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Below is the history of those named alleys taken from the public City of Tavares website
Historical Background on the Alleyway Names
1910, after he patented a system of floatation devices, he completed four consecutive perfect flights taking off from the surface of Etang de
Berre, a lagoon near Marseilles. During the First World War he established a company which specialized in the manufacturing of seaplanes.
Seaplane pioneers, Glenn Curtiss and Gabriel Voisin used Fabres’ invention to develop their own seaplanes.
Alleyway #3 – Gardner – Gardner’s Garage on Main Street was built in 1924. By the 1930’s the building housed a filling station and repair
shop, as well as rented automobiles. During the Depression, Mr. Gardner bought out a bankrupt lumberyard and hardware supply and
incorporated the whole business, providing jobs. Gardner’s building, which still stands today, housed other business through the years
including a jewelry store, two grocery stores, a clothing store, fabric shop and the more famous Tavares Hardware.
Alleyway #4 – Blanche Sperry – 1894-1986. Arriving in Tavares in 1926, she was Tavares Schools’ lunchroom manager for over 40 years, and
was responsible for starting a lunch program in 1939, being a pioneer in school lunch programs in the country. In an effort to budget the limited
funds for a lunch program she bought vegetables from the farmers around Tavares. And within the first year, the program was self-supporting.
Blanche Sperry cooked for the entire student population of Tavares, including arriving early and staying late to bake cookies for the children
which she sold the next day for a penny.
Alleyway #5 – Boulware – Alleyway 5 is appropriately named as Doc Boulware’s famous Tavares drugstore was known as the “Home of the 5¢
cup of coffee.” In 1935, Doc Boulware bought the drug store, located on the south side of Main Street (formally Irma Street), from Doc
Daniels. The fountain service offered drinks and ice cream while Doc filled prescriptions. For many years it was an institution in Tavares; the
place to go for a “coffee break” and conversation.
Alleyway #6 – Marie King – 1896-1981. This alleyway runs behind Marie King’s famous Tavares landmark, the Tavares Inn, which she
purchased in 1931. Marie came to Tavares in the 1920’s when a Home Demonstration job became available in Lake County. She married Jack
King, a telegraph operator with the ACL Railroad, in 1927. Marie was one of the most active women in the Tavares community and was
recognized with many citations and certificates of appreciation, including one from President Harry Truman. Doris Ragan wrote a poem in 1981
about Marie in which she writes, “Her many talents were an inspiration, her memory will be cherished in appreciation.”
Alleyway #7 – Glenn Curtiss – 1878-1930. Remembered as the inventor of the Hydroaeroplane, he began developing the Curtiss seaplane in
1908 and completing it in 1911. He is also known as the “Father of Naval Aviation.” Three significant demonstrations involving the US Naval
warships, including Eugene Ely's flying his Curtiss airplane off the cruiser, USS Birmingham, pointed the way to future progress in seaplane
aviation, anticipating battleships carrying seaplane "spotter" aircraft and ultimately, carrier-based air operations. Curtiss will always be
associated with his flying boats and the dawning of American naval aviation prior to the First World War.
Alleyway #8 – John Cyril Porte – 1884-1919. Porte was a flying boat pioneer associated with the World War I Seaplane Experimental Station at
Felixstowe. He met American aircraft designer Glenn Curtiss at Volk's Seaplane Base at Brighton, and they worked together on a design in the
USA for the "America" flying boat. Several hundred seaplanes of Porte's design were built for war-time patrolling the east coast of England, for
naval reconnaissance around the Mediterranean Sea, and were sold to the US for coast patrols.
Alleyway #9 – T. A. Hux – 1842-1939. Thomas A. Hux was one of the many Confederate veterans who settled the area, arriving in 1870. He
moved and founded the town of Astatula in 1872. He eventually moved to Tavares and became the town’s most beloved senior figure. In 1938
he was the guest of the U.S. government at the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. When he returned home from the reunion he was
quoted as saying “Them Yankees treated us real nice.” In 1936, the 95 year old Tavares citizen wished to celebrate his 66th wedding
anniversary by challenging 96 year old Mt. Dora resident Adam Hazelwood to a foot race. Mr. Hazelwood responded by saying, “Why should a
man in the prime of his life want to compete with a baby…Hux is too young for me to disillusion him and spoil his whole future.” The pallbearers
at his funeral were some of Tavares most prominent citizens.
Alleyway #10 – J. N. Flowers – 1863-1947. Joel Napoleon Flowers was the last town marshal and then became the first Tavares police chief in
1925; holding that position until 1929. He was responsible for collecting personal taxes from residents in the 1920’s and for setting fines for
various infractions, including fining $2 for illegally parked mules and $10 for the possession of moonshine. The Flowers family still resides in
Alleyway #11 – Tally – Judge Emmett M. Tally, son of a Confederate veteran, was born in 1877 and arrived in Lake County in 1906. He was
appointed Lake County judge in 1910, and was re-elected five times. He was held in the highest esteem and popularity with the citizens of
Lake County. In June of 1911, he married Lucille Cottrell, a very active and popular lady in Tavares and throughout the County. She was a
leading business woman, owning and operation the Tally Insurance Agency. Judge Tally gained widespread attention when he apprehended
an escaped convict in 1933, shooting and wounding the escapee. The Tally house on the corner of Alfred and Rockingham was built in 1886,
and was used temporarily as the Courthouse. The House still stands today.
Alleyway #12 – Clara Adams – 1884-1971. She was an aviatrix who set a variety of flying records and was a pioneering passenger in the early
aviation technology of the “flying boat.” Clara Adams made one of her most famous trips in 1939, when she set a world record for an around-
the-world flight solely on scheduled passenger airlines. She left New York on June 28, 1939 aboard Pan American’s “Dixie Clipper”, a Boeing
314 flying boat. Clara Adams brought passenger flight to the attention of the masses, and helped change the public perception of aviation from
a dangerous enterprise for daredevils in leather helmets to something that could be enjoyed by a little old widow from Pennsylvania.
Alleyway #13 – Bennye Kinsler – 1911-1999. She was one of the most beloved ladies in Lake County history. Mrs. Kinsler touched
generations during her six decades of teaching school and was a major role model for African-American youths dating back to the Depression.
She was instrumental during the implementation of desegregation in Lake County’s public schools. Upon her retirement, Florida Governor
Lawton Chiles and the Florida Legislature passed a Resolution honoring her remarkable career. There is a wing at Tavares Elementary School
named and dedicated to her.
Alleyway #14 – Shorts – Frederick Shorts, with his brothers Sidney and Samuel arrived in Tavares in 1916, and found work in Lane Park area
in the turpentine business and later in planting and harvesting citrus. Fred, who married Mary Wiggins in the 1920’s, eventually began his own
lawn and garden service which he did until his retirement. He was a very important figure in the African-American community, and an
outstanding leader in the Mt. Mariah Missionary Church. He made sure everyone had food to eat and transportation to the grocery store and
church. The African-American community looked up to Fred Shorts as a man of wisdom, compassion and understanding. Many of the Shorts
brothers’ descendants still reside in the Tavares area, including Bernice Shorts Odums, Atheria Shorts Owens, Kevin Harris, Howard and Lear
Shorts, Carolyn Shorts Nix, the Charles Birdsong family, as well as Keturah Shorts Brodus, the oldest still living Tavares-born African-American,
Alleyway #15 – Coven – This alleyway is located behind the still-standing home of Leo and Leela Coven. Leo, 1884-1955, built many buildings
and homes in Tavares, many of which are still standing today, including the Harry Duncan house and the Lake Abstract Building. The City of
Tavares is now in the process of reconstructing his historic 1912 pavilion on Lake Dora. His son L.L. “Babe” Coven, 1923-1980, who worked in
the family business as a youth, continued the family construction tradition in Tavares.