The town, known as Panasoffkee, or “Valley of Water”
in the Indian Language, was settled around 1880. It
was known as the largest fruit center in the world. In
addition to citrus, sugar cane mills dotted the edge
of the lake. Barrels of sugar and syrup were shipped
north, along with the oranges.
Panasoffkee became an important turpentine
and lumber center during the latter part of the
19th century. Several general stores, three hotels,
a drug store, meat market, two active churches,
a saloon, and a school came into existence.
Winter tourists continued to come for the
excellent hunting and fishing.
In 1998, the state Legislature created the Lake
Panasoffkee Restoration Council to develop a
restoration plan for the lake. The 10-year project
restored Lake Panasoffkee’s historic fish bedding
areas and the historic lake shoreline, and
improved navigation. Lake Panasoffkee is one
of the Southwest Florida Water Management
District’s SWIM Program priority water bodies and
is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water by the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Recreation opportunities include bicycling, bird
watching, boating and paddling, camping, equestrian
use, fishing, hiking, hunting and a pavilion with
picnic tables and grills.
For more information contact: Land Resources
Department, Southwest Florida Water
Management District at
(800) 423-1476 or
(352) 796-7211, ext. 4470
2015 Visitor Guide & Business Directorywww.SumterChamber.org