R to L Barbara Chandler, Director Hannible Square Heritage Center; Sharon Keys, Lincoln Park/South Lake Alliance; Bridget Monroe, Heritage Center volunteer

submitted by Donna Digennaro, Clermont Historic Village

The journey of a set of 10 books to Clermont’s Historic Village started a few years before COVID shut down the world when a couple from Clermont walked into the Hannible Square Heritage Center in Winter Park.  They had just purchased a home here that came completely furnished—nothing had been removed.  In their new home, they came across a series of books entitled, The Journal of Negro History.  Since Hannible Square was founded as an African American community, they were donating the books to the Heritage Center.  Barbara Chandler, director of the Center, happily accepted the books and placed them on a bookshelf. However, she always felt it was sad that the books hadn’t found a home in Clermont.

Fast forward to earlier this year and enter Shannon Herrera, a member of the Lincoln Park/South Lake Alliance board.  When Shannon and her husband toured the Heritage Center she and Barbara talked about the books, Clermont, and the Historic Village.

Inspired by that conversation, Shannon invited Donna DiGennaro, Historical Society board member, to visit Hannible Square with her and Sharon Keys of the Lincoln Park/South Lake Alliance.  When Donna and Barbara got together, arrangements were made for Barbara to visit the Historic Village and return the books to Clermont.  On Wednesday, August 23rd she did just that!

Very soon the books will be on display in the original Cooper Memorial Library for all to see.  Individuals interested in doing research on African American history are invited to use the books as a resource.  The Village is open to the public every weekend from 1:00 to 4:00 PM but appointments can be made for research at other times.  The Village is located at 490 West Avenue on the shores of beautiful Lake Minneola.  In addition to the library, the Village is home to several buildings with a long history in Clermont including the home of the first African American family to live permanently in Clermont, James and Sallie Townsend.  All are invited to come to the Village and take a walk through the history of Clermont.

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