Welcome to St. Leo
In 1881, Judge Edmund Dunne began a foot-by-foot search of Florida for the perfect place to establish a Catholic Colony. Homesteaders with descendants still residing today in Pasco County were here to welcome him. On the southern shores of Lake Jovita, among rolling hills and forest, he settled on the grounds of what is now Saint Leo Abbey.
Ten years later on June 4th, 1891, St Leo became a Town, making it the oldest incorporated municipality in Pasco County. It is located in eastern Pasco County along SR 52 between San Antonio and Dade City. The town is approximately 990.5 acres in size, with sixteen percent of it comprised of water; Lake Jovita and Finger Bowl Lake.
Named after Pope Saint Leo The Great, Judge Dunne's vision was realized with the formation of two Benedictine communities, Holy Name Priory, 1889 and St. Leo Abbey in 1902. In the Benedictine tradition of promoting education, the oldest Catholic College in Florida was formed. Today it is known as Saint Leo University, named one of the best regional colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report, offering more than forty undergraduate majors and specializations in business administration, education, criminal justice and theology.
Rated as one of the top one hundred places in Florida to live, a portion of the Lake Jovita Subdivision community also calls the Town of St. Leo home and plays its part in history as well. The first Lake Jovita Golf course opened to great acclaim in the spring of 1926. A victim to the Great Depression, it closed in the early 1930's. Today, it has two spectacular golf courses designed by PGA Tour great, Tom Lehman, and award winning course architects, Kurt and Steve Sandness. In addition to the golf courses at Lake Jovita, The Abbey Course is a traditional Florida course with hills and gently sloping terrain.
St. Leo is a small town with a huge history. June 4, 2011 marked its 120th year. The town's heritage, beauty, and integrity are all sources of pride for its 1419 residents. Emphasis on maintaining the town's rural-residential character ensures the continuation of its alluring history.