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History of Mission Inn

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.

Enter… Nick Beucher

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.

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, a full-service spa, three restaurants and 30,000 square feet of group space for meetings, weddings and special events.

Mission Inn Resort Today

In January 2023, MMI HOSPITALITY GROUP a Mississippi-based, Family-Owned and Operated Company of Investors and Operators Adds Another Award-Winning Resort to its Robust Portfolio of Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants, and Dining Facility Outlets Spanning Across the Southeast. MMI Hospitality Group, a private investment partnership focused on service industry businesses engaged with guests across the Southeast, is pleased to share its latest acquisition, Mission Inn Resort & Club, a storied Florida meeting and golf destination resort. With more than 66 years of experience, the extensive MMI leadership team will act as both owner and operator of the expansive resort through their hotel management division, MMI Hotel Group.

Mission Inn Resort & Club, a 500+ acre development boasting 176-hotel rooms, two award-winning golf courses, three restaurants, spa, and more than 30,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event space, is located in Central Florida’s Lake County, just 35 minutes from Orlando in the town of Howey-in-the-Hills. The region is renowned for its world-class golf, picturesque rolling hills, and lakes.

“As a family-owned and operated business, this particular property caught our attention. We’re grateful to have forged this relationship with a like-minded family business that shares many of the same values,” said President and CEO, Micajah Sturdivant. “With the purchase of this cherished resort, we hope to continue the legacy set forth in Lake County by the Beucher family by expanding on the unique attributes of Central Florida.”

Mission Inn Resort & Club, originally presented as the Floridian Country Club, was purchased by Illinois-native Nick Beucher in 1964 from William J. Howey, of whom the town in which the resort resides is named for. Howey, with the vision to create the largest horticultural empire in the world, commissioned a golf course to be built alongside the existing inn to create incentive and encourage growth. The property fell into disrepair until Beucher, seeing an ad in the Wall Street Journal, purchased the club. Multiple generations of the Beucher family would see the resort through several expansions and renovations throughout the last five decades and were still actively involved in management upon acquisition.

The resort joins an impressive portfolio of properties at MMI Hospitality Group that are both managed and operated by MMI Hotel Group, including The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

“We make a point to immerse ourselves in the communities in which we hold investments,” continued Sturdivant. “We are always focused on the long term and respect the legacy of those that have come before us. We see longstanding brand equity and great economic opportunity ahead in Lake County, and we look forward to growing and evolving with it.”

Founded in 1956, MMI Hospitality Group has owned countless hotels through development and acquisition. Today, the company seeks long-term yield with value for growth and a people-first mentality.

Plans are already underway for phased property enhancements at the resort that will begin in early 2023.

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(352) 324-3101

(800) 874-9053 (toll free)

10400 County Road 48

Howey-in-the-Hills, FL, USA 34737

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