History

Pictured above are the last surviving residents called Pioneers, who were part of the Community when asked to contribute between $8,000 and $10,000 in order to purchase Hawthorne. In back row l-r, Dan Gorden (former General Manager), Bill Mertz (deceased), Maxine Karsner, Helen Burt, Lenora Snyder, Bob Child, Clinton Bartley, Robert Artman, Doris Edson, Evelyn Matthes, Loucille Everhart and Mary Miller. Front row l-r, Doris Smallwood, Betty McKenna, Mary Patricia, Alicia Lysakowski, Midge Bushnell, Rachel Lesser.
Pictured above are the last surviving residents called Pioneers, who were part of the Community when asked to contribute between $8,000 and $10,000 in order to purchase Hawthorne. In back row l-r, Dan Gorden (former General Manager), Bill Mertz (deceased), Maxine Karsner, Helen Burt, Lenora Snyder, Bob Child, Clinton Bartley, Robert Artman, Doris Edson, Evelyn Matthes, Loucille Everhart and Mary Miller. Front row l-r, Doris Smallwood, Betty McKenna, Mary Patricia, Alicia Lysakowski, Midge Bushnell, Rachel Lesser.

Hawthorne at Leesburg was built in 1972 by Colonial Penn Insurance Company. The community’s design was based on cooperative dialogue between Colonial Penn, the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. Many of the proposals set forth in the 1970s remain as the foundation of the community’s success today.

The 300-acre property welcomed its first residents in 1973. These early years were filled with new programs and positive growth. It was an exciting time as residents made new social connections, became involved in the community’s extensive activity programs and lived the Floridian lifestyle.

In 1981, Colonial Penn endured a substantial financial downturn and decided to sell the Hawthorne community. Residents learned that a prospective buyer planned to turn the development into condo-style living, eliminating many of the services and programs they presently enjoyed. Residents became determined not to lose the value in their property and a lifestyle they had come to love.

Transition Committee

A transition committee consisting of Hawthorne residents was formed to come up with a solution to the problem. They raised funds and filed a class-action lawsuit against the owner and intended buyer — which they won in 1982.

The residents moved forward, forming a Residents Cooperative and made an offer to Colonial Penn to purchase the property themselves. Their $9.3 million dollar offer, in 1982 dollars, was accepted, and in 1983 the residents took over operations. Hawthorne is now a resident-owned, debt-free community having a substantial cash surplus with a current value of over $22 million dollars.

Enjoying Independence

Our approximately 2,000 residents enjoy the wonderful independence that comes with being part of a resident-owned community. An elected nine-member board of directors governs the community’s needs and a general manager oversees 56 full-time employees in addressing day-to-day operations. Over forty years of success speaks volumes as to Hawthorne’s ability to meet the needs of retirees.

We, the residents of Hawthorne at Leesburg, are proud of the fact we own our community. We earned it through determination and a monumental effort to raise the funds required to purchase the community. We consider it to be one of the finest resident-owned communities in the State of Florida. We feel that we have set the bar high for others communities to attain what we have attained throughout our storied history.

Hawthorne’s Logo

Back in the early 1970’s, Colonial Penn Communities established Hawthorne as an outstanding community for retired persons.  The Leesburg agency of Wendell Husebo was engaged to handle the community’s public relations.  Their task was to create an appealing name for the community, its streets and a logo design that would represent Hawthorne’s central Florida location.

Many sessions were held to review tentative drawings.  A major objective of the design was to strive for simplicity.  At first, only two designs gathered popular support, but a brainstorming session produced a third design which all agreed tied the desired aspects into an acceptable image.

The logo needed to express Florida’s natural warmth in nature and in its people.  Thus, a round yellow circle representing warmth and sunshine was used as the center portion of the logo.  A stylish “H” was selected to represent Hawthorne and its beauty.  Topping both the sun and the “H” is the unusual copper roof shape of the public buildings in the community.  This strong architectural completes the logo design.

The eye catching logo is seen everywhere in the community.  You will see it at our entrance, on street signs, badges, on your bulletin clips, on official vehicles an on all community correspondence.  The Hawthorne logo has been used to represent the community for 40 years.

Welcome to Hawthorne!