I have so many memories of Inverness while growing up in the ’60s. I’ve reached the age that I have a memory/antidote for almost anything. So please pardon my rambling.
I, too, remember the watermelon field where part of Citrus Hills has been built. It was part of Howard Fertilizer Ranch. Dad knew the foreman, so at times a corner of our kitchen floor would be a mass of melons.
In our area, picking would start about the same time as summer vacation started.
Other than Vacation Bible School there were few structured activities in the summer.We didn’t have the internet, cable or local radio stations. An antenna brought three TV channels from Orlando. Maybe one UHF. As a teenager, if you were lucky enough to have an AM/FM transistor radio you might pick up WAPE from Jacksonville.
Were we bored? Not at all! We spent our days biking, playing hide and seek, softball in someone’s yard, and dayslong games of Monopoly.
One of my favorite places, especially during summer, was the library. The first one I remember was in a corner on the Inverness Woman’s Club. That building is now Landmark Realty.
Then the library was moved next to the Valerie Theatre. The number and selection of books had expanded. Great!
I remember when the new library was built at Citrus High. When I moved there in seventh grade (there was no middle school), there were walls of books to sort through.
The closest thing to fast food was the Hurricane Drive-in adjacent the the high school. Good food, tasty shakes and a hang-out in the evenings.
In the later ’60s, Biff Burger was built south of downtown. Later an A&W Root Beer drive-in was added at the northern apex of U.S. 41 and State Road 44.
Biff Burger came about the same time as Citrus Plaza which gave us B&W Rexall, TG&Y and Winn-Dixie. We now had three grocery stores, including A&P and the IGA. There was also Woody’s store (originally Figgins, owned by Mayor Figgins). They carried a bit of everything and had a good butcher counter. That was the closest thing we had to a convenience store until the Jiffy Store was built across from Citrus High.
The ’60s saw these and many more changes come to Inverness. But yes, we still had only that one traffic light.