During the Great Depression, citrus became the leading industry in Lake County.
In 1949 the Groveland Four, Ernest Thomas, Charles Greenlee, Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin, were wrongly convicted of rape. The convictions were eventually overturned by the U. S. Supreme Court in a case argued by NAACP special counsel Thurgood Marshall. However, Ernest Thomas had already been killed by a posse. Samuel Shepard and Walter Irvin were shot by Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall while being transferred, in handcuffs, to the Lake County jail. The descendants of the Groveland Four petitioned Florida governor Rick Scott in 2012 for an apology from the State of Florida, citing new evidence from an FBI file on the case that no rape ever occurred. The 2012 book Devil in the Grove documents this episode.
American heavy metal guitarist Randy Rhoads was killed in a plane crash in Leesburg on Friday March 19, 1982. Rhoads had played in the then nascent Ozzy Osbourne solo band following his tenure in Quiet Riot.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,157 square miles (3,000 km2), of which 938 square miles (2,430 km2) is land and 219 square miles (570 km2) (18.9%) is water.
Sugarloaf Mountain is the highest point in peninsular Florida, at 312 feet (95 m) above sea level.
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Updated: 23rd August, 2019 11:42 AM.