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About Us

Your Central Florida Historian

Richard Lee Cronin, Writer and Historian



Central Florida Railroad Historical Society

Central Florida Railroad Museum

Vice-President Education & Public Relations


A member and supporter of the following history organizations

Pioneer Days Annual History Tent Coordinator

Member of Friends of Ethel, Florida State Park

Tavares Historical Society

Tavares History Research Center

Lake County Historical Society

Pine Castle Historical Society

Member of Orlando Remember Group

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About the Author:

Cincinnatian by birthright, I grew to adulthood at Dayton, Ohio, admiring a journalist I called Dad. My father edited news the old fashion way – making certain what he wrote was accurate. Dad loved history as well, particularly Cincinnati history, and I feel certain that by the time I reached voting age, I knew more about Cincinnati Ohio’s history than most counterparts.

Nothing aggravated Dad more than inaccuracies in stories of yesteryear, or worse, a history time line that simply didn’t make sense. I have little doubt a similar trait of mine was inherited directly from the writer I most admired – my Father.

I arrived in Florida Christmas Day 1971, a hundred years to the day, I later learned, from the day John Otto Fries’ arrived in central Florida. Decades passed before I learned of the Swedish immigrant, a precision surveyor whose work I routinely rely on today, but with this precautionary postscript. Fries was a precise land surveyor, but a horrible speller.

Observations as a youth, I’m convinced, laid a foundation for my obligation as a history researcher, trust information only after you take the necessary time to verify it.

Like Fries, I knew nothing of central Florida’s rich history when I arrived, but wanted to discover as much as possible about my new home. My curiosity however did not focus on such history as the 1950s Tee-Pee motel on the "Trail", but rather how Orlando really came to be. Why was the town established at its most unusual location? Who named Lake Ivanhoe and why? Was the daughter of Anheuser Busch’s beer empire really central Florida’s Duchess of Castelluccia?

The last half of the 19th century was a fascinating period in the story of central Florida, a time and place often described as an American Paradise, and the period during which my research and writing centers. This was a time of amazing people - men and women - who endured remarkable triumphs and tragedies.

 Central Florida history by Richard Lee Cronin

Florida’s Indian River Duchess (EBook);

Seven Honorable Floridians (EBook)

The Rutland Mule Matter; A Civil War Novel (2015)

Beyond Gatlin – A History of South Florida; (2017)

First Road to Orlando; The Fort Mellon to Fort Gatlin Road (2015)

Orlando Lakes: Homesteaders & Namesakes (2019)

Curse of Florida’s Paradise (2016 2 Edition)

Ghost Towns & Phantom Trains (2015)

Altamonte Springs of Florida (2014)

Orlando Florida Origins (EBook)

TAVARES: Darling of Orange County, Birthplace of Lake County (2020)

Mount Dora: The Lure. The Founders. The Founding.

Available through Pine Castle Historical Society

Will Wallace Harney, Orlando's First Renaissance Man

By Richard Lee Cronin

Commissioned by Pine Castle Historical Society

Available at the Central Florida Railroad Museum

The Tavares & Gulf Legacy: a World-Class Railroad Museum

By Rick Cronin and Phil Cross

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