The history around Lake Lucerne dates back to the days before Orlando was called Orlando. One of the area’s early pioneers, James P. Hughey, moved here from Georgia in 1855. Mr. Hughey settled onto 160 acres west of Lake Lucerne after arriving here in a covered wagon with oxen in tow. Historian Eve Bacon described the surroundings upon his arrival, “He found a small steam of clear water running into the lake coming from under a larger oak tree.”
Mr. Hughey built a log cabin in the area that is likely covered with I-4 and the 408 today. There he lived for 20 years. His home was open to many travelers. And his acreage was used to grow cotton fields and orange groves.
Lake Lucerne has continued to play a significant role in Orlando’s landscape for over 15o years. Later in the 1880’s it was the site of the Lucerne Hotel, and then the Dr. Phillips home. Today, the northern part lies under the 408 andOrange Avenue runs rights across it. It’s an understatement to say the view from the shores of Lake Lucerne are quite different from Mr. Hughey’s days.
Orlando, A Centennial History, Eve Bacon 1975
My Great Great Grandfather was JP Hughey. He lived in the log cabin for 20 years and then built two more homes in the vicinity of the log cabin. He was a mail carrier during the Civil War years and later would serve as Orange County’s Clerk of Court for approximately 16 years. He was also a conservationist since he tried to preserve the area’s gopher tortoises. He also built the areas first drainage canal which took water from the area around Lake Lucerne to Lake Minnie (Cherokee).