NAME: Villa City
COMMENTS: Take Lake Emma Road East off CR 19 in Lake County. Between Lake Emma and Lake Lucy.
REMAINS: Nothing but a marker placed place on Lake Emma Road by the citizens of Villa City Homeowners Association.
Originaly called Millford Villa City was founded in the early 1880's by George T. King of Massachusetts. King, looking for a place to spend the Winter months, stood atop the highest hill and named most of the lakes for family members, Emma, Arthur, and Lucy. In June of 1884 he bought nine hundred acres for $297.82 and began plotting a town. His villa was the first to be built on the highest part of the hill between Lake Emma and Morgan. Another founding family was the owner of the sawmill Archibald Renfro Gano. Gano also built his house on a hill near his sawmill. (The sawmill operated into the 1920's when it burned down) Together they created the name of Villa City and the post office opened September 13, 1886. Gano's house was the last remnant of the original Villa City to be demolished in 1968) The postmaster was Frank Sears Parlow who built the post office on his front porch. Villa City eventually had a three story hotel, a post office, a mercantile store, a church, a turpentine still (at a later time), and 35 homes by 1889. Other family names are Hart, Hood, Loy, McGechin, Edge, and Parks. Most of the families, many quite affluent, were orange growers with large groves on the outskirts of town, growing citrus, apricots, persimmons, and custard apples. On February 7, 1895 the temperature dropped to 12 degrees and it began to snow. (lasting only 10 minutes) When the temperature returned to 81 degrees the next day the rapid thaw burst open tree trunks and wilted the plants. The town became a Ghost Town by the end of the year. Residents from nearby communities pillaged the abandoned houses. The town became a picnic and fishing area for neighboring communities and the houses were used as playhouses by the children. Submitted by: Mike Woodfin

Villa City Marker
Courtesy Mike Woodfin

An 1880's view of Lake Emma and Lake Lucy from home of George T. King. Villa City was a ghost town north of Groveland. Photonegative of photograph by George F. Parlow, Villa City. Courtesy of Florida State Archieves

Villa City 1890s
Courtesy Jim Pike