Welcome to the Town of 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 816 acres in size, much of which is Lake Jovita. The most recent population estimate is 1,350.
Named after Pope Saint Leo The Great, Judge Dunne's vision was realized with the formation of two Benedictine communities in 1889, Holy Name Priory and St. Leo Abbey. In 2014, the Benedictine Sisters built a new Monastery that better suits their needs.
In the Benedictine tradition of promoting education, the oldest Catholic College in Florida was formed in 1889. Today it is known as Saint Leo University and is named one of the best regional colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report. The University offers more than forty undergraduate majors and specializations in business administration, education, criminal justice and theology.
St. Leo is also home to many varied businesses. The Abbey Course is a traditional Florida golf course with hills and gently sloping terrain. Tom's Golf Shop is adjacent to the course, as is The Abbey Tavern. The Tavern features daily specials, made-to-order favorites, and quick and easy carry out. On Q Smokehouse Grill has satisfied restaurant and catering customers with traditional barbeque fare and delectable soups for years. A drive-through coffee shop, A Cup of Organic, recently opened within the Town and offers organic muffins and cookies, in addition to coffee and tea drinks. Also located within the Town are two successful automotive repair and maintenance businesses: Tech Force Auto and Larry Hines Automotive. Scott Blackman roofing specializes in tile roofs, and has been in
business for over 20 years. The Pilgrim Gift Shop is operated by the St. Leo Abbey, and is the largest of its kind in the central Florida area.
St. Leo is a small town with a huge history. June 4, 2016, will mark its 125th year. The town's heritage, beauty, and integrity are all sources of pride for its residents. Emphasis on maintaining the town's rural-residential character ensures the continuation of its alluring history.