Mission Inn and its Shared History with Orlando in Central Florida
Orlando and Mission Inn golf resort have been through a lot together. Successes, failures, a boom, a crash, a boom again, a World War, the Great Depression. Mission Inn and its shared history with Orlando in Central Florida has always been tied intrinsically — riding the wave that is life in Florida.
Ah, the rip-roaring 20s. America at one of its finest times. World War I was over, the economy was booming, the American dream was within everybody’s grasp. Times weren’t good — they were flat-out amazing. Everyone had money to spend, or invest, and all eyes landed on one state.
Florida. The fabled American paradise, ripe with opportunity.
The 20s marked Florida’s Boom. The masses rushed on the state, industries took off, and land development in Florida reached peak levels. Miami was the center of it all, with massive amounts of industry exploding in the state’s biggest city. Farther north, in Central Florida, the boom was also felt particularly in a small resort city called Orlando.
William John Howey
William Howey was early on the Boom, arriving near Orlando, in what would become Howey-in-the-Hills, in 1916. Like the coming opportunity seekers of the time, Howey was after land. Unlike the rest of his contemporaries, however, he didn’t want to develop housing. He wanted to build an empire. A citrus empire.
Before the Boom, Orlando had already become somewhat known as a vacation city. To capitalize on this, in 1917 Howey decided to develop a golf course. He hoped to attract visitors who would turn into citrus investors. That course still exists today; it’s the award winning Florida golf course, El Campeón.
The Boom arrived, land prices soared, America’s masses rushed to the Sunshine State, Orlando expanded, El Campeón was enhanced. For those blissful years, Florida became America’s sweetheart. Then…
Enter America’s heartache, the Great Depression. That, paired with disastrous freezing, hurricanes, and (as a cherry on top) the Stock Market Crash, ruined Florida and, with it, William Howey. His citrus crops froze, his booming middle-class golfers went belly-up, and just like that, his run at a citrus empire was over.
Orlando didn’t get away unscathed by any measure, but in comparison to the rest of Florida, the city held out well. By 1944, Orlando had fully recovered was on the incline towards becoming the bustling city it is today.
In 1964, businessman Nick Beucher came across a golf course and clubhouse desperately in need of repairs. That course hadn’t seen prosperous times since the 1920s. He bought the course, known as the Floridan Country Club at the time, and spent the following 5 years restoring it.
Inspired by a trip on horseback across Mexico in his youth, Beucher set his sights on designing a resort in the Spanish Colonial architectural style of Mexico of which he had grown very fond. This new design, which began development in 1969, marked the beginning of the Mission Inn Resort & Club that exists today.
Disney World and Golf
The timing of Mission Inn’s development could not have been more perfect. The ’70s marked the beginning of a sharp rise in Orlando’s tourism industry. In 1971, Walt Disney World began its development.
This spurred a construction boom in Orlando that ramped up the city’s growth significantly. Apartment buildings, shopping districts, tourist attractions, Sea World of Florida in 1973, the Epcot Center in 1982, Orlando quickly became a tourism capital, and that was even before Disney World even opened its gates.
And all the while, Mission Inn kept developing and improving, added its second golf course, Las Colinas, fresh-water fishing, full-service spa, 4 onsite restaurants, and far more. As Orlando became the tourism capital of the South, Mission Inn became the quintessential Florida golf escape that satisfied the dream of the 20s — luxury and golfing in the Floridian countryside.
Then, in 1989, Disney World opened, and the rest was history. Orlando, once a little resort city plugging along through the ups and downs of the 19th and early 20th century, became one of the most visited cities in the world.
Orlando and Mission Inn golf resort have been throught it all together. And Mission Inn, there since the beginning, has become Orlando’s, and Central Florida’s, perfect golf resort getaway.