Historic, High-Tech Ocala - a Delightful Blend of the 19th,
20th and 21st Centuries.
|Panoramic Photo of Ocala's Downtown Square
Return with us now to those thrilling days of
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
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
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.
Click below to learn more:
Overview | Ocala History | Culture
| Healthcare | Employment