Mount Plymouth, Florida. Al Capone Loved It.

by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)

Mount Plymouth Florida Cottage

Mount Plymouth Florida Cottage

Mount Plymouth Florida Cottage
Mount Plymouth Hotel/Florida Central Academy

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.

Comments for Mount Plymouth, Florida. Al Capone Loved It.

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Jul 23, 2017
Al Capone in Mt Dora Fl is a urban legend
by: Anonymous

I have taken two different trips on Lake Dora with the a tour boat (narrated) and the cat boats (narrated with walkie-talkies. These trips were several years apart from one another and yet these two different tours stated the same thing....Al Capone owned this house.

Unless someone can produce a deed with his name and signature on it I tend to believe that these are just urban legends that grow with time. The only property that I am aware of owned by this man was in Miami and that would fit his style.

Mount Dora is a sleepy community with lots of charm, but I really don't believe the robust stories about gangsters in the 1920's and 30's.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

I live in Mount Dora and am not aware of any urban legends about Al Capone owning here or visiting here. There's some talk that he vacationed in nearby Mount Plymouth, but that's the only one I've heard of.

I agree with you that the myth of Al Capone continues to grow. As I've said, he reportedly owned and slept in more places that have claimed for George Washington during the Revolutionary War. I think the tour boat operators and other tourist hucksters just think it's a good story and keep perpetuating the myth.

Jun 23, 2017
Owner of one of Sam Stolz's '20s -rumored Al stayed here houses
by: Anonymous

We own a "Plymouthonian" AKA Sam Stolz "Gingerbread House" on the old golf course. There is a Facebook page for it: Gingerbread House "The Cornelius".

The history is quite interesting and the homes are certainly unique architectural artistry We have the notorious secret passages and hide-aways including a basement (rather, cellar), cypress framed with pecky cypress ceilings and doors, plaster abound, rounded and peaked arches and doorways, a courtyard, the famous plaster birds, coquina rock chimney (the infamous intentionally crooked one) with waterfall and pond.

If only the home and huge old trees could talk... Winter Park library online has a section dedicated to the builder and the history.

Thank you all for your continued interest.

Jun 14, 2017
Mt. Plymouth
by: Anonymous

The beautiful golf course was still in operation up to 10 years ago. My grandmother would take me on walks through the back roads in Mount Plymouth and Al Capone had more than one house. One is filled with secret passages and there is an old shack looking house that she said was his house he would take the ladies to.. pretty neat history there.

Jun 02, 2017
Al Capone's House on Lake Dora
by: Jodi Lyn DeVincentis

We just took a CraigCat Boat tour on Lake Dora on Monday, Memorial Day, and our guide stopped to show us the house and told the story of Al Capone there at that house during prohibition.

The problem was we couldn't hear all the details through the walkie talkies and weren't sure which structure he was referring to. We will have to take the tour again to get the correct answer.

I thought he said it was the house with the gazebo but he could have also said the house below the house with the gazebo down on the lake.

If you take Lake Road around Lake Dora from Tavares into Mt. Dora, it is along the stretch where there are no houses between the road and the lake, only the train tracks, before turning the bend to go into downtown Mt. Dora. I do believe that is 441.

If you are on the lake, it is to the left of the boat docks accessible from the hotel/ inn behind the Main Street of downtown Mt. Dora, and beyond the few houses directly on the lake. (Not from Gilbert Park with the lighthouse)

The house with the gazebo appears to be newly painted an olive green color, you can't miss it.

There is a dilapidated concrete structure down between the tracks and lake that could be the structure our guide was referring to but I'm pretty sure he said it had the gazebo.

So it's either the green painted house above the tracks or the dilapidated structure below the tracks.

Sadly, I can't remember the details of the story either but recall that it was interesting that Al Capone used that house, or at least the basement of that house, for some of his activities.

I took pics but do not have them to share at this time. If someone recalls the details of the story I would love to hear it or confirm exactly which house it actually is.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

I've never taken the Craig Cat Boat Tour but it sounds like a lot of fun. I am not aware of any house on or overlooking Lake Dora that was ever owned or inhabited by Al Capone. Maybe there is one, but I don't know which house it is or where. Even in Mt Plymouth, several miles inland from Lake Dora, Al Capone was only rumored to own houses and to stay in the now demolished old hotel there.

Sometimes I think Al Capone, though a gangster, enjoys a mythical reputation somewhat like George Washington. All over the original 13 colonies there used to be signs saying "George Washington Slept Here". I'd like to have a dollar for every place in Florida that says "Al Capone Slept Here".

May 13, 2017
Mt Dora House
by: Anonymous

It is also believed that he owned a house off Old 441 near Mt. Dora. That he had furniture built inside it so it wouldn't be stolen, it wouldn't fit through doors. He would have business meetings in the boathouse across Old 441 from the house.

Apr 15, 2017
Al Capones home in Mt. Plymouth.
by: Lynette

I have looked under every website and still cannot get the address of this house or the Mt. Plymouth hotel. This is so sad it is a historical home and hotel. It really frustrates me that Florida does not take its history seriously. I was born here and lived here my entire childhood. Now I am back and never knew that this history was here just around the corner from where I lived and live now. Unreal, after coming back from Virginia and California where you cannot swing a dead cat without hitting something historical and proudly marked. I realize that Al Capone was a bad guy however its our history and is fascinating. Be proud Florida. Show off our history.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Researching and recording history takes a lot of work. The address of the house and of the hotel could be discovered by someone willing to take the time to research original county deeds and documents, etc. I encourage you to be that person.

Apr 09, 2017
Such a cool house
by: Anonymous

My friends used to own that house and it is truly beautiful. The plaster has cranes molded into it as the original artisans drew beautiful pictures in the walls. There is a secret passage going from the Master bedroom to the butler's room which goes down to the garage. Hidden spots to hide weapons. Just a really amazing house I'm glad I have gotten to spend time there. My friends owned the home for about 5 years and restored a lot

Mar 14, 2017
FCA
by: Coit A Black Jr

The boys academy was not a military school. It later became co-ed.I know, I went there and I still miss it.

Sep 14, 2016
Al
by: Anonymous

It boils down to Al Capone was a gangster,
and probably owned 3 or 4 houses, but none
in his name because of the aforementioned.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Maybe, but Al owned his Miami home in his own name and actually bought it before he went to prison. He reportedly planned the St. Valentine's Day Massacre from his Miami mansion.



Apr 29, 2016
House
by: Just jenna

The house is in great shape and is really fun to walk by and look at . Its occupied now. I am curious as to what the new owners paid for the place.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS:

Just go to the Lake County Property Appraiser's website and search for the address. You will find the actual sales price.

Mar 06, 2016
Florida Central Academy
by: mmaulo1915@gmail.com

I went to school at FCA in the 80s,I'm looking for people who also went there. Please contact me at my email address. Thanks.

Jan 30, 2016
Al Capone
by: Anonymous

I will start by saying that I live in Sorrento, right next to Mt. Plymouth. Between researching the history of my house and the fact that I am an appliance tech (I have been in MANY houses in the area). I can say that it is apparent that Al Capone did in fact own a house in Mt. Plymouth.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL ASKS

I'm not surprised to hear you say this. Do you have any idea where the house was located and whether it is still standing?

Nov 08, 2015
Al Capone
by: Anonymous

Did Al Capone actually have a house in Mt. Plymouth Sorrento area or did he just stay at the old hotel?

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

We don't know the answer to that. Pretty much everything is rumor about where he stayed, but most folks around the area do believe he visited more than once and loved the area.

Aug 24, 2015
Log cabin
by: Virginia

We own the log cabin that was built in 1926; one of Sam Stoltz's homes. I fell in love with in 1992 . Been here ever since .

May 31, 2015
My Home
by: Pat

I lived in one of the old homes. It was the one on the right just as 435 came onto the first hole of the golf course about a mile from 46

What memories. Chasing golfers out of the yard, golf balls breaking windows.

The house was a lot of maintenance but was neat to live in as a kid. Hidden rooms and hiding places and amazing colored concrete murals around the fire place.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Thanks, Pat. It's great to hear from somebody who actually lived in one of these homes.

Feb 11, 2015
Class of 81
by: Anonymous

A lot of mixed history first as a hotel then as a all male boarding military academy and finally as a coed boarding school. There are probably those that rather focus on the military aspect of the school rather the Al Capone.

Dec 12, 2012
1970's
by: Anonymous

i grew up there when the "florida houses" were in bright colors and the Klan lived around the corner from us. I lived on a hole..fire station was just down the dirt rd..across our house was all woods..i was young.. learned to ride a bike on the dirt roads

Nov 14, 2012
Mt Plymouth Golf course
by: Anonymous

There is a lot of history with this golf course, it has aired on the history channel. If it could only be bought and re-opened to preserve the history of it. The club house could be renovated. With some imagination, creativeness and money I believe it could do well even with golf courses having problems with today's economy. There is a lot of history to build the course around.

Oct 20, 2012
Florida Central Academy
by: Guillermo Suarez

Those of us who ha the privilege of attending FCA and also having worked there will have it live in our heart till our dying day. It was the best and most wonderful place full of friends and love.
We will always remember the four words that helped us get through

WISDOM; HONOR, TRUTH and LOYALTY , these words are inscribed in our rings and have been the basis of our life

Oct 20, 2012
FCA
by: Julia

I went to Florida Central Academy for 4 years (1979-83). I was in the last graduating class before the school closed. Lot's of great memories

Apr 01, 2012
Florida Central Academy Alumni
by: John

I spent two years at Florida Central Academy. It was the school years 1970-71 and 71-72. I graduated in May of 1972. It was a great school where I made many friends that I'm still in contact with and have a lot of great memories. There has been several Reunions and I have been to two of them where I had the chance to reconnect with my old school friends and remember the good old days.

May 10, 2011
Sam Stoltz
by: Anonymous

The house in your picture is a Sam Stoltz house. His houses in Mt Plymouth were built in the late 1920's. I have recently discovered 4 of sam stoltz houses in the area.One of the houses is known to be al capones bookkeepers home. I love his houses........

Apr 23, 2011
Cottage on Mt. Plymouth Road
by: Robin Sawyer

Thanks so much for sharing the information about the cottage. I drove by there today and took a picture of the same house. It's a great place and it's sad to think that more of these were torn down instead of preserved.

Apr 05, 2011
Now That's History!
by: Greg May

Mike, your article on the Mt. Dora hotel was priceless! Now this type of material is what your website is all about!

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