Mount Dora, Florida

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mount Dora, Florida
City hall
City hall
Location in Lake County and the state of Florida
Location in Lake County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 28°48′23″N 81°38′35″W / 28.80639°N 81.64306°W / 28.80639; -81.64306Coordinates: 28°48′23″N 81°38′35″W / 28.80639°N 81.64306°W / 28.80639; -81.64306
Country United States of America
State  Florida
County Lake
 • Total 5.7 sq mi (14.9 km2)
 • Land 4.9 sq mi (12.7 km2)
 • Water 0.8 sq mi (2.2 km2)
Elevation 184 ft (56 m)
Population (2011)
 • Total 12,534
 • Density 1,542.0/sq mi (632.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 32756-32757
Area code(s) 352
FIPS code 12-47050[1]
GNIS feature ID 0287215[2]
Railroad Station in c. 1920

Mount Dora is a U.S. city in Lake County, Florida. As of 2011, the United States Census Bureau estimates the Mount Dora population at 12,534.[3] It is part of the Orlando-Kissimmee, FL, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


A post office called Mount Dora has been in operation since 1883.[4] The community was named for Dora A. Drawdy, who homesteaded the town in the mid-1880s. In 1846, the surveyors named Lake Dora after her, and in 1883 the town was named after the lake.[5]

Ross C. Tremain was the town's first postmaster in 1880. At the time, the town was called Royellou, named for Tremain's three children. The name unofficially changed three years later. The Mount in Mount Dora reflects the fact that the town is on a plateau 184 feet above sea level.[5]

The town became a popular winter retreat for hunters, fishermen, and boaters, and in 1883 a hotel was opened. A railroad, orange packing house, fertilizer factories factories, and a cannery were established. The town was granted a charter in 1910 with John Philip Donnelly as its first mayor; the town had 371 residents at the time.[5]

In the 1920s, Mount Dora began investing in public infrastructure. The first two public parks were created and the Mount Dora Community Building was built.

Historic sites[edit]

The following are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

The Mount Dora Historic District is a U.S. historic district in downtown Mount Dora. The district is roughly bounded by 3rd Avenue, 11th Avenue, Clayton Street, and Helen Street. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 1, 2009.[6]

Mount Dora is also home to the Mount Dora History Museum, which is the project of the Mount Dora Historical Society. This museum is the location of the first fire station and city jail, which opened in 1923. The exhibits highlight activities in Mount Dora from the 1880s to the 1930s.[7] The museum is located near Donnelly Park.


Mount Dora is located at 28°48′23″N 81°38′35″W / 28.806519°N 81.642996°W / 28.806519; -81.642996.[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.8 square miles (15 km2). 4.9 square miles (13 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (14.58%) is water. Overlooking lakes Dora, Gertrude and Beauclair, Mount Dora is situated on a plateau 184 feet (56 m) above sea level. Despite the name, there is no mountain nearby.[9]


Mount Dora is home to several parks and nature preserves.

Gilbert Park is located at the intersection of Tremain Street and Liberty Avenue. This park was named for its donor, Mr. Earl Gilbert.[10] The park includes a barbecue area, several pavilions, and a large playground. The park has recently gone through renovations, which included 2 new pavilions, upgraded restrooms, new landscaping, and improved parking. The "Wood Wonderland" playground was updated and expanded.

Donnelly Park is located in the Downtown Mt. Dora area at the intersection of Donnelly Street and 5th Avenue. It is the location of their annual tree lighting ceremony, as well as several of Mt. Dora's special events. The park contains, benches, restrooms, a fountain, and shuffleboard courts, and a tennis court. It is the location of the Donnelly Park building, which can be rented out for special events.[11]

Grantham Point Park[12] is located on Tremain Street across from Gilbert Park on Lake Dora, Grantham Point Park is sometimes referred to as "Lighthouse Park". The 35 foot lighthouse was dedicated on March 25, 1988. Built of bricks covered with stucco, the lighthouse stands sentry over the Port of Mount Dora. Its 750-watt photocell powers a blue pulsator sending out a guiding light to all boaters navigating Lake Dora after dusk. The Mount Dora Light is the only inland freshwater lighthouse in Florida.

The Lake County Water Authority[13] has several preserves in the area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 623
1930 612 −1.8%
1940 831 35.8%
1950 636 −23.5%
1960 790 24.2%
1970 974 23.3%
1980 1,250 28.3%
1990 1,432 14.6%
2000 1,635 14.2%
2010 1,680 2.8%
Est. 2014 1,789 [14] 6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 9,039 households, and 5,236 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,542.0 inhabitants per square mile (739.1/km²). There were 6,942 housing units at an average density of 941.6 per square mile (363.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.3% White, 19.2% African American, 0.1% Native American, 3.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.7% of the population.

There were 4,123 households out of which 21.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.75.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 21.7% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 27.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 86.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,364, and the median income for a family was $46,394. Males had a median income of $30,993 versus $24,259 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,724. About 8.8% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.6% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.


Southern Technical College operates a campus in the city.


Mount Dora is known as the "Festival City".

The Mount Dora Center for the Arts hosts the Mount Dora Arts Festival, a juried fine arts festival, on the first full weekend of February.

The Annual Mount Dora Music Festival is held the 3rd weekend in February.

Sail Boat regatta is held in April. The Mount Dora Blueberry Festival is held in April.

Visit Mount Dora hosts the Mount Dora Spring Collectibles and Craft show every 3rd weekend in March, the Mount Dora Blues and Groove weekend in May, the Seafood Festival in August and Mount Dora's largest event, the Mount Dora Fall Craft Fair which draws over 250,000 visitors every 4th weekend in October.

The Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce holds Florida's oldest Bicycle festival annually in early October.

The Plant & Garden Fair and Scottish Highland Festival are held in November.

Light Up Mount Dora is held the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Renninger's Antiques Extravaganzas are held three times per year.

The Mount Dora Ghost Walk and the Mount Dora Taste of our Town Tour give themed walking tours of the city.

In fiction[edit]

It is also the setting for the classic post-apocalyptic novel, Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, under the fictitious name of Fort Repose.

The buildings in downtown Mount Dora were painted pink for the feature film, Honky Tonk Freeway.[16]

Mount Dora is one of the settings in Steve Berry's action adventure thriller "The Columbus Affair".

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich (1937), lived in Mount Dora during the 1930s and '40s. He lived in a large house called The Castle overlooking Lake Dora, with a swimming pool on the roof. It was torn down in the 1980s.

The book Doesn't She Look Natural by Angela Hunt is also set in Mount Dora.

Twin towns[edit]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ U.S. Census Bureau
  4. ^ "Lake County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Mount Dora, FL - Official Website - History of Mount Dora". Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  6. ^ National Register of Historic Places Listings
  7. ^ "Mount Dora Historical Society Home". Mount Dora Historical Society. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ Clark, Alisson (May 10, 1999). "What's in a name?". Ocala Star-Banner. pp. 3C. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "Gilbert Park". Mount Dora, FL. Retrieved 2015-11-13. 
  11. ^ "Donnelly Park". Mount Dora, FL. Retrieved 2015-11-20. 
  12. ^ "Mount Dora, FL - Official Website". Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  13. ^ "Lake County Water Authority |". 2010-09-08. Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ Campbell, Ramsey (June 14, 1998). "Mount Dora Gets Good Reviews By Starring In Movies". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 June 2015.