Memories from the Past: Touched by History, Blessed with Natural Beauty
The actual story of Howey-in-the-Hills dates back to the early 1900’s at a time when the Florida citrus industry was in its infancy. In 1916, William J. Howey from Illinois purchased 60,000 acres of prime land in Lake County with the intent of creating the largest horticultural empire in the world. The area and climate were perfect for citrus growth offering rich, sandy soil, excellent drainage and relative protection from frost.
In 1924, the 75-room Hotel Floridan was constructed on the Howey plantation to provide lodging for visiting investors. Within two years, the area was expanding so rapidly that Charles E. Clarke of the famous Troon Golf Course in Scotland was commissioned to construct what is now the El Campeon Golf Course. With the stock market crash of 1929, the ensuing Great Depression, followed by one of the worst freezes in Florida history, Mr. Howey’s citrus empire, with all his dreams, came to an abrupt end.
In 1964, Mr. Nick Beucher of Wilmette, Illinois responded to a Wall Street Journal ad and acquired the Floridan Country Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. The initial years were spent renovating and expanding the1920’s clubhouse, as well as completely restructuring the neglected 18-hole golf course, installing automatic irrigation and planting hundreds of trees.
In 1969, Nick and his family made the decision to develop the property into a captivating, Spanish Colonial golf resort. Nick was inspired by the charming Spanish architecture he discovered after he rode the length of México on horseback in the 1930’s. Thus, Mission Inn Golf and Tennis Resort was created. Over the years, members of Nick’s family joined the business to actively operate and expand the resort.
Today, Mission Inn features a spectacular clubhouse and all the finest amenities that you would expect from a world-class resort of this caliber. The resort’s corporate facilities and services, as well as its golf courses, have earned numerous national awards. Mission Inn’s historic golf course, El Campeon, is consistently ranked in the top 25 of Florida’s 1100 courses. Las Colinas, the newer 19-hole championship course, completed in 1992, was designed by former PGA Tour Player, Gary Koch. Las Colinas was nominated as “Best New Resort Course” by Golf Digest and is a consistent recipient of Golf for Women’s “Top Fairways” honor.
In recent years, Mission Inn has become much more than just an exquisite vacation destination. Mission Campeon, Mission Santa Cruz and Mission Sonoma condominiums and villas were developed to transcend the yearly vacation to an everyday experience. Mission Real Estate, owned and operated by the Nick Beucher family, has continued its fine tradition of quality home building with its community, Las Colinas. Amidst a golfer’s paradise, this regent development gently graces the curves of the Las Colinas golf course, proving that true beauty lies within.