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Contact: Chris Cate

Secretary Detzner Designates Eustis as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Recognizes organization’s contribution to preservation and restoration

Tallahassee, Florida –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner today announced Eustis Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for August 2012. The selection for this award is based on the Eustis program's involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

"Eustis is a great example of what can be accomplished when hard working citizens are committed to the betterment of their community," said Secretary Detzner. "Eustis Main Street has been successful because they are committed to preserving local history while preparing for an exciting future."

Eustis' history dates back to the Civil War era. The city is named after Colonel Abraham Eustis, who served in the U.S. Army in Florida during the early 19th century. Before railroads came to Eustis, steamboats carried tourists and goods along the St. Johns River. The Lake Eustis Railway came to the city in 1880, replacing steamboats as the primary mode of transportation and shipping. Over time, Eustis grew into a small city with churches, stores, schools, a bank and a newspaper. It was officially incorporated in 1866.

With the evolution of transportation and the increased ease with which people could travel to Eustis, tourism became an important industry. Hotels, parks and clubs attracted enthusiastic visitors, particularly in the winter months when Eustis' temperate climate was particularly inviting. Being a coastal town, Eustis offered visitors opportunities to enjoy boating and fishing. The city also became well known for its citrus industry. Even after particularly cold temperatures blew into Eustis in 1894 and 1898, and devastated crops, Eustis was able to rebuild its citrus industry and eventually become known as the "Orange Capital of the World." There is currently a research station and laboratory in Eustis which the federal Department of Agriculture uses to study plant diseases.

Today, Eustis continues to revitalize itself. The city has invested in beautifying its downtown area where events are held such as the Magnolia Stroll, the Downtown Cruise-In and the First Friday Streetfest. These events inspire a sense of community in Eustis and encourage residents to embrace and patronize local shops and restaurants.

The Florida Main Street Program designated Eustis a Main Street Community in 1993. As a Florida Main Street Community, Eustis has attracted a net gain of 78 new businesses and 323 jobs, as well as investments totaling nearly $16 million dollars in 189 public and private construction projects. Dedicated community members have contributed nearly 24,000 volunteer hours into their Main Street Program.

To learn more about Eustis Main Street, contact program manager Wayne Carter by phone at 352.357.8555 or email at [email protected].

About Florida Main Street

Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, managed by the Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources. The bureau conducts statewide programs aimed at identifying, evaluating and preserving Florida's historical resources. Main Street, with its emphasis on preservation, is an effective strategy for achieving these goals in Florida's historic retail districts. Since 1985, the bureau has offered manager training, consultant team visits, design and other technical assistance, as well as the benefit of experience gained by other Florida Main Street programs.