Mount Plymouth, Florida. Al Capone Loved It.
by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)
Mount Plymouth Florida Cottage
I recently drove from Mount Dora, Florida to nearby Mount Plymouth to see what changes have taken place since I last visited more than thirty years ago.
Mount Plymouth is not incorporated, but is a "census-designated place" in Lake County, Florida with almost 3,000 people. It is northwest of Orlando on State Road 46 a few miles east of Mount Dora.
I remember it as a quaint old golf course community dating back to the real estate boom times of the 1920's. The Mount Plymouth Hotel, built in 1926 at the cost of $350,000.00, was the crown jewel of the golf resort. In the old days the hotel entertained such famous guests as Al Capone, Connie Mack, Babe Ruth and singer Kate Smith. The hotel even had it's own airfield.
There were also a number of small golf course cottages sprinkled about the community.
The original plan was to have four 18 hole golf courses patterned after the St. Andrews course in Scotland. The real estate crash of 1926 killed that plan, and only one course was completed. It was called Mount Plymouth Golf Club, and was operational until 2007.
A private school, Florida Central Academy, was in the old 150 room hotel beginning in 1959. The school finally closed in 1983. The old building was a wreck, but was still standing for years after the school closed. Finally it was condemned by county health officials. It burned down about 1987.
When you drive through Mount Plymouth now on County Road 435, you can still see the old abandoned golf course fairways and greens. A few of the original old 1920's boom time golf cottages like the one in the photo can still be seen, although most have been torn down to make way for more modern homes.