“CLERMONT: From Gem Of The Hills to Choice Of Champions”  is a book about Clermont, spanning the Ice Age era, the first area’s Native Americans, the founders of modern-day Clermont, and the years leading up to 2019. The book has hundreds of rare photos, and stories about the history of Clermont. 

Approximately 40 years ago, Miriam Johnson and Rosemary Young decided to write a book as part of Clermont’s 100th anniversary of its 1884 founding. Published in 1984, Clermont: Gem of the Hills, a History of Clermont, Florida, and Neighboring Communities, would become a favorite of local historians.

Johnson, spent countless hours with a trusty tape recorder in hand, researching South Lake Press archives, later transcribing her notes on a typewriter. While interviewing locals with deep roots and interesting stories, the thrifty historian also used the back of lined notebook paper and sheets!

The original manuscript and printing plates were purged, so the Cooper Memorial Library Board Association took on the task of retyping 300+ pages, and locating 200+ photographs to sponsor a GEM revision with chapters spanning events after 1974. The late Ann Dupee, a Library Board member, former South Lake Press owner, and Beta Theta Chapter member, provided resources for the book.

Pictured: Terry Moherek, Cooper Memorial Library Association

The in-depth, history of Clermont was dedicated to two deceased Board Members: Ann Dupee and Ray Goodgame for their support and their passion to improve the quality of life for others.

Doris Bloodsworth became the primary writer and editor of this self-published book.  Bloodsworth is a Pulitzer-nominated journalist who reported for “The Wall Street Journal,” “Bloomberg” and “Orlando Sentinel.”  

Lisa Graham is one of the co-authors. She is from Groveland and is a fifth-generation Lake County resident. Graham spent 45 hours over three months retyping the entire earlier book manuscript as a starting point for the new book.

Caryl Harris is a retired librarian from Cooper Memorial Library. Harris helped locate hundreds of images for the new book.

Toni Bell, a Jersey girl, was a beloved high school teacher until her retirement. Bell, a Clermont resident researched the history of some of the Clermont schools.  

Michelle Delaney worked in the Clermont Elementary school office featured in the historic film. She ran Clermont’s Christmas Parade many years ago and is the editor and owner of the “South Lake Tablet”. She researched Clermont’s 125th-anniversary celebration.

Miriam Johnson and Rosemary Young were the co-authors of the earlier book. They are credited since they used a significant part of the earlier book for this new book.

Clermont: From Gem of the Hills to Choice of Champions,can be purchased at Cooper Memorial Library, 2525 Oakley Seaver Drive (North Hancock).  Books are also available at Sunshine Book Co., 647 Lake Ave., Clermont.  Proceeds from sales of the book are donated to Cooper Memorial Library.

It’s a great read and an awesome gift.


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