History of Orlando


Wonder how Orlando City has faired more than a century ago before literally being well-known as an amusement park city? Its known history starts to unfold in 1838 during the Seminole Wars.

In 1840, a small community known as Jernigan, after cattleman Aaron Jernigan's family, had grown up and established a settlement in the area. As proof of their existence is a post-office dated May 30, 1850. In 1857, the community, officially changed its name to Orlando, and would then be incorporated as a town in 1875, with 85 inhabitants.

The origin of the city's name remains a mystery up to date. Four versions currently exist. First is Judge James Speer who was rumored to name the city after a man who once worked for him. Another version is that he named it after a character in the play, "As You Like It," a William Shakespeare masterpiece.

history of orlando

A third version includes that of a man named Orlando who is on his way to Tampa with a caravan of ox and eventually got ill, died and was buried in the area. This is when folks would by and describe the place, "There lies Orlando." The last story is the most common and widely believed, about a company of soldiers on duty during the Seminole Wars. Sentinel Orlando Reeves was guarding the camp when a floating log emerged in front of him.

After he warned the camp with a gun shot, he would then be ambushed by arrows from the Indians. His act was considered heroic, and buried him in Lake Eola and giving the name of the town to his honor. Orlando has become famous for its citrus plantation not after the Great Freeze in 1894 to 1895 which destroyed the groves. They would then shift in utilizing the land as lots for different structures. Notable homesteaders in the area were the Curry family and Word family. The former owns a property in east Orlando including a part of the Econlockhatchee River (or Econ river for short) while the latter owns 150 acres of property. Orlando has been a very popular resort destination since the Spanish-American War and the First World War.

1920 marked a large housing boom in the city, with land prices soared, only to end during the Great Depression. World War II has also opened a lot of changes in the city, with Orlando becoming a known air base. Orlando's proximity to Parick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Kennedy Space Center allowed residents to commute to work from the city's suburbs. Many high-tech companies would then shift to the Orlando area. Basically the greatest highlight of Orlando's economy is when Walt Disney built his majestic resort in the area. The Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971 and has started becoming the area's centerpiece of economy and a consistent top vacation destination in the world.