HOPS. Four initials which mean so much. Prior to 1980, Ocala had very little historic preservation activity. Ocala lacked an organization with a community-wide interest in historic preservation until the Historic Preservation Society, HOPS, was founded. In 1980, the City of Ocala proposed widening SE Wenona Avenue, connecting it with NE 8th Avenue and continuing it to SE 17th Street. Many buildings and homes that embody the history of Ocala during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were threatened. In response to the proposed widening, a group of concerned residents of the neighborhood, known as the Wenona Association, banded together to stop this intrusion. Other citizens, and the Ocala Women’s Club, also opposed the plan. Following a petition drive and public hearing, the group defeated the city proposal. It was the first achievement of HOPS, but not the last.
Since 1980, HOPS has worked to preserve, educate, celebrate, and conserve the history of Ocala and Marion County for present and future generations. We advocate for the preservation of Ocala and Marion County’s history by providing educational resources, working with community partners, contributing to beautification initiatives, and assisting property owners. For over 40 years HOPS has contributed to preservation through various programs and projects funded primarily by proceeds from HOPS tours and donations by citizens.