The History of Black Diamond
The story of Black Diamond, one of the premier private golf club communities in the U.S., begins with the vision of its developer, Stan Olsen. In the early 1980s, Olsen discovered the natural beauty of Citrus County on central Florida’s Gulf Coast. A man of adventure and traditional values, he was attracted to this relatively unknown region of Florida by its dramatic rolling terrain, unspoiled beaches and crystal clear springs and rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Olsen was also pleased to learn that nearly half of Citrus County is set aside in state or federal land preserves, ensuring that its wonderful habitat will remain intact, thereby protecting its plentiful wildlife, which includes West Indian manatees, black bears, panthers, bobcats, cougars, alligators, tortoises, otters, deer, bald eagles and countless rare birds.
Blessed with rolling sand hills of up to 150 feet, an abundance of oaks and tropical vegetation, and a sunny, temperate climate, Citrus County is an ideal area for year-round golf and a wide array of other fun-filled activities. Unlike the rest of Florida, Citrus County’s Gulf Coast isn’t lined with condominiums and resorts. Whether it’s with family or friends, there are countless fishing opportunities, including world-class sport-fishing around the mouths of the many river inlets and the Gulf of Mexico. Many species of wildlife are also plentiful on Florida’s Nature Coast. Kayaking and canoeing are popular pastimes on the area’s seven spring-fed rivers. Snorkeling and scuba-diving with friendly manatees in the Crystal and Homosassa Rivers are also great fun.
“In addition,” notes Olsen, “there’s a vitality in the people who live here – hard-working, but fun-loving people who have come from many different places. It’s a rich but dynamic culture that is truly American in nature – like something you would see in a Norman Rockwell painting. People are sensitive to the environment. There aren’t any high-rise condominiums – just quality villages and towns, and historic Native American sites. The spirit of old Florida and Southern hospitality are alive and well here.”
Olsen was fascinated by the history, unique culture and abundant natural treasures of Florida’s Nature Coast, but it was the expansive sand hills that turned his attention to the development of the 1,320-acre property near the quaint little town of Lecanto that is now Black Diamond. The ranch was first settled by John Newell, an Ohio landowner, in the early 1930's, and in the 1940's the property was purchased by John Taylor, Jr., a citrus packing magnate from Largo, Florida. Impressed by the natural attributes of the land, Taylor named it Black Diamond Ranch after a premium grapefruit of the same name. Enter Stan Olsen in 1984, who after a thorough search of Citrus County, bought the property – and the rest is history.