegraph line connected Eustis, Leesburg, and Sanford. The railroad arrived in 1880, the first train coming from Astor to Fort Mason, where passengers and freight made lake steamer connections to Leesburg, Helena, Yalaha, Bloomfield, Lane Park and Tavares. Bertie Clifford was the first baby born before Eustis was incorporated in 1883, and Edith Hutchins the first baby of the newly incorporated town. D.W. Herrick was the first mayor. G.D. Clifford's dream home in Eustis was designed in 1894 but the Big Freeze of 1894-95 postponed its completion until 1911. Says Eustis historian Louise Carter, "Even though the freeze brought the town's economy to a standstill, Mr. Clifford kept his lakefront general store open and extended credit until people could recover."
According to an 1887 business directory, the Clifford Store on Lake Eustis sold "groceries, hardware, building material, fertilizers, stoves, crockery, glassware, hay and grain. The opera house, on the second floor, was a cultural center of Eustis and a wide swath of Central Florida. The eighteen-room house at the corner of Bay Street and Bates Avenue today houses the Eustis Historical Museum and Preservation Society, and takes visitors back to the gracious Lake County lifestyle of one hundred-odd years ago.
Dr. J. H. Potter, the founding pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, encouraged the development of Eustis Seminary in 1886, under the direction of Professor Byron F. Marsh (for whom Marsh Memorial Park is named). The seminary served students from first through twelfth grades. Its buildings were located near the present site of Eustis High School on Washington Street. Struggling financially, the school closed around 1895. By the early 1900s, Eustis was already a winter vacation spot for many. The Ocklawaha Hotel catered to the wealthy. Eustis continues to be a popular winter destination.
National historic status
There are several locations in Eustis which have been included in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Clifford House
- Eustis Commercial Historic District
- Ferran Park and the Alice McClelland Memorial Bandshell
- Gould Hyde Norton House
- Moses J. Taylor House
- Purdy Villa
- William Kimbrough Pendleton House
- Woman's Club of Eustis
- Carey Baker, former Florida State Senator
- Edgar James Banks, diplomat, antiquarian and novelist.
- Rod Brewer, baseball player
- Joe Burnett, NFL professional football player (New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers)
- Anthony Fieldings, American football player
- Kenny Green, basketball player.
- Solomon Jones, NBA professional basketball player
- Kathryn Joosten, actress
- Hughie Lee-Smith, artist
- Jonathan Lucroy, Professional baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers
- Kristin Ludecke, beauty queen.
- Michael Ray, country music singer
- Jon Schneck, Christian rock musician
- John Robert Schrieffer, Nobel Prize in Physics
- Patricia Sullivan, political activist
- David Walker, Astronaut
- Gunner Wright, actor
- "Population Estimates" (CSV). 2008 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau. July 1, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "The First One Hundred Years", First Presbyterian Church website, January 8, 2011.