The observant can't help but notice a windmill looms over the Grandview Bed & Breakfast and wonder about the story behind the perplexing landmark.
Fifth generation Mount Doran and former resident of the historic house on the corner of Third Avenue and Grandview, M M Waite said, "It was the windmill for operating the water pump."
Originally, the Grandview Bed & Breakfast was the William Watt house which was built in 1906. Mr. and Mrs. Watt, who migrated to Florida from the Northeast, owned a large citrus grove surrounding the property. The windmill-operated water pump provided the irrigation for the grove.
Grandview Bed & Breakfast's website notes that William Watt "invented corrugated cardboard as a packaging medium for his oranges."
"Mr. Watt made these huge boxes that would go over the orange trees to protect the fruit when a freeze would hit, but the corrugated cardboard was primarily used for fruit packaging and shipping," said Edee Waite Robinson, M M's sister.
M M and Edee's parents, Ed and Mary Martha Waite, bought the Watt property in the early 1950s as their family home. Though the windmill and pump were operational, the Waites didn't use it as a water source, but did maintain it.
"Dad would climb up and oil the windmill blades on a regular basis. If he didn't do that, you could hear the screeching of the blades all over town. Later, he wised up and hired boys to climb up and do the oiling," said Edee
M M recollects, "My dad would fill the wooden holding tank with water. The only problem was that the woodpeckers had pecked holes in the tank, and the water spewed out like a water fountain. To my eight-year-old self, it was pretty funny. It looked like a cartoon."
Edee, owner of the home in the 1990's, looked into the possibility of going off grid and using the windmill to produce electricity. Much to her disappointment, a specialist advised it wasn't feasible because the windmill was designed to pump water not generate electricity.
Today the Grandview Bed & Breakfast has named one of their guest rooms the Windmill Cottage which is literally built around the old historic windmill.
By Jane Trimble Contributing writer
Read more historical articles here... View dozens of historic photos of Mount Dora here...
Above: Historic photo of the windmill at what is currently Grandview Bed & Breakfast
Above: The windmill today, on Grandview just south of 3rd Avenue. Below: Vintage picture of the Watt house