History of Howey-in-the-Hills
Generations of hospitality at one of the earliest golf courses in Florida.
Nearly 50 years ago, Mission Inn Resort & Club was nothing more than a vision and dream in the mind of Nick Beucher, a mid-western businessman with a sense of adventure. In 1964, he purchased what was then known as the Floridan Country Club. But, for the full story, we need to travel back in time nearly 100 years when citrus groves covered Central Florida and cowboys roamed Mexico.
Early History of Howey-in-the-Hills
The resort traces its history back to 1916, when William J. Howey purchased 60,000 acres of real estate in Central Florida, with the intent of creating the largest horticultural empire in the world. With an ideal climate and rich soil, Howey envisioned investors buying acreage from him and then contracting with his company to clear the land, plant citrus trees, harvest and ship the fruit. Howey would then return the profits to the owners.
In order to boost sales and create incentive for additional growth, Howey set out to build a golf course to complement his inn. In 1917, Chicago's George O'Neil was hired to design the course and soon after the Florida Chain-o-Lakes Country Club opened. Boasting rare tee to green elevations of 85 feet, towering forests, and sparkling spring-fed lakes the course was widely acclaimed as Florida's finest.
In the mid 1920's the course was enhanced. However, soon after the stock market crashed, the Great Depression ensued, and one of the worst freezes in Florida history combined to end Howey's dreams of a citrus empire.
Meanwhile in 1936, Illinois native Nick Beucher began his sales career with the Morton Salt Company in Chicago's western suburbs. Beucher was named top salesman of the year four years running, but his career was interrupted when he broke his leg in a local rodeo. After recuperating, he decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of riding across Mexico on horseback. In 1939, at the age of 21, Nick and a friend saddled up and spent 39 days riding nearly 1,400 miles.
Twenty five years later, Beucher was a husband, father, and successful businessman buying and selling cattle by-products, including meat and hides. In 1964, he saw an ad in the Wall Street Journal and bought what was then known as the Floridan Country Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. Both the course and clubhouse were badly neglected and in need of repairs.
Mission Inn Resort Today
In 1969, after renovating the golf course and clubhouse, Beucher turned his sights toward creating a new resort. He drew upon his time in Mexico and was inspired to create the resort in the image of the Spanish Colonial architecture he saw and of which he was so fond.
Through the years, the resort has expanded to include a second golf course, fresh-water fishing, full-service spa, three restaurants and 30,000 square feet of group space for meetings, weddings and special events.
Beucher's family joined the business, and today his children and grandchildren own the resort, greeting guests to welcome them to their home away from home. The Mission Inn Resort & Club is a direct reflection of the vision and tireless effort of the Beucher family and the resort's dedicated employees.
The Beucher and Mission Inn families invite your family to join them for a memorable experience.