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Orlando – The City Beautiful
rlando, FL
the county seat of Orange County, FL, is
nicknamed “The City Beautiful” and its symbol is the
fountain at Lake Eola. Also called “The Theme Park Capital
of the World” you will find Walt Disney World Resort
(opened by the Walt Disney Co. in 1971), the Universal
Orlando Resort (which consists of two parks, Universal
Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, as well as other
attractions, including City Walk), SeaWorld, Gatorland,
and Wet ‘n Wild Water Park.
Before European settlers arrived in 1536, Orlando
was sparsely populated by the Creek and other Native
American tribes. The city’s history dates back to 1838 and
the height of the “Seminole Wars.” The U.S. Army built Fort
Gatlin south of present day Orlando to protect the area.
By 1840, a small community had grown up around the
fort. It was known as Jernigan, named after the Jernigan
family, who had established the first permanent settlement
in the area. Jernigan had a post office that was established
by May 30, 1850. Six years later, the community officially
changed its name to Orlando. The Town of Orlando was
incorporated in 1875 with 85 inhabitants, 22 of whom were
qualified voters.
The period from 1875 to 1895 is remembered as Orlando’s
“Gilded Era,” when it became the hub of Florida’s
citrus industry. But a great freeze in 1894-1895 forced
many owners to give up their independent groves, thus
consolidating holdings in the hands of a few “citrus barons”
who shifted operations to the south.
Orlando, as Florida’s largest inland city, became a popular
resort during the years between the Spanish-American War
and World War I.
During World War II, a number of Army personnel were
stationed at the Pine Castle AAF. Some of these servicemen
stayed in Orlando to settle and raise families. In 1956
the aerospace/defense company Martin Marietta (now
Lockheed Martin) established a plant in Orlando.
Orlando is close enough to Patrick Air Force Base, Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, and Kennedy Space Center
for residents to commute to work from the city’s suburbs.
Because of its proximity to the “Space Coast” near the
Kennedy Space Center, many high-tech companies have
shifted to the Orlando area.
Perhaps the most critical event for Orlando’s economy
occurred in 1965, when Walt Disney announced plans to
build Walt Disney World.
(compiled from
The following colleges and universities are located in and
around Orlando:
University of Central Florida, Rollins College
(in Winter
Park), and
Valencia College.
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