Bats helped put Tavares on the map, according to a Chicago paper printed in 1904. The headline proclaimed, “Bats take possession of a Florida Theater.” The story went on to name Tavares as the site of the theater. “Bats are doing for Tavares, Florida, what a boom failed to do — earning it a national reputation,” began the story. The boom to which the paper referred was the migration of northerners to the Sunshine State in the 1880s. Major Alexander St. Clair Abrams founded the community in 1880. The major envisioned Tavares one day becoming the state capital, but a devastating fire in 1888 and the back-to-back freezes of December 1894 and February 1895 dashed his dreams. 


Bloomfield, near Yalaha, was the first county seat of Lake County in 1887. Nellie King Wright, who grew up in Bloomfield in the 1890s, wrote a description of the community to her niece in 1969. One of Bloomfield’s four stores belonged to Wright’s grandparents, who settled there in the 1880s. It was located on Bloomfield Avenue and Main Street, about a block south of the clay road that would become County Road 48. Wright’s earliest recollections of the store came sometime after the big freeze of December 1894 and February 1895. “My earliest memories of the building is that my father had a general merchandise store and the Post Office in it,” wrote Wright. “It must have been about 1905 when the post office was discontinued and two or three years later the store was closed. The building stood dilapidated until it was torn down by the Crabbs to build the house that now stands on the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Main Street.”