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Mannfield (original county seat, now a ghost
Its county seat is Inverness, Florida
Citrus County was first occupied about 2,500 years ago by mound-building Native Americans that built the complex that now forms the Crystal River Archeological Site. The site was occupied for about 3,000 years. Why the complex was abandoned is currently unknown.
Citrus County was created in 1887. The Citrus County area was formerly part of a Hernando County. It was named for the county's citrus trees. Citrus production declined dramatically after the "Big Freeze" of 1894-1895. Today, citrus is grown on one large grove, Bellamy Grove. Additionally, some people do have trees on their personal property.
The original county seat was Mansfield, or Mannsfeld.
The county seat was moved to Inverness. Currently, only a street and
a pond remain of the original town.
Phosphate mining also played a major part in the history of the County until the end of WWII in which phosphate mining was largely moved overseas. The first newspaper of Citrus County was called the Phosphate Times. Pineola, Florida was the site of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad's "Great Train Wreck of 1956."
Citrus County is known as The Little Giant and this is inscribed on the official county seal. Citrus County is in the geographic center of Florida.
Citrus County has one local television station that broadcasts County Commission meetings live on the first and third Tuesday of each month. In addition, Citrus County is serviced by Bay News 9, a news outlet provided by Bright House Networks.
There is one local newspaper, the Citrus County Chronicle.
Citrus County's most significant tourist draw is that it is currently the only place in the United States where one can interact and swim with the West Indian manatee without that act being viewed as harassment by Law Enforcement.
This endangered species makes Citrus County's spring-fed rivers its wintering home. According to the US Fish & Wildlife Services' Aerial Manatee Surveys, as many as 400 of these unique creatures can be found in Citrus County at one time. This typically occurs only during the coldest months of the year.
Manatees can also be viewed in the underwater observatory at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Most of the park's residents are injured animals undergoing rehabilition or unable to return to the wild. The notable exception is Lucifer, an African hippopotamus. When a permanent home could not be found for the retired actor, then-Governor Lawton Chiles created Lucifer an honorary citizen of the state.
Citrus County also has within its territorial boundaries a number of uninhabited and/or sparsely inhabited coastal islands that can be accessed via watercraft. While some of the Citrus County islands are state lands thus available for public use for recreational opportunities, many other Citrus County islands are private property and are either wholly or partially owned by private parties. A number of the interior islands have private vacation homes and cabins situated along the waterfront.
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