Thursday, November 10, 2011

The redesign of the hub of Clermont

In 1955, the brand new cross state 50, and the brand new U.S. 27, was a major hub for the state of Florida, let alone for the small citrus town of Clermont. 

The overpass you see today dates to 1968, or thereabouts.

Before then there was no overpass, with both roads being two lanes.

Prior to1952, as well as the major changing of road names in 1945, the intersection of highway 50 and U.S. 27 was further north in Minneola, where Washington Street crosses what would be U.S. 27 in later years, to continue around Lake Minneola  and the Lake Palatlakaha marsh to Groveland. Prior to 1952, it would have been very impractical, and expensive to attempt to cross this marsh. Until 1925,  this was the only route to Orange county called the Minneola-Oakland-Winter Garden Road.

At the present intersection, is what would have been C.R. 455, which curved westward by the current Montverde Publix, and would have continued straight into town through Minnehaha Ave. Nicknamed The Rollercoaster Road, this road was completed in 1927. It got its name from its many hills and valleys with steep grades. It was said to be as trilling to travel this narrow two-lane road at a fast pace -45 miles an hour-as any amusement park roller coaster. When the road was changed to Cross State 50 the hill crests were tamed and the deep valleys filled with the excess dirt. (Info courtesy of "Clermont Gem of the Hills A History of Clermont, Florida, and Neighboring Communities, Miriam W. Johnson & Rosemary Y. Young" & scanned image courtesy "Images if America Clermont, Doris Bloodworth" & Lake County Historical Society.)

  Not much is seen in this 1955 photograph, but you'll note the old Clervue Drive In sign in the background. There was also a Gulf gas station opposite the sign. As the years progressed more and more businesses and motels began to arise. (Image courtesy of the Florida Memory project.)

The Intersection seen at present. 

The Clervue Drive in sign in its present state which may or may not survive the overpass remodel.
MCM Theatres opened the Clervue Drive-In in 1955. Car capacity was listed at 200. The drive-in closed in 1985 and has since been demolished.
All that is left standing is the original sign now used for the city of Clermont and local businesses.
(Info courtesy of Cinema Treasures)
 Aerial of Clervue
(Image courtesy of Cinema Treasures)
As seen today occupied by the Holiday Inn & The RBC Bank.  

Video of Clervue Drive in 1997 before demolition.
(Video Courtesy of Youtube by FloridaDriveins, From the book Clermont by Doris Bloodworth)

Here are some comparison images of the intersection in 1958, and at present.

The Crown lounge, a staple for Clermont soon to demolished it seems.

Before the Crown it was called the Crest

Already razed, the mid century modern style Clermont Liquor, and Crown Lounge sign that fronted S.R. 50. The old Clermont Motor Lodge can also be seen in the background.

Also probably to be sacrificed,
The Florida Motel
(Image courtesy of Florida Memory Project)

The Florida Motel today, an Actual Survivor until now, save for the cool neon & glass block sign.

The Clermont Motor Lodge

The Clermont Motor Lodge today

(Images Courtesy of Public Property Records)

I remember Hurricane Charlie took out the vintage sign.

The Finished Product
, (Article courtesy of "South Lake County, Gem of the hills 2011-2012, South Lake's HiddenGems Calendar of Events") 

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