Umatilla, Florida One Place Study

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 2 Aug 2019
Location: Umatilla, Lake, Florida, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Umatilla_Lake_County_Florida Orange_County_Florida Florida
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Umatilla Topo Map

The goal of this project is to create a comprehensive history of the city of Umatilla, Florida with the help of locals and with input from the families of the founders of this small town in Central Florida.

Right now this project just has one member, me. I am Cindy Williams Lesure and I am looking for more folks to help me gather the information needed to complete this page.

Here are some of the tasks that I think need to be done. I'll be working on them, and could use your help.

  • Gathering family information
  • Gathering census data and demographics over time periods
  • Getting help from founding families

Will you join me? Please post a comment here on this page, in G2G using the project tag, or send me a private message. Thanks, lets make some history come to life!


History of Umatilla

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 activities.[1]

Umatilla, Florida-Code of Ordinances / Part I-Charter

See this website Umatilla Florida Code of Ordinances - Part I Charter to read more about the city ordinances.


  • Umatilla is located at 28°55′59″N 81°39′52″W (28.933134, -81.664430).
  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.1 square miles, of which 2.5 square miles is land and 0.5 square miles (16.99%) is water.[2]


Historical population

Census Population  %±
1910 283
1920 640 126.1%
1930 907 41.7%
1940 1,149 26.7%
1950 1,312 14.2%
1960 1,717 30.9%
1970 1,600 −6.8%
1980 1,872 17.0%
1990 2,350 25.5%
2000 2,214 −5.8%
2010 3,456 56.1%
2016 3,757 8.7%
  • As of the census of 2000, there were 2,214 people, 867 households, and 582 families residing in the city.
  • The population density was 871.4 inhabitants per square mile.
  • There were 987 housing units at an average density of 388.5 per square mile.
  • The racial makeup of the city was 93.54% white, 3.52% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.95% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.93% of the population.
  • There were 867 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families.
  • 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
  • The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.01.
  • In the city, the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older.
  • The average age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.
  • The average income for a household in the city was $29,628, and the average income for a family was $37,500.
  • Males had an average income of $25,500 versus $21,741 for females.
  • The per capita income for the city was $17,739.
  • About 7.2% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.9% of those under age 18 and 17.9% of those age 65 or over.[2]

52 Medflies Turn Up in Lake Traps

In April of 1998, it was reported that 52 Mediterranean fruit flies were found around the Umatilla area in the traps that state officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture had found. They began a spraying program to combat the flies.

Golden Gem of Umatilla, halted their operations to avoid spreading the flies. This in turn, caused financial hardships for the workers who could not work because of the infestation of Medflies.

"We've found a bunch," said Liz Compton, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture. "The number's going to be higher. The situation could change from day to day. We've found all the flies in a very concentrated area north of Umatilla. We think we've gotten it early, and we're going to be very aggressive."[3]

Most of the infestations in the state have occurred near major airports or seaports. Umatilla is inland and is an unlikely place to find a Medfly colony. Medflies are a threat to the state's $7 billion agriculture industry, particularly citrus as the adults bore into fruit and deposit eggs that develop into maggots and ruin the fruit. In previous years, nearly $25 million was spent to eradicate an infestation that started in Tampa and stretched to Orlando. Since this is the first time in memory that Medflies have been found in Lake County, growers and processors have only one choice and that is watch and wait.

Compton said the agriculture department has asked growers not to harvest fruit. Even backyard growers are asked to leave their fruit alone. "We don't want people picking oranges and giving them to their friends or family in other areas. That might just help spread the infestation."[3]

"Luckily, it is the end of the season, and we were winding down," said Golden Gem spokesman Phil Conant. He said the impact should be minimal and said juice operations were continuing normally. He stated state agriculture officials planned a visit to the plant.[3]

The agricultural officials used a ground spray on the Medflies in Lake County using Malathion, which is used routinely to spray for mosquitoes, but in a weaker concentration.

Current Hotels

  • Fox Den Country Inn, 27 South Central Avenue, Umatilla, 32784, (352) 669-2151[4]


  1. Umatilla History from official website for municipality
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Umatilla, Florida WikiPedia
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 52 Medflies Turn up in Lake Traps
  4. Fox Den Country Inn

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