Tried and Failed Businesses
During the 1920s, South Lake, like much of Florida and the rest of the country, experienced an unprecedented boom with land exchanging hands sometimes several times in the same day.
1923 - The Essential Oil Company
In 1923, The Essential Oil Company, a perfume manufacturing plant was developed by ambitious entrepreneur, John W. Beach and constructed on the south side of Lake David.
John Beach decided that the fertile land in Groveland would be an ideal location to grow the flowers and plants needed in order to make perfumes.
The facilities included five two-story buildings, a water tower, and a large decorative fountain. (The fountain is the only thing that remains from the factory. It is located on private property)
Beach had, at the time, the largest private garden in the world with acres of roses, lilies, geraniums, orchids, English heliotrope, violets, and orange trees were cultivated in the surrounding "Paradise Gardens" for use in the manufacture of the rare perfumes.
In 1925, John Beach's perfume company expected to ship 400,000 lilies at Easter.
The venture looked promising but ended in failure, as did the silkworm industry in 1926.
1925 - The New Train Depot
A new brick train depot station was also built to serve a growing number of residents and visitors.
The depot still remains at its location at the intersection of SR 50 and SR 19.
1925 - The Great Mill Fire
On the evening of May 9, 1925, fire destroyed the Arnold Lumber Mill.
The flames were so bright that the fire could be seen from as far as Leesburg.
The mill was rebuilt in 1926, but closed and dismantled in 1941, because of scarcity of timber and the depressed economy.
[Contributors: Mary Helen Myers, Jason Brown]