In a moving presentation at the August 27th Clermont City Council, Chuck Forth described his family’s history in Clermont, his father’s service to our country during World War II and Ray Goodgame’s love of the city’s Historic Village. He then donated a number of items including his father’s Good Conduct medal, flying wings, unit patch, formal military photograph and much more to the Historical Society. In so doing, he urged fellow longtime residents of Clermont (both Chuck & his father, Charles W. Forth, were born and raised here) to do the same.
Like so many World War II veterans, Mr. Forth did not consider himself to be a hero. He felt the true heroes were the ones who never made it home. In fact, when awarded the Purple Heart, he refused it for that very reason. Ray Goodgame’s final project with the Historical Society was to try to start a special collection of Purple Hearts to be displayed in the Historic Village’s Quonset Hut. Chuck Forth and his wife, Charlene, are hoping that their donation will not only inspire more donations, but especially of any Purple Hearts that are in the area.
During World War II several Quonset huts were built by the Army in Clermont. One is still standing on West Avenue and is a commercial structure. Another in the Historic Village has been converted into a museum dedicated to the war. All items on display are donations and show many sides of the war effort from the European front, to the Pacific front, to the home front.
The Historic Village is also home to two homes that were built in the late 1800’s, the town’s first library, an early train depot and two replicas. The Village is open every Friday from 1:00 to 3:00 PM and every Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Admission to the Village is always free but a donation of $3.00 per visitor is requested.
If you are interested in history in general or the history of Lake County in particular, contact the South Lake County Historical Society by going to our website, ClermontVillage.org; by calling our manager, Roxanne Brown, at 352-432-3496 or by attending our membership meetings which are held on the second Monday of every month at 7:00 PM in the Train Depot in the Historic Village. Our next meeting is September 9th.