History of Citrus County and Sugarmill Woods

bird reflectionCitrus County was founded in 1887. It is located approximately mid-state and borders the Gulf of Mexico. Citrus County is about 70 miles north of Tampa and 60 miles northwest of Orlando. According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 773 square miles. About 584 square miles of it is land and 189 square miles (24.5%) is water. Total population within the county is 138,143 persons according to the 2006 estimate.

There are several lakes including Big Lake Henderson, Little Lake Henderson, Lake Holathlikaha, Lake Rousseau, Tsala Apopka Lake Chain, and Lake Hernando. Seven outstanding Florida Waterways run through the county including Crystal River, Homosassa River, Halls River, Chassahowitzka River, Withlacoochee River (72 miles of navigable water running through seven counties), Salt River, and St. Martins River. In addition, the county is home to dozens of springs from beautiful King Spring, Homosassa Spring, Chassahowitzka Spring and Three Sisters Springs.

The county government is led by a five member Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) whose members are elected to four year terms. County offices are located in Inverness and Lecanto.

Sugarmill Woods is located in the southwest corner of Citrus County. There is a rich lore of Florida and American history behind the modern villages of Sugarmill Woods. The community occupies an area that has attracted settlers and visitors alike since before Columbus. Its oak and pine trees, coupled with rolling range lands, are in surprising contrast to the tropical scenery typical of southern Florida.

The Sugarmill Woods community now occupies land that was known as the Twin County Ranch in 1972. The spread was part of the cattle operations of the Norin Corporation, owned by Bruce Norris. Mr. Norris presented plans for a joint development project to Punta Gorda Isles, Inc. – a developer of Florida residential communities. The two formed Parkland Properties, Inc. and the creation of Sugarmill Woods was underway. The original development spanned the northwest Hernando/southwest Citrus county line. The partnership lasted until 1975 when the Norris’ share in Parkland was acquired by Punta Gorda Isles, Inc., the parent company of Sugarmill Woods, Inc.

Platting of the land was begun in early 1972 and by July of that year the first ground was broken. The first nine holes of a golf course, two tennis courts and a swimming pool were completed in 1975. The second nine hole golf course was completed in November, 1978, and the third nine was completed in December of 1981. Another pool and a tennis complex in Oak Village were added later. An 18 hole golf course was added in 1995 in a third village known as Southern Woods. All the recreational facilities have since been sold to a Japanese company. In addition, approximately 485 acres of land were sold to other companies.

To the credit of the developer, the design of Sugarmill Woods reflects an awareness of environmental and ecological concerns. Land use is warranted in deed covenant, assuring the community of the preservation of native flora and fauna. Government preserves to the east and west shelter the area from excessive future development.

The community of Sugarmill Woods now includes Cypress Village, Oak Village, and Southern Woods. No other development in Florida has a natural environment of the size and sylvan beauty of Sugarmill Woods. This priceless asset is protected by enforcement of the deed restrictions of the respective three villages.