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Orlando History

Orlando Map circa 1858

Orlando Map circa 1858

Over the last 170 years Central Florida has experienced almost exponential growth.

First inhabited by the Seminole Indians, the area saw the arrival of the first Europeans in 1837, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that the area picked up the name Orlando when an American soldier named Orlando Reeves saved his comrads by firing a shot that allerted everyone of an impending attack from the Seminoles. During the ensuing fight Reeves was killed by an arrow shot by a native.

In the 1880s citrus groves were first established by pioneers which quickly replaced cotton as the cash crop king. The success of the citrus farmers spurred transportation advancements through railways, which lit the fuse on the growth bomb. By 1890 the Orlando area had a College (Rollins) office buildings, churches, hotels and schools, and its first tourists who set up winter residence.

By 1944 Orlando was a major metropolatin area, adding shopping malls, suburbs, and major highway construction projects.

In 1956, thecompany that would soon become Lockheed Martin moved into the area and quickly became the largest employer in Central Florida.

1971 saw the introduction of Disney World which produced another building boom that included a solid infrastructure to support the milions of tourists that would soon be visiting the area.