The old Lake County Courthouse in Tavares

Alexander St. Clair-Abrams, a newspaper and railroad magnate, founded Tavares in 1880. When registering the town survey, he named the place for one of his Portuguese ancestors. He put in a lot of effort and money to move the state capitol from Tallahassee to Tavares (primarily because of Tavares' location in the center of the state) but didn't succeed. Tavares is now a booming retirement-oriented suburb in the Orlando-Kissimmee Metroplitan Area.

The population of Tavares rose almost 44% between 2000 and 2010.