CLERMONT: The book, “Clermont: From Gem Of The Hills to Choice Of Champions,” provides an expansive look at Clermont’s history, tracing its journey from the Ice Age era, through the lives of the area’s first Native Americans, to the founders of modern-day Clermont, and the years leading up to 2019. This publication is a treasure trove, featuring hundreds of rare photos and stories that paint a vivid picture of Clermont’s past.

Approximately 40 years ago, Miriam Johnson and Rosemary Young embarked on a mission to document Clermont’s history as part of the city’s 100th anniversary celebration of its founding in 1884. Their work culminated in the 1984 publication of “Clermont: Gem of the Hills, a History of Clermont, Florida, and Neighboring Communities.” This book quickly became a favorite among local historians.

Johnson dedicated countless hours to her research, armed with a trusty tape recorder and stacks of lined notebook paper. She meticulously sifted through South Lake Press archives and conducted interviews with locals, capturing their stories and insights. Her dedication ensured that a rich tapestry of Clermont’s history was preserved.

In an unfortunate turn of events, the original manuscript and printing plates were lost. However, the Cooper Memorial Library Board Association stepped in to retype over 300 pages and locate more than 200 photographs to sponsor a revised edition. The late Ann Dupee, a Library Board member, former South Lake Press owner, and Beta Theta Chapter member, played a crucial role in providing resources for this project.

The updated book is dedicated to two deceased Board Members: Ann Dupee and Ray Goodgame, who were passionate about improving the quality of life for others.

Doris Bloodsworth, a Pulitzer-nominated journalist who has reported for “The Wall Street Journal,” “Bloomberg,” and the “Orlando Sentinel,” became the primary writer and editor of this self-published book. Bloodsworth’s expertise and dedication have brought a fresh perspective to Clermont’s history.

Co-author Lisa Graham, a fifth-generation Lake County resident from Groveland, retyped the entire manuscript of the earlier book as a starting point for the new edition. Her efforts spanned 45 hours over three months.

Caryl Harris, a retired librarian from Cooper Memorial Library, played a key role in locating hundreds of images for the new book. Toni Bell, a retired high school teacher and beloved Clermont resident, researched the history of Clermont’s schools. Michelle Delaney, the editor and owner of the “South Lake Tablet,” researched Clermont’s 125th-anniversary celebration and contributed her insights from her years working at Clermont Elementary and running Clermont’s Christmas Parade.

Miriam Johnson and Rosemary Young, the original co-authors, are credited for their foundational work, which significantly informed the new book.

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

This meticulously crafted book is not only a great read but also an excellent gift for anyone interested in the rich history of Clermont.

Previous articleWelcome To The South Lake Tablet. Be Part Of Our Journey
Next articleKeep Pets Safe Amid Busy 4th of July Celebrations