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Connecticut to Florida in 1870. He settled in Thonotosassa in 1872 and filed for homestead 163 acres on the north side of the lake on August 13, 1883. An executive of the Singer Swing Machine Company, Adams had the money to construct a house Georgian Revival detailing. As with others who moved to the region, Adams grew citrus and established a packing plant on his property. Through the years the house has undergone changes, but the structure still exists today. iv

The Mileys and the Adams were the first of a trickle of settlers that turned into a torrent during the 1880s. W.P. Hazen, a wealthy Ohio native, created this flood of newcomers after he moved to Thonotosassa in 1881. Upon purchasing 2000 acres along the lakeshore, Hazen transplanted 1700 orange trees onto what would become a 40 acre grove. He also erected a windmill and a sawmill. The Cooper family followed Mr. Hazen from Ohio to help build his home. Once the house was finished, Hazen sold the sawmill to the Coopers. Between 1882 and 1900, the family constructed 32 structures around Lake Thonotosassa, including Hazen’s hotel, three citrus packing plants, over two dozen houses, and a store.v

Hazen’s promotional success was reflected in The Sunland Tribune, a Tampa newspaper, which began lavishing praise upon the area in the early 1880s. People were drawn to Thonotosassa because of the beauty of the lake and the success of citrus.vi While located over 1000 miles south of Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau would have felt at home on Lake Thonotosassa as revealed in this 1885 description:

Thonotosassa Lake, which for beauty and grandeur has not a rival sheet of water this side of Niagara Falls. At the time of writing it is at its lowest, but now measures two miles in length and one in width. Upon the beach of this small inland sea are situated beautiful cottages, encircled with the native oak and the evergreen orange. It teems with the most delicious quality of trout and other fish, and it is quite notorious that this lake affords one of the best fresh-water fisheries in South Florida. ‘It is the pride of the citizens of the community,....who feast upon the beauty of its waves and breathe the purity and vigor of its breezes.’ vii

With the influx of people, Thonotosassa coalesced into a community. A.C. Moore established Thonotosassa’s first general store in 1883. This same year Miss Ida Davis taught in a one-room log schoolhouse. Not satisfied with the building, area residents raised money and donated land to build a public school in 1884. Two years later a post office was established in Edward Weed’s general store. Three days a week Charles and Tom Clendenning went to Seffner to pick up the mail from the South Florida Railroad and delivered to Weed’s general store. Many of the earliest settlers around the lake were Southerners. This changed, however, when Hazen enticed mostly Northerners from Ohio and New York to purchase property around the lake. Reflective of Florida today, as early as the 1890s, people would reside in Thonotosassa during the winter months and return north during the summer. By 1893, 150 people called Thonotosassa home. viii

Prior to the establishment of the railroad, a person would travel many hours by covered wagon the 15 miles between Tampa and Thonotosassa. Locals longed for a railroad to connect the community to Tampa. As early as 1882 the Florida Tropical Railroad proposed to build tracks south to Shiloh, then turn west, passing through Thonotosassa on its way to Tampa. Thonotosassa residents never heard the whistle of the Florida Tropical Railroad. When Henry


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