History of Orlando, Florida

If history is your passion, then visiting Orlando, Florida will be a special treat. Orlando with the fourth largest city in Florida and the state’s largest city that is not on a coast. Orlando is one of the most visited tourist destinations because of its many attractions including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando resort, but this is not all that Orlando has to offer. Orlando is home to several major historic districts where you can experience various eras of Orlando’s history almost as if it is a time capsule.

Early History

When the first European settlers arrived in 1536, they found the area sparsely populated by the Seminole tribe. Tensions built between settlers and the local Native Americans until Fort Gatlin was built on a highly defensible position. In 1835 a war broke out that lasted until 1842. The first settlers began to arrive in number around 1837 and built their community around the Fort.

Orlando is Born

In 1845 Mosquito County changed his name to Orange County and the city that would eventually be named Orlando was made the county seat. There are several different stories about how Orlando got its name, but the most popular centers around a man named Orlando Reeves who was a soldier on sentinel duty when a band of Seminole attacked the party. The story goes that

Looking north along Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando

Orlando fired his rifle and saved the others from peril, but in the process died of an arrow wound himself. The first Post Office in Orlando was established in 1850, but the town was not officially named until 1857.

Orange Boom

One of the reasons why the Orlando area was so attractive is due to its mild climate and fertile land. By the 1880s a citrus industry was well-established in the area. In 1881 the first rail lines came to the area, allowing the highly desirable produce to be shipped to other areas. The city was a flourishing and industrious city with office buildings, churches, packing plants, hotels, and thriving schools. It was during this time that northern tourists began to flock to the area as an escape from the cold. In 1894 a three day freeze destroyed the entire orange crop and it took 15 years for the city to fully recover. However, between 1910 and 1920 the population of Orlando doubled and the city was once again a symbol of prosperity.

Modern Era

In 1968 Florida Technical University, now the University of Central Florida, was established. This boom of prosperity continued through 1971 when a new construction boom would bring Orlando’s most iconic tourist attractions and business to the Orlando area. In 1973, Sea World would open for the first time. The year 1982 would bring the Epcot Center, and Disney-MGM studios would open in 1989.

Business Growth

Orlando has some of the nations busiest business’s such as the Chick-Fil-A on E Colonial Dr, say http://marketing24x7.com/ a leading Orlando Seo agency. With the heavy population of the thousands of students of University of Central Florida and popular nearby cities makes Orlando a great place to start a business. If you need a boost online check out an Orlando seo company.

Historic Sites Not to Miss

The many different eras of Orlando’s history are captured in a number of historic districts and historic sites scattered throughout city and surrounding area. Here are a few of the ones that you should be sure not to miss while you are here.

  • Lake Eola Heights Historic District
  • Harry P. Leu Gardens
  • Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens (The Polasek)
  • William H. Waterhouse House
  • Fort Christmans Historical Park
  • Downtown Historic District

Visiting the Epcot Center, and Disney’s many attractions is certainly a good reason to visit the Orlando area, but if you do not take some time to take in the area’s history and examples of historic architecture, then you have missed something that will make the trip truly enjoyable. Orlando has much more to offer than theme parks.


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