29 May 1999

Metro Orlando Area

Orlando was an aftermath of the Seminole Wars. Many volunteers remained to form a community after the withdrawal of the regular army. The site was selected for its proximity to Fort Gatlin, established about 1837 because of the available water and the high lands of the area. The area was unnamed until 1850 One of the frist settlers was Aaron Jernigan, of Georgia, who reached here with his family, slaves, and herds in 1842. Jernigan and most of the others that followed him were cattlemen. In 1846 and again in 1849, this territory was menaced by Indian cattle rustlers. Jernigan was serving as Orange County's first representative in the State legislature. Both times he returned to protect his and others herds. The army abandoned Fort Gatlin in 1948 as hostilities ended with the Seminoles, but settlers continued to carry arms, and Jernigan built a stockade on the west shore of Lake Holden. A small settlement grew around the stockade, and in 1850 the stockade was granted a post office, named Jernigan. Several versions for changing the name from Jernigan to Orlando exist. Judge V.D. Speer is said to have selected the name in honor of Shakespeare's hero in "As You Like It", and others assert it was named for Orlando Reeves, a runner between Mellonville (Sanford) and Fort Gatlin, slain by Indians on the site of the town. Orlando was incorporated in 1875. At that time it included Lake, Osceola and Seminole Counties. The first commercial citrus grove near Orlando was 100 acres planted during 1965-66 by W. H. Holden. In the early 1890s the State and railroad interests sold land in and around Orlando at approximately $1.00 an acre. During the 40s, 50s, and 60s Orlando was a favorite resort for a type of visitor, usually middle-aged and retired, appropriately called a perennial tourist.

Today, Orlando is one of the world's primier tourist destinations. Metro Orlando consists of Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake Counties, and includes the cities of Orlando, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Winter Park, Kissimmee, St. Cloud and Leesburg. In 1997 the population of Orlando was 176,373 residential, and 23,419 seasonal. The Metro Orlando area population was 1,473,271.
Excerpts from:" Florida, A Guide to the Southernmost State", American Guide Series, dated 1939 and http://www.ci.orlando.fl.us/departments/planning_and_development/glance.html

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