|History of Umatilla
has a rich history that spans back over 100 years. We have
compiled some interesting tidbits for you starting with the
founding of Umatilla in 1856.
- Umatilla was
founded in 1856 by Nathan J. Trowell.
- The name, Umatilla,
was registered with the U.S. Land Office in Gainesville
in 1876; was taken from an Oregon town of the same name;
is an Indian name meaning "laughing waters."
- In 1880, the
first railroad, the St. Johns and Lake Eustis Line, came
from Astor to Eustis, through the settlement now known
as Umatilla. The earlier settlers began selling lots,
dividing their properties into subdivisions, and the
town experienced its first real growth.
- Truck farming
and cattle were the major businesses of the earliest
pioneers. They later began planting orange groves, the "big
freeze" of 1895 killing most of the trees.
- A general store,
a hotel, a grocery store, a post office, a blacksmith
shop, a packing house and four churches had been built
by the turn of the century.
- The first schoolhouse
was built in 1874. It had one door, no windows and hewed
log benches for the pupils. The first teacher was paid
$15.00 per month.
- On November
8, 1904, an election was held for the purpose of incorporating
Umatilla. Of 43 votes cast, 35 were in favor of the incorporation.
- During the
20th Century Umatilla prospered, with citrus as its dominant
business until the freezes of the late 1980's. Current
businesses include shops, restaurants, a honey co-op,
doctors & dentists, a pharmacy, banks, and a weekly
newspaper. Our community also features active civic clubs,
churches, a library, exemplary schools and ample recreational
Umatilla Chamber of Commerce
23 South Central Ave
P.O. Box 300
Umatilla, Florida USA 32784
Phone: (352) 669-3511
Fax: (352) 669-8900