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“From "Citrus Tower" to "Tower of Sprawl" - Sad Testimate to a Bygone Era”

Florida Citrus Tower
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“From "Citrus Tower" to "Tower of Sprawl" - Sad Testimate to a Bygone Era”
Reviewed July 16, 2008

The Citrus Tower in Clermont, Florida at one time was a premier central-Florida attraction, complete with a restaurant, gift shop, motel, and wax museum next door. Freshly picked citrus could be purchased (often from the very groves the tower provided views of), and the views from the top could only be described as breathtaking.

Unfortunately, this is the conclusion one can only come to after looking at the old black & white photos of what the Citrus Tower used to be. Though still a relative bargain at only $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for children 2 - 15 (<2 are free), the tower is but a shadow of its former glory. Nowadays, it provides views mostly of unchecked urban sprawl, a legacy of the city of Clermont's lax urban planning.

First, some facts: Erected in 1956 on one of the highest hills in Florida's ridge region, this splendid landmark contains 5 million pounds of concrete and 149,000 pounds of reinforcing steel. The original plans specified a height of 75 feet, but when completed, the tower rose to the lofty height of 226 feet (equivalent to 22 stories), the tip of its highest antenna piercing the sky at a point around 500 feet above sea level. It was constructed to withstand winds of more than 190 miles per hour.

Now, sprawl, office buildings, strip malls and pavement blight the once magnificent views afforded by the Citrus Tower. I guess one could now call it the "Tower of Sprawl." What were once beautiful fields of citrus groves, now have all been paved over. It is this disgusting, auto-oriented, cookie-cutter travesty of development that has motivated me to study Urban Planning in college! Only a small, overgrown stand of citrus trees can still be seen, but development is quickly encroaching and soon, I am sure this final testament to Florida's once proud citrus industry will be paved over.

If anything, the views from the tower open one's eyes to the devastating effects of urban sprawl on what was once a pristine landscape of thriving citrus groves. Black and White photos at the top show what used to be. For the eye-opening experience alone, it's worth the price, because though the citrus groves are long gone, the lessons that can be learned make the trip worth while for future generations.

7 Thank UrbanDozer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
South Florida
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Breathtaking Views In Florida's Ridge Section!”
Reviewed April 16, 2008

I visited the Citrus Tower in April 2008 with my 5 year old son as a side trip from Orlando. It was a very welcome, slow paced attraction. There was a cute gift shop on the ground floor and the entrance to the elevation was only a few dollars. At the top they very smartly, had painted signs telling you what you were looking at in each direction. My only regret is that I didn't have a pair of binoculars with me. Also the had a sort of wishing well, where you could drop coins down a pipe and listen to them, cling, clang all the way down. All of those wishes were donated to charity. We made a 1/2 day out of this by visiting the Showcase of Citrus @ 11 miles down the road and picked oranges and tangerines in the groves!

8 Thank ltlmsmfft
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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