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Tavares (pronounced tuh-vair-ees) is a city in the central portion of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Lake County. The population in 2015 was 14,583, with a total of 5,000 households and an average household income of $40,000. It is part of the OrlandoKissimmeeSanford Metropolitan Statistical Area. The name is a popular Portuguese surname and toponym.
The city was founded in 1880 by Alexander St. Clair-Abrams, a newspaper and railroad man from a Creole family in New Orleans. He gave it the surname of a Portuguese ancestor. In 1883 a post office was established; by the next year, a hotel, three stores, a sawmill, and eight cottages were built. St. Clair-Abrams's dream of Tavares as the state capital was not realized, but in 1887 it was designated the county seat of Lake County. St. Clair-Abrams later chartered a railroad from Tavares to Orlando. In 1919, Tavares incorporated as a town.
Tavares is at 28486N 81441W / 28.80167N 81.73361W / 28.80167; -81.73361 (28.801670, -81.733548). According to the United States Census Bureau, it has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19km2); of this, 7.1 square miles (18km2) (95.16%) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0km2) (4.84%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,700 people, 4,471 households, and 2,821 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,368.3 inhabitants per square mile (528.2/km2). There were 5,475 housing units at an average density of 772.3 per square mile (298.2/km2). The city's racial makeup was 88.98% White, 7.70% African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.04% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.46% of the population.
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