Orange County, Florida

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Short History of Orange County, FL.

Created December 29, 1824 as Mosquito County, Orange County is located in the central highlands section of Florida with many lakes and ponds within its boundaries, its county seat is Orlando. In 1845 the name was changed to Orange for the citrus that thrived in the area and comprised its main source of income.

Prior to the Spanish Occupation of Florida, Timucuan Indians populated the area. The natives lived in communities which they supported with fishing, raising corn and beans, hunted turkey and deer. By the mid to late 1500's the Timucuan Population had died out due to the ravages of diseases brought by the Spanish. Having no natural immunities to the common cold, influenza, measles, mumps, chicken pox. small pox, typhoid, gonorrhea and syphilis proved fatal.

In the 1700's other tribe began migrating south into Florida, mainly Creek and Muskogee. The migrators were referred to as sem-in-oli by their Muskogee brothers which roughly translates as 'wild' or 'renegade'. The Sem-in-oli as they were called welcomed runaway slaves into their fold as well as escapees from the 'Trail of Tears'. The early 1800's and the formation of military outposts at Ft. Gatlin, Ft Christmas and Ft. Maitland and the resulting communities that sprang up around then helped to fuel the "Seminole Wars" of the early to mid 1800's.

In the 1840 US Census the population was 0 (zero), the only known inhabitants those stationed at the military outposts. By 1850 the population was recorded as totaling a whopping 466. now that may sound like a huge influx of people into Orange County, but for one fact, Orange County consisted of the total of Orange, present day Volusia, Brevard, Osceola, Lake and Seminole Counties.

As time passed Orange County's population continued to thrive and grow, the above mentioned five counties were sliced off the original Mosquito County, a war dividing the country was fought, still Orange County continued to steadily grow fueled by cattle ranching and agriculture. During the winter of 1895-1896 the citrus growers in particular and all the agriculture in general were devastated by a crippling freeze. Disillusioned and financially ruined, many of the growers welcomed the land speculators with open arms, thus creating a land boom with Orlando becoming a 'boom town'. 1926 brought us, what else, a devastating hurricane thereby rendering property in Florida totally worthless.

1929 brought us the stock market crash that destroyed the American Banking Industry, which was soon to be followed by the Great Depression of the early 1930's. The late 1930's brought about a steady growth as people began to 'rediscover' central Florida's beauty which continued until 1967. At that time we found Orange County Florida again taking on a Boom Town appearance. Orange county continued a slow but steady growth until 1967; when Walt Disney announced his intention to build a "vacation destination". 1971 brought about the completion and grand opening of Walt Disney World, the first and still centerpiece of the Disney Complex which made "Orlando" a household word worldwide.

Since that time, Orange County Florida has been the favorite destination of travelers from all over the world.

- provided by Laverne Tornow and Amy Lyles,
Past County Coordinators