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 816 acres in size, much of which is Lake Jovita.
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. The Benedictine Sisters are in the process of building a new, custom Monastery that will better suit 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’s seafood chowder (offered on weekends) is reputed to be the best in the area. On Q Smokehouse Grill has satisfied restaurant and catering customers with traditional barbeque fare for years. A drive-through coffee shop, A Cup of Organic, recently opened within the Town and offers fresh organic muffins and cookies, in addition to coffee and tea drinks. The Lake Jovita Farmer's Market offers fresh fruit and vegetables from local sources (when in-season and available). Also located within the Town are two successful automotive repair and maintenance businesses: Tech Force Auto
and Viking 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, is the largest of its kind in the central Florida area.
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 residents. Emphasis on maintaining the town's rural-residential character ensures the continuation of its alluring history.