The Walling family got into the lumber business in 1916 when L.B. Walling bought a sawmill in Weirsdale. His cousin, who owned the sawmill, got into financial trouble. Walling, who had moved from South Carolina, bought it and moved it to Leesburg the following year. He purchased about 40 acres along what is now U.S. Highway 27 and the site of Palm Plaza. He moved the sawmill there in 1917 and started a crate mill a few years later.

Lumber from the mill was used to make wood slate and wire crates for citrus and vegetables. Long logs were transported by truck to the special shed where they were turned on rollers as sharp knives shaved off sheets of wood in different thicknesses, according to the late Norma Hendricks. Then, the sheets were wire-bound and made into boxes for fruit and vegetables. Each packing house had their own labels.

L.B. Walling died in 1939 and Hugh Walling took over. He ran it until he died in 1957. A third generation of ran it when Robert and Henry Walling took over. The sawmill closed in the mid-1950s, but the crate mill stayed open until 1984. And after that, pallets were made at the mill that the crates were shipped on. The mill finally closed for good around 1994.

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Sorrento was noted in William Kennedy’s “History of Lake County,” to be 18 miles west of Sanford in the eastern part of Lake County. It was settled in 1875 by J.P. Kerr, A.K. Reeve, Hugh Miner and their families.

Kennedy also added some other early settlers to the list: C.G. and Joe Adams, H.B. Paxton, Calvin Butts, A.S. Matlack and Ed Averill.

“They wanted to name their community, and many were the names suggested,” wrote Kennedy, “but none could agree upon which one was to be used. The settlers were enjoying the Italian novel, 'Agnes of Sorrento' at that time and, since Sorrento is a city in Italy that is noted for its oranges, that name was among those offered. It was finally decided to place them all in a hat and have a blindfolded person draw the chosen name. Sorrento was the one that was drawn.”