several years Lue and Mr. Dumville planted orange
trees and other fruits. In December of 1894 and
February of 1895, Florida suffered the worst freezes
in recorded history. Ninety-five percent of the
citrus groves in Florida were lost, including
Lue's grove. Mr. Dumville died about this time,
also, and his wife returned permanently to North
Adams. Lue continued his work alone. Mother Fannie,
as Lue called her, returned regularly to the North
but she always watched over Lue until she died
in 1903. Fannie and her sister left Lue the property
in DeLand and $10,000 but, still, her death devastated
him for now he had no one to take care of him.
only companions now were a rooster and his two
horses, "Baby" and "Fannie."
He broke his hip in an accident and walked with
a crutch for the remainder of his life. Nevertheless,
he spent all his time experimenting and developing
1911, as one of his outstanding accomplishments,
he cross-pollinated a "Hart's Late"
with a "Mediterranean Sweet" and produced
a new orange, the "Lue Gim Gong" which
ripened in early fall and was more resistant to
cold. It was propagated by Mr. George Tabor of
the Glen St. Mary's Nursery. As a result the nursery
received a Silver Wilder Medal from the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, the first time such an award was
made for citrus.
also developed a grapefruit that grew singly on
the branch rather than in a clump, an aromatic
grapefruit that had little juice but smelled wonderful.
He also propagated roses and other flowers and
fruits. He claimed to have a cure for skin cancer.
was not adept at business and friends had to pay
his taxes to keep him from losing his property.
He was a devout Christian, however, and many people
attended the prayer services he held on Sundays
in a little gazebo behind his home.
Gim Gong died in 1925
and was buried in Oakdale Cemetery. The people
of DeLand who knew of his work and were so impressed
by it planned to erect a bust in his memory but
the depression began and the project was forgotten.
It has taken seventy-four years to fittingly honor
Lue, "The Citrus Wizard."
lived by a proverb we all should adopt:
ONE SHOULD LIVE IN THIS WORLD FOR HIMSELF ALONE,
BUT TO DO GOOD FOR THOSE WHO COME AFTER HIM."
Volusia Historical Society, Inc.
A. DeLand House Museum
Robert M. Conrad
Educational Research Center
Lue Gim Gong Memorial Garden
W. Michigan Avenue
DeLand, Florida 32720
Phone or Fax: 386/740-6813
Docent led tours.
12 noon till 3:00 p.m.
Last tour begins at 3:00 p.m.
Group tours by appointment
Conrad Educational & Research Center Building
Tuesday Through Saturday
12 noon till 4:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday