Lamira Kehlor was the widow of James Kehlor, millionaire flour miller of East St. Louis. She spent her winters in Clermont visiting her sister who lived in Historic Downtown Clermont. During her stay, Lamira devoted her time to local admirable causes. She died in 1918 in her home in St. Louis and, in keeping with her wishes, in 1920 the family deeded a building and several adjoining lots, located on the corner of Minneola Avenue and Fifth Street, to the City of Clermont specifically for park and recreation purposes.
Today the recreational area, known as Kehlor Park, has shuffleboard and tennis courts. The original, wood-framed building still stands on the site. The Clermont Recreation Club has activities scheduled 7-days a week, offering a wide variety of recreational happenings which include Scrabble, Bridge, Dominos, Sumba, Bunco, Pinochle. It also is the home of several Clermont clubs.
The Clermont Chess Club (under the auspices of the Clermont Recreation Club) meets on Thursdays from 6-10 pm and on Saturdays from 2 pm to 7 pm. Players of all ages and levels are welcomed and members are always happy to teach new players who want to learn, said Peggy Drane, a Kehlor Recreation Club Board Member. A picture of a very young Ray Robson playing chess in the Kehlor Center hangs on the wall of the building. Robson later became the World’s youngest Chess Grand Master just a couple of weeks before his fifteenth birthday, Peggy proudly affirms.
The Clermont Shuffleboard Club has matches with other clubs during the winter months on Wednesdays and has won every home match for the last 3 years. Players can participate in shuffleboard tournaments all year at various courts around central Florida.
The Philosophy Club meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm and lends to lively discussions, says member Nick Jones.
The aging building houses nearly 100 years of memories. Over the years, the historic building has received improvements: the porch has been enclosed, restrooms have been updated, air conditioning added, nevertheless, the city has determined that it will cost more to refurbish than to replace. The building will soon be razed to make way for a newly constructed building. Peggy said that the building will remain until the new one is built.
On Saturday, January 20, from 1 pm to 4 pm, the Clermont Recreation Club, a non-profit organization, invites everyone to an Open House at Kehlor Park at 466 W. Minneola Ave., Clermont. Bid goodbye to the Old Kehlor building and see plans for the new building. Jake (Marvin Jacobson) will be awarding the FIRST Coleda Hudson Award for Service to the Club.
“Membership is open to all adults although the majority of the member are seniors”, said Peggy. “Dues are $10 a year which goes toward supplies for the different activities. The Club adds additional activities as the interest arises”, she explained. Club members will be available at the open house to answer questions about all activities as well as examples of various activities. There will be refreshments and door prizes!