1920-1929

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.

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