“America’s Friendliest Hometown” Through the Years

Just 60 miles northwest of Orlando, Florida, lies a retirement mega-community.

The Villages is marketed as an “active adult community,” allowing retirees to maintain a physical and social lifestyle that caters to their needs as they enter old age.

Most residents get around the Manhattan-sized development exclusively in golf carts.

Villages FL golf arch03.jpg

Golf cart bridge over U.S. 27 (Photo: Ebyabe via Wikipedia)

In March 2014, the Census Bureau named The Villages the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S.

Developer H. Gary Morse switched The Villages from mobile homes to a permanent housing development in the 1980s. He appealed to retirees from northern states by offering “free golf for the rest of your life” and the comfort of a community without children. From there, construction took off and the community expanded rapidly as new retirees clamored to move in.

The Villages is now home to over 100,000 retirees over the age of 55.

A Google Timelapse illustrates the drastic change in the area, from mainly farmland to a sprawling retiree community complete with active town squares, over 2,500 social clubs and almost 50 golf courses.


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