You will find pineapple on our signs. Some vacation rentals in The Villages have adopted the symbols a subtle hopeful suggestion instead of signage.

The Pineapple, a symbol of hospitality

The pineapple has been a symbol of hospitality since the days of the early American colonies. The legend began with the sea captains of New England, who sailed among the Caribbean Islands and returned to the colonies bearing their cargo of fruits, spices and rum.
According to the legend, the captain would spear a pineapple on a fence post outside his home to let his friends know of his safe return from sea. The pineapple was an invitation for them to visit, share his food and drink, and listen to tales of his voyage.
As the tradition grew, colonial innkeepers added the pineapple to their signs and advertisements, and bedposts carved in the shape of a pineapple were a common sight at inns across New England.
The legend has continued to the present, and frequently one sees the pineapple symbol in hotels and restaurants to signal the presence of hospitality.

Story about Harold Schwartz, founder of The Villages, family history, Gary Morse and a link to pictures of his yacht based near Tampa.

A little Villages’ History:

Mary Louise (“Mema”) Brown-Schwartz was divorced from the founder, Harold S. Schwartz and she moved back from Chicago IL. to Central Lake, MI (where she was raised) about 1944 with her two children, Harold Gary Schwartz and Mary Louise Schwartz. She later married Clifford H. Morse there and started Brownwood Farms about 1945. Because the war was still going on, she didn’t want the Schwartz name of her children to be an anti-semetic target in case the Nazis invaded the US. Clifford adopted the children and their names were legally changed to his (Morse). Son, H. Gary (his Mom preferred to use his middle name) later operated the Farmhouse Restaurant there with his Mom and wife, Sharon. Gary’s sister, Mary Louise (“Mar”) married David S. Detar and continued to run Brownwood Farms with her son, Stephan Detar. She still lives in Central Lake and Gary visits her often.

Founder, Harold Schwartz later married Bernice Newman (about 1946) and had three other children, one of which is Richard A. Schwartz (who lived in “Eden Prairie”, MN. for a while), Gary’s half brother, who now lives in the area but no longer is involved with the golf operations of the corporation. Harold went around the country buying up radio stations until he got to Wildwood, FL. and found Orange Blossom Gardens. He bought and sold land plots in Florida and New Mexico and even owned a hotel in Miami, FL. at one time.

About 1983 after buying out his OBG partner, Albert J. Tarrson, Harold asked his son Gary to come down and manage the business and help develop the growing retirement community. Gary, Sharon and their three children moved to Paradise Drive. Harold returned to Chicago for two years then came back to live on Aloha Way about 1985. Together, Harold and Gary had a bright vision for a retirement place they eventually named The Villages. By the time Harold died (just before Chrismas, 2003), he was 93 years old, had 5 children, 16 grandchildren (Mark Gary, Jennifer Louise and Tracy Lee among them), 28 greatgrandchildren and shook thousands of hands on the Town Square.

H. Gary Morse, who lost his wife Sharon to cancer just before New Years in 1999, is now 74 years old and loves to spend time on his 143 ft. yacht named “Cracker Bay” with his second wife, Renee.

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