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   Rich in natural wonders, Citrus County also boasts an accent and rich heritage. Here the woods and fields are littered with the relics and memories of mankindís pilgrimage through history. Millennium before Miami was invented or Lake Okeechobee dike, men and women farmed the land, harvested the bounty from the sea, and created community in Citrus County. According to archaeologists, the earliest settlers speared mammoth and challenged the saber-toothed tiger on this land more than 10,000 years ago. In more recent past, about 500 BC, a community was established along the banks of he Crystal River through three cultural epochs until 1400 AD. The state-managed Crystal River Archeological Site, one mile west of U.S. 19 on the north side of the town of Crystal River, with its burial mounds and riverside temple pyramid, tell the story.

   More than a century before the first Pilgrim put a boot on Plymouth Rock, Spanish explorers, including Hernando Desoto, were trading beads and rumors of gold with the Indians in villages throughout the region which is now Citrus County. Before the Florida Indian Wars of the 1830s and 1840s, the woods of Citrus County were rules by the retreating Creek, Caloosa, and the Cherokee tribes who later joined together in the Everglades as the Seminole Nation. In the early 1830s the first group of northern entrepreneurs, including New York-born David Yulee who settled on the Homosassa River, arrived in coastal Citrus County to develop huge sugar plantations and to plant the first citrus groves. Yulee is also credited with building the first railroad south of Cedar Key.

   Modern Citrus County is a mosaic of towns and villages. Several, such as Crystal river and Homosassa Springs, trace their roots to an early 19th Century American frontier which depended on water for communication, trade, and transportation. The architecture if the homes ad businesses in Inverness, much of it wonderfully restored, suggests the optimism Floridian's felt at the turn of the century. Benefiting from well managed growth for the past two decades, Citrus County is now home to more than 106,000 people and is expected to grow to 125,000 by the year 2004.

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