1913 Clermont motorcade: Clermont residents formed a motorcade in 1913 and toured Central Florida to tout their pride in the city.

Cooper Memorial Library Association announced a new, updated history of Clermont that will be released before the holidays. “Clermont – From Gem of the Hills to Choice of Champions” is the most comprehensive history of the city to date. The 404-page, hardbound book includes hundreds of rare images and will be available beginning with a launch party at the library, at 2525 Oakley Seaver Drive, on Monday, December 2, at 6 pm.

The Book Launch event also will include showing a 1920s film of Clermont uncovered during the research for this book.

The new book, which will retail at $35, can be pre-ordered for a special early-bird rate of $25 at www.ClermontBook.com.

Caryl Harris, the library board president, said association members have been working on the book for over a year. The new history of Lake County’s largest city includes information from the Ice Age to the present. New details discuss the formation of the city’s signature ridges, the early Timucua tribes, profiles of the founders and historical details continuing through the recent Choice of Champions branding.

Triathlon beginning: This updated history of Clermont includes new details, such as the rise of Clermont as an international triathlon destination. Seen here, Sommer Sports founder Fred Sommer (right) handing out the first place award at the first Clermont triathlon in 1984, which was also the city’s 100th anniversary of its founding.

There are fresh, historical anecdotes about Clermont during the Cold War; the devastating freezes of the 1980s, which wiped out the citrus industry; the 1930s bank robbery by the infamous Ma Barker gang and folksy eyewitness accounts of early pioneer life not previously published.

“This has been a labor of love, and we’re so excited to share it with the community,” Harris said.

Harris, who retired as a reference librarian from Cooper Memorial Library, said the idea for the book began four years ago when a former history book, titled “Clermont: Gem of the Hills,” which was published during the city’s centennial in 1984, went out of print.

“We discovered the original plates no longer existed, so the book had to be retyped and more than 200 images had to be located and scanned,” said Doris Bloodsworth, who edited and co-authored the new version. “Then began the task of researching and writing the additional history.”

“Clermont, From Gem of the Hills to Choice of Champions” includes more than 70 pages of new stories and rare images.

All proceeds from the book will go to support programs at Cooper Memorial Library.

For more details, and to order the book at a special, pre-publication discounted price of $25, go to www.ClermontBook.com. The book will have a limited initial production and will not be available through Amazon or other online retailers in the near future.


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