Historic

Historic, High-Tech Ocala - a Delightful Blend of the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries.


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Panoramic Photo of Ocala's Downtown Square

Marion Map 1839Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear…Unlike most cities in Florida, Ocala is steeped in history. After all, the city was founded way back in 1846 when it was one of the wealthiest and most prosperous communities in the South. But the region's historical roots run even deeper into our fertile soil. Marion County's political existence dates back to the Spanish land grants from the 1500's, decades before the settlement of New Amsterdam, which later became the City of New York.

Ocala gets it's name from the Timucuan people who called this region "Ocali," meaning "the land of plenty" for it's abundant fields, streams, lakes and wildlife habitats. To native Americans this was paradise, and settlers soon discovered why.

Fort King, the first non-native settlement in Marion County, was established as an Indian agency outpost in 1829, and became a Fort during the second Seminole Indian War in 1835.

 

Between the Civil War and 1900 Ocala was one of Florida's largest centers of commerce building upon its road and rail network, and its phosphate mining and citrus growing industries. The US Census of 1895 revealed that Ocala was Florida's fifth most populous city. Only Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tampa and Key West were larger.

Our County's Hispanic culture dates back to the founding of the cigar industry in the late 1890's, when Cuban cigar workers from Tampa established Havana Town on the west side of Ocala. The name of the Cuban section was later changed to Marti City after patriot Jose Marti visited Ocala to promote the cause of Cuban independence.

Even Florida's tourist industry got its start in Marion County when Silver Springs became the state's premiere attraction way back in the 1890's.

 

Much of the Ocala's heritage has been carefully preserved, especially in the Historic District where you can take a stroll back in time to another era. Along oak shaded 14 Street, for example, are stately Victorian mansions that date from the 1800's

Here in historic downtown you'll discover the tastes, sights and sounds of New Orleans at the popular restaurants, clubs and taverns centered around the quaint Turn-of-the-Century town square.


 

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133 Marion Oaks Blvd.
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Ocala, FL 34473
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