Like a fine souffle, the history of Mt. Dora is rich and flavorful. Some say it all began in the 1800s, when Federal surveyors named a large, beautiful lake after Ms. Dora Ann Drawdy – who provided them welcoming hospitality during their stay. The town on that lake was then called Mt. Dora – a tribute to the lake, as well as the fact that the settlement rests 184 feet above sea level which is very unusual in low-lying Florida.
Mt. Dora began as a popular winter retreat for fisherman and boaters, and visitors including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Presidents Coolidge and Eisenhower are rumored to have stayed at Lakeside Inn, which is still operational today.
In 1887, the railroad brought with it tourists, freight and a stimulation in the economy. The business boom of the early 1920s then transformed this country town into a charming city that somehow maintained its small town appeal.
Today, Mt. Dora, which is lined with large oak trees, historic buildings and antique and specialty shops, is home to over 13,000 residents. Supporter of the arts and still a popular tourist destination, Mt. Dora holds several special events throughout each year, including its art festival, sailing regatta and Christmas lighting festival.