The Communities and Cities of Sumter have vastly differing lifestyles. There’s something for everyone, the wildlife at Lake Panasoffkee, the fresh agriculture of Oxford, & the leisure lifestyle of The Villages.
P.O. Box 115, Bushnell, FL 33513
Phone: (352) 793-2591
Fax: (352) 793-2271
Named in honor of J. W. Bushnell, who surveyed the route of the Florida Railway and Navigation Company Railroad, the City of Bushnell was incorporated in 1912 when the courthouse was relocated from Sumterville.
Today, the City of Bushnell operates one of the smallest Public Utilities in the State of Florida, providing water, electric, sewer, and sanitation services to approximately 2300 homes and businesses.
Bushnell is a growing and dynamic community enjoyed by young and old alike. True to its designation as a bird sanctuary, the area abounds in natural beauty. Throughout the year, the City of Bushnell is host to a variety of public events including the “Annual Fall Festival”.
City of Webster
Phone: (352) 793-2073
Fax: (352) 793-8006
Webster was first settled during 1855, making it the oldest incorporated town in Sumter County. The growing and marketing of vegetables was Webster’s main economic base. The Webster area became one of the largest vegetable producers in the state during the early 1900’s and became known as the “Cucumber Capital” and also home of the Parson’s Brown Orange. The Sumter County Farmer’s Market was the result of a group of area farmers organizing a co-op in 1938, in which they could sell their farm products. Livestock sales were held each week along with the sale of vegetables. A flea market began, along with the sale of the farm products, and has become one of the largest flea markets in Florida today. The sale of livestock continues and is one of the few surviving cattle markets in the United States.
City of Center Hill
Phone: (352) 793-4431
Fax: (352) 568-2264
Center Hill’s history dates as far back as 1842. How- ever, it received its official name when Mrs. Carrie Lovell named this little town “Center Hill” as it was in the center of the County and on top of a hill. In the early part of 1900, Center Hill became a “boom” town, and was known as the string bean capital of the world, shipping nearly 400 railroad cars of string beans that year.
Phone: (352) 330-1330
Fax: (352) 330-1338
Wildwood is known as “the transportation hub” because it’s at the crossroads of four major high- ways: I-75, U.S. 301, SR 44, and the Florida Turnpike in addition to the CSX Railroad which has a number of trains that pass through daily. It has several large industrial parks to accommodate new industry. The construction of a new City Hall was completed in 2000. A new 110-acre recreational complex is currently being developed in sections and should serves the needs of city residents of all ages for many years to come. A new Community Center/ Storm Shelter was constructed on the 110-acre site and was completed in 2003. The Villages is constructing its final town center “Brownwood” within the city limits of Wildwood, which will bring many new businesses, and residents to Wildwood. Wildwood has annexed 21,644 acres into the city beginning in 2005, making the current total area of the city 26,853 acres in size. Several large residential developments which include commercial/retail are planned within that acreage and awaiting approval. Wildwood is one of the fastest growing cities in Florida with planned, smart growth.
City of Coleman
Phone: (352) 748-1017
Fax: (352) 748-2291
The community of Coleman was settled in 1882. The city is named for Dr. B. F. Coleman, who is listed in the Florida Gazette in 1886-87 as one of the early citizens. During this time, the main source of revenue was growing and selling oranges, but residents also made a living raising cotton, cattle, sheep and hogs. Today, Coleman is home to the Federal Correctional Complex. The Complex opened in December 1995, providing jobs to more than 1,000 employees. The Complex is located east of Coleman on CR 470, consisting of Low Security. (352) 689-4000, Medium Security/Work Camp (352) 689-5000 and U.S. Penitentiary (352) 689-6000.
Phone: (352) 753-2270
Toll Free: (800) 245-1081
Known as “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown,” The Villages represents a world renowned retirement community in northeastern Sumter County. The Villages offers a lifestyle that feels like a permanent vacation. Restaurants, taverns, 649 holes of golf, bowling, live entertainment, movies, shopping, medical, dental and legal services. Many conveniences residents need on a day-to-day basis are golf cart accessible. The Villages was designed using the latest concepts in neighborhood and community planning. It embraces small town charm and intimacy while catering to the active adults’ need for entertainment and recreation.
Spanish Springs Town Square, Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, and Brownwood Paddock Square provide three destinations for old-fashioned fun. These turn-of-the-century style town centers bring residents together for shopping, dining and nightly entertainment. It’s just the right locale to enjoy coffee with friends or unwind after a game of golf.
City of Oxford
Sometime around 1870, pioneers began to settle in Oxford. On the road south of town, there was a pond that caused problems during the rainy sea- sons. Travelers were forced to get the help of teams of oxen to cross this section of the road, and this could have led to the name “Ox-ford.”
After the 1894-95 freeze, a few families remained in Oxford and they turned to truck farming for a living. Cantaloupes were developed as a quality crop, now tomatoes and hay are raised in and around Oxford.
City of Sumterville
The county seat in 1881 was an integral part of Sumter County history. Sumterville Proper is a cozy old village of about 100 inhabitants and has been twice elected the county seat. In the early days a stage line had operated from Tampa to Sumterville. Operations continued when the railroad was built nearby, continuing to transport passengers and freight items. Residents soon learned that the limestone rock covering a large portion of this section was another source of income. Thus, Sumter County furnished crushed limestone rock for road construction, shipping it to distant places.
City of Lake Panasoffkee
Originally settled around 1880 as simply “Panasoffkee,” it soon became known as one of the largest fruit-shipping centers in the world. In addition to citrus groves, sugar cane mills speckled the countryside. There were many lovely old colonial homes along the groves and plantations where Sea Island cotton, sugar cane, corn and sweet potatoes were also grown. The rivers and woods were teeming with fish and game, and social life centered on these activities.
Today, winter tourists continue to flock to the area in order to enjoy the excellent hunting and fishing. Lake Panasoffkee was recently the site of a $28-million restoration project that resulted in restoring the lake’s fisheries and shoreline habitats, and preserving the natural beauty of the lake to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy this marvelous natural resource for years to come.