It was a decade of momentous events across the U.S. and the globe. Citrus County followed that trend and was the site of significant milestones as well.
At the start of the decade the county population had grown to 6,731 (Inverness boasted 1,264) and marked the beginning of a period that saw much capital outlay for public buildings, primarily a new courthouse, a new jail and the Masonic Temple in Inverness.
The jail was built on Apopka Avenue in 1910. The Masonic building was dedicated in 1910 and was ready for occupancy in early 1911. The new courthouse, now the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum, was open in 1913.
The period also saw the use of automobiles become more commonplace and the electrification of Inverness in 1913.
In 1909 phosphate ruled the economic fortunes of the county, but 1910 brings a downturn in the industry, which for the most part was eliminated by the outbreak of World War I in Europe.
However, timber production and agriculture kept things humming in the county.
During the war years, the Inverness Woman’s Club was formed in 1917 on the eve of the U.S. entering the conflict and the members formed a Standing Committee for Red Cross. The women found themselves in Red Cross work and other war interests.
Walter Warnock sold the Chronicle and took his family to Mexico to grow citrus fruit.
George Butler, 70, became owner and editor of the Chronicle.
In the summer of 1914, while the war with Germany was raging in Europe, Albert W. Butler became editor and owner.
Around the world, big things were going on:
- The first Indy 500 race was held in 1911.
- The Girl Scouts are founded in 1912.
- World War I begins in Europe in 1914.
- Pancho Villa attacked New Mexico in 1916.
- The Russian Revolution began in 1917
- The United States entered World War I. Citrus County would lose seven men to the fighting.
- Prohibition became law 1919.
Citrus County entered the decade in the post World War I doldrums, but exciting days were ahead for residents, now numbering 5,220.
The automobile age had arrived and a Ford touring car was advertised in the Chronicle for $295.
Incidentally, a copy of the Chronicle sold for a nickel.
Another sign of progress was also at hand – the telephone was becoming a part of everyday life.
Area ranchers organized themselves and formed the Citrus County Open Range Association in 1921.
In 1922, Crystal River got its first telephone switchboard operator. Then in 1923 work began on a phone system in Inverness.
By the mid 1920s the great land boom was under way throughout Florida including Citrus County.
In Homosassa Springs the Chicago promoter of a city plan poured money into modern planning, grading and paving of the streets, sidewalks constructed and water system with pumping station at the rivers headwaters. A golf course was projected and plans for the Homosassa Springs Hotel were announced. It was later managed by baseball player Dazzy Vance. A year later the boom fizzled.
In 1926 when Minor L. Smith was managing editor, the Chronicle caused a flurry of talk in the community when it announced it would run comic pages.
The year 1928 was the beginning of the calamitous depression era in Citrus County.
Two other events took place in Citrus County later that year. In October the town of Crystal River became flooded and row boats had to be used on Main Street.
In Inverness, the $800 clock in the courthouse tower lost 15 minutes and all activities in town went on a late schedule.
Joseph J. Wilson of Clearwater took over the editorial reins of the Chronicle in April of 1929. During the boom, the paper was running 10 to 12 pages a week – after the crash it was hard pressed to turn out four pages.
Wilson managed to pull the paper out of a financial hole and kept subscribers’ interest through his lively and timely editorials. In those editorials he established goals for the county to help return to prosperity.
The Roaring Twenties were also a time of important events around the country.
- Women got the right to vote in 1920.
- The Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast started in 1925.
- Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927.
- Talking pictures made their debut in 1929, also the same year the stock market crashed, setting off the Great Depression.