Ocala Florida History
Today we celebrate Florida's 67 counties and how they got their names, and today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Ocala, Florida, the third largest city in the country.
Beautiful Silver Springs State Park is one of the oldest tourist attractions dating back to the Civil War. The fort was built in the 1820s in what is now Ocala and later served as Marion County's first courthouse in 1844. During the Second Seminole War it was an important base and was protected against the Seminoles "incursions.
Before the US Army built Fort King in Ocala, the area was inhabited by Seminole Indians. The US Army had built it in an area long occupied by the Seminoles before white settlers moved into the region.
In addition to fresh produce, the citrus industry flourished and the city was home to one of the largest citrus farms in the United States at the time. Other routes came to Ocala in 1882, when Florida Southern Railroad (which became part of the Plant Railroad System around 1885) ran from Ocala via Rochelle to Palatka and Gainesville. At that time, four railroad lines entered the cities, which designated the Gainesville - O Cala line as Florida's Orange Belt route.
Fortunately, the region's diversified economy helped local businessmen perform better than the more southern Florida counties that benefited from the decline of citrus industry in the mid-twentieth century. Marion County's annual revenue is growing and ranks among the top 5 locations worldwide that specialize in tourism, business development, tourism management and tourism marketing. The Marion County Chamber of Commerce continues to promote itself as one of Florida's top tourist destinations with more than 1,000 hotels, restaurants, retail stores, hotels and restaurants. Top parks include Marion-O'Hare International Airport and Florida State Park.
The Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology is a research and teaching facility located in the heart of Marion, Florida, just a few miles from Florida State Park. The park features a museum with artifacts found on the site, a visitor center, museum exhibitions and a collection of historical artifacts.
The region was called Ocale (Ocali) in the late 18th century, when the Seminole, a group of Native Americans from the western part of the state, sought refuge in Florida. They founded the Moultrie Creek Treaty, which moved them to the largest reservation in central Florida in the 18th century.
The George Giles Cotton Gin had been downtown at least since 1906, and West Ocala became the site of the Sanborn Map Company, which mapped the western part of Florida, from the Florida River to the Gulf of Mexico. After the Tropical Florida Railroad Company built a line south of Wildwood in 1877, Oakland was at the end of that line. In order to establish it as a county seat, a new road was needed to connect it with the remote settlements. The city of O Cala conducted an expanded survey in 2000, the first of its kind in the state among all Florida counties.
Black residents of Ocala played an active role in politics in the 1880s and 1890s. The lack of coverage in Florida newspapers of the massacre showed that deep-seated racial issues and their implications were deeply felt. Numerous files were destroyed, including newspaper files with the names and addresses of many prominent African Americans, as well as photos and other documents.
At the end of the Reconstruction period in 1879, Marion County sent seven black representatives to the Florida House, including the first black representative in the US House of Representatives, Reverend William E. Brown. At that time Florida was re-elected and not appointed sheriff, and M.A. Clouts was appointed sheriff in 1868. In 1880, Anson B. Crutchfield, a Democrat from Ocala, was elected the state's first African-American representative.
One of the horses, Gornil, won the Florida Derby, becoming the first Florida-bred thoroughbred to win a Florida race. This tornado is considered by far the most powerful tornado in central Florida history and is also the second most destructive tornado of its kind in the state's history. The tornado was also responsible for the deaths of two people and the destruction of several buildings in Ocala. It was one of the strongest in Florida's history, but is considered by some to be the most devastating in Marion County.
Nearly 30 tornadoes raged in Florida during that period, with a very local outbreak developing in Ocala, Okeechobee, Palm Beach County and parts of Broward and Palm Bay counties.
Marion County wasn't as bad as North and West Florida, but it still had its share of trouble. On March 14, 1844, the Governor of the State, R.K. Call, signed the law establishing Marion County in the territory of Florida. The county's name comes from Marion County, the second largest city in Florida and the state's capital, and its first county town, Marion, was authorized by the Florida Legislature in 1843.