A Travellerspoint blog

Ocala, Florida


Ocala is a city located in Marion County, Florida. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 45,943. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 48,901. It is the county seat of Marion County.

Early Years
Ocala was established in 1846 near the site of Fort King, a military outpost of the Seminole Wars. Ocala is a Timucua word of unknown meaning. Hernando de Soto (explorer) passed through a Timucua village or province named Ocali near the present site of Ocala during his famous expedition through what is today the southeastern United States in 1539. Greater Ocala and Marion County are known as the "Kingdom of the Sun."

In 1853, the State of Florida chose Ocala as the site of the East Florida Seminary, the first state educational institution in Florida and the earliest predecessor institution of the University of Florida. The University of Florida traces its origin to the establishment of the East Florida Seminary. The Seminary closed during the American Civil War and reopened after the war in Gainesville, Florida. State compensation for the loss of the Seminary was used to build the first public schools in Ocala.

The Brick City
Rail service reached Ocala in June 1881, encouraging economic development. Several years later, much of the Ocala downtown area was destroyed by fire on Thanksgiving Day, 1883. Buildings were rebuilt with brick, granite, and steel rather than lumber. By 1888, Ocala was known state-wide as "The Brick City."

In December 1890, the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union, a forerunner of the Populist Party (United States) held its national convention in Ocala. At the convention, the Alliance adopted a platform that would become known as the "Ocala Demands." This platform included abolition of national banks, low interest government loans, free and unlimited coinage of silver, reclaimation of excess railroad lands by the government, a graduated income tax, and direct election of United States Senators. Most of the "Ocala Demands" were to become part of the Populist Party platform.

Ocala was an important center of citrus production until the "Big Freeze" of 1894-1895.

Silver Springs
In the 20th century, Ocala increased its role as a center for tourism in Florida. Important attractions included the Silver Springs Attraction, Wild Waters water park, and the now-defunct Western-themed Six Gun Territory, all in nearby Silver Springs, Florida.

Horse Country
In 1956, the Ocala area Thoroughbred industry received a boost when Needles became the first Florida-bred to win the Kentucky Derby. In 1978, Marion county bred and raised Affirmed won the Triple Crown. Today, Marion County is one of the major Thoroughbred centers of the world, with over 1,000 horse farms.

Ocala public schools were integrated under court order in the late 1960s. Because of incidents elsewhere, violence was expected when school opened in September 1968. Ocala had a full complement of correspondents and photographers from Life Magazine and other publications. The opening of school occurred without incident and the reporters left town without much of a story. Much of the credit for the quiet integration of the schools went to a planning committee of three, including Al Lisk.

Rapid Growth
In the last decades of the 20th century, the greater Ocala area experienced one of the highest growth rates in the country. The population of Marion County in 2000 was over 250,000, up from under 100,000 in 1975. Much of this growth is attributable to the Ocala area's growing popularity as a retirement destination.

Historical Preservation
Many historic homes are preserved in Ocala's large residential Historic District, established in 1984. A focus of this district is East Ft. King Avenue, featuring many excellent examples of Victorian Revival architecture. Ocala structures on the National Register of Historic Places include the Coca Cola Building, the E.C. Smith House, East Hall, the Marion Hotel, the Marion Theater, Mt. Zion AME Church, the Ritz Historic Inn, and Union Train Station.

Noteworthy Ocalans
Famous Ocalans have included: C. Farris Bryant, 34th governor of Florida; Kenneth H. "Buddy" MacKay, Jr., 42nd governor of Florida; actor Patrick O'Neal; Tony Award-winning actress Elizabeth Ashley; and pro football quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Noteworthy residents have included: George Steinbrenner, Arthur Jones, John Travolta, and Kelly Preston.

Silver Springs
Wild Waters Waterpark
Appleton Museum of Art

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Ponte Vedra, Florida


Ponte Vedra Beach is a seaside village 20 miles south east of Jacksonville, Florida, near St. Augustine, Florida in St. Johns County, Florida. It is an upmarket tourist resort best known for its association with golf. It is the home of the PGA TOUR, and THE PLAYERS Championship is played at "The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass".

Ponte Vedra Beach was 50th on the list of 100 finalists for CNN and Money magazine's 2005 list of the best places to live, which came out July 11. It was the first place in Florida to be named this year and one of only four areas in the state to make the cut.

Ponte Vedra Beach may have been first sighted by Juan Ponce de Leon on his search for the Fountain of Youth in 1513.

The village is most famous for being the site of a German submarine landing during the failed Operation Pastorius. On the night of June 16, 1942, four German soldiers from a German submarine came ashore carrying explosives and American money. Five days earlier, another submarine came ashore in Amagansett, New York on Long Island The German spies were captured before they can do any damange All were tried and six were executed.

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Niagara Falls, Ontario


Niagara Falls, Ontario (2001 population 78,815) is a city located on the Niagara River, in the Golden Horseshoe region. It lies across the river from Niagara Falls, New York, and was incorporated on June 12, 1903. Niagara Falls station is served by VIA Rail and Amtrak trains connecting it to Toronto and New York City.

The city is dominated by the Niagara Falls, which bring hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city along with other attractions like Casino Niagara, the new Fallsview Casino and Clifton Hill.

The Niagara Falls area has seen continuous settlement since the 17th century, first by the Iroquois and then by Europeans who were drawn to the immense falls. Tourism started in the early 19th century and has always been the city's main industry. The town now boasts an enormous number of hotels for its size. As well as the obvious attractions of the falls, Niagara Falls markets itself as a honeymoon destination and is self-proclaimed as the honeymoon capital of the world.

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Toronto, Ontario


Toronto is Canada's largest city and the provincial capital of Ontario. Toronto's population is 2,518,772 (Statistics Canada, 2004); that of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is 5,203,686 (Statistics Canada, 2004). Residents of Toronto are called Torontonians (in French: torontois). The city is part of the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, a densely populated region of around 7 million people. Approximately one-quarter of the Canadian population lives within the Golden Horseshoe, and about one-sixth of all Canadian jobs lie within the city limits.

Toronto is a global city, exerting significant regional, national, and international influence, and is one of the world's most multicultural cities. Toronto is Canada's financial centre and 'economic engine,' as well as one of the country's most important cultural, art, and health sciences centres. In January 2005, it was designated by the federal government as one of Canada's cultural capitals. It is one of the safest cities to live in North America; its violent crime rate is lower than that of any major U.S. metropolitan area and is one of the lowest in Canada.

The current City of Toronto was – in 1998 – amalgamated from its six prior municipalities and regional government. The current mayor of Toronto is David Miller. His predecessor, and first mayor of the amalgamated city, was Mel Lastman. The last mayor of the pre-amalgamated city was Barbara Hall.

The Toronto area was home to a number of First Nations groups who lived on the shore of Lake Ontario. The first European presence was the French trading fort Fort Rouillé established in 1750. The first large influx of Europeans was by United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. In 1793 Toronto, then known as York, was named capital of the new colony of Upper Canada. The city steadily grew during the nineteenth century, becoming one of the main destinations of immigrants to Canada. In the second half of the twentieth century Toronto surpassed Montreal as the economic capital of Canada and as its largest city.

Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There is an urban legend among Torontonians that UNESCO has proclaimed the city as the world's most multicultural city, but ranking or proclaiming cities as the most multicultural is not a practice that UNESCO has ever undertaken.

According to the metropolitan census, the majority of Torontonians claim their ethnic origin to be from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, either in whole or in part. However there are hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Italian, Asian, French, and German populations. Almost half of Canada's Black population lives in Toronto, creating a significant fraction of the total population.

Due to the variety of the ethnic origins of Torontonians, there are enclaves of Italian, Irish, Portuguese, Greek, Polish, Russian, Asian, and Chinese peoples, creating a unique combination of communities that are often strikingly different from one another. Because of the diversity in the city, some 1.6 million non-Whites or 40% of Canada's minority population live in Toronto alone. Out of the 1.6 million non-Whites, almost 1.2 million originate from the Asian continent alone.

Perhaps Toronto's most famous landmark is the CN Tower, a 553 meter (1815 feet) steel and concrete transmission tower, the tallest free-standing land structure in the world. Directly west of it is the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), the world's first sporting arena to feature a fully retractable roof. It is currently home to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Argonauts. Nearby, the Air Canada Centre is the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, and the Toronto Rock. It was originally built to replace the legendary Maple Leaf Gardens.

Toronto's City Hall is one of the city's most distinctive landmarks. Built to replace its predecessor — now known simply as Old City Hall — its modernist style still impresses today. Directly in front of City Hall is Nathan Phillips Square, a public space that frequently houses concerts, art displays, a weekly farmers' market, and other public events. It is also the site of a reflecting pool that, during the winter, becomes a popular skating rink. Dundas Square, nearby, is the city's newest and flashiest public square, located across the street from the Eaton Centre, a large and popular shopping mall. Up University Ave. is Queen's Park, a historic scenic park and public space surrounding Ontario's Legislative Assembly.

The city has a world-renowned museum, the Royal Ontario Museum (frequently referred to as "the ROM"), and one of North America's largest art galleries, the Art Gallery of Ontario (also known as the "AGO"). Exhibition Place is the home of the Canadian National Exhibition (the CNE or "the Ex"), an annual event that takes place in August. Nearby Ontario Place is a popular amusement park on the waterfront.

The Toronto Islands form part of the largest car-free urban community in North America. Accessible by ferry, "the Islands" include a public park and a children's amusement park, Centreville. The Islands are also home to the Toronto City Centre Airport. The city has several large parks, the best known being High Park to the west of downtown. The city is crisscrossed by a network of ravines that are still almost wholly undeveloped.

Other popular attractions include the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Ontario Science Centre, the Leslie Street Spit, the Toronto Zoo, Little Glenn, and the city's oldest cathedrals, the Roman Catholic St. Michael's Cathedral and the Anglican St. James' Cathedral, both on Church Street. Casa Loma, a castle overlooking downtown Toronto, is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

The Greater Toronto Area is the centre of English Canadian literature and many of Canada's best known writers, such as Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, write and set their books in Toronto. Other prominent Toronto-based writers include Rohinton Mistry, Morley Callaghan, and George Elliott Clarke. Canada's publishing industry is based in Toronto. It is home to both the major companies, such as McClelland and Stewart and the smaller firms like House of Anansi Press and Coach House Books. Both of Canada's national newspapers (the National Post and the Globe and Mail) are based out of Toronto as are many of the major magazines. The city is thus home to a large number of Canada's journalists.

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Lockport, New York


Lockport is a city located in Niagara County, New York. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 22,279. The name is derived from the locks on the canal passing through the city.

The City of Lockport is the county seat of Niagara County and is surrounded by the Town of Lockport.

Lockport became a village in 1829. The City of Lockport was incorporated in 1865.

Many early settlers were Quakers, encouraged to move to the area by the promise of the new canal. The city was built around a series of locks on the Erie Canal. The canal reached Lockport in 1824, but the locks were not completed until 1825.

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Niagara Falls, New York

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Niagara Falls is a city located in Niagara County, New York. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,593. It is located across the Niagara River from Niagara Falls, Ontario, both named after the famed Niagara Falls which they share. It has been considered part of the Buffalo, New York metro area.

The City of Niagara Falls was incorporated in 1892. Historically, the city was built up around factories that utilized the power of the falling water for energy. Now the downtown area is a park Niagara Falls State Park affording a close-up view of the American, Horseshoe and Bridal Veil Falls. The European intrusion into the area began in the 17th Century with missionaries and explorers. This interaction of the local tribes, already hostile, was rapidly converted to open warfare by the competition for the fur trade.

By the end of the 19th Century, the city was a heavy industrial area, due in no small part to the huge power potential offered by the swiftly-flowing Niagara River. The city still has a strong industrial base, but its location is away from the tourist areas.

While its Canadian twin, Niagara Falls, Ontario began massively building up its tourism industry in the 1990s, allowing for casinos and tall tower hotels, essentially becoming the "Las Vegas of Canada," Niagara Falls, New York did very little. In 2004, the Seneca Nation of Indians opened a casino in the former Niagara County Convention Center, which thereby became sovereign Native American territory in the midst of the city.

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Grand Island, New York


Grand Island is a town and an island located in Erie County, New York, USA. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 18,621.

The Town of Grand Island is located at the northwestern corner of the county.

In the early historical period of the island, the 16th Century, French explorers found the Neutral indians living on the island. By 1651 the Senecas had destroyed this tribe and absorbed some of the survivors. The Seneca used the island for hunting and fishing.

After the French and Indian War the island became part of the British colonies in North America.

In the 1820s, journalist and utopian Mordecai Manuel Noah tried to found a city to be called "Ararat" on the island as a refuge for persecuted Jews from around the world.

The Town of Grand Island was organized in 1852 from part of the Town of Tonawanda.

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Youngstown, New York

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Youngstown is a village located in Niagara County, New York, USA. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 1,957.

The Village of Youngstown was incorporated in 1854. Youngstown is on the western edge of the Town of Porter and is at the international border with Canada. The village's early growth was under the protection of Fort Niagara.

The Youngstown Levels, one of the largest amateurs sailing regattas is held here annually.

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Buffalo, New York

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Buffalo, is an American city in western New York. With about 300,000 residents, it is the state's second-largest city, after New York City, and is the county seat of Erie County6. The Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan area has a population of 1.1 million. Despite its cold, industrial image, Buffalo is home to a diverse population and thriving arts, cultural, and nightlife scenes.

Buffalo has gathered several nicknames over the years. The most common - The Queen City refers to its position at the turn of the 20th century as the second-largest city on the Great Lakes, next to Chicago. Buffalo has also been called The Nickel City due to the appearance of a buffalo on the back of american nickels in the early part of the 20th century. The City of Good Neighbors and Tuffalo both refer to the spirits of its inhabitants.

Distancing itself from its industrial past, Buffalo was named by Reader's Digest as the third cleanest city in America.

Also, in 2001 the USA today named Buffalo the winner of it's "City with a Heart" contest proclaiming it the nations "friendliest city."

Naming Dispute
Curiously, the city's name arose not from the same-named animal, but from its location at the origin of the Niagara River. Some claim the name comes from the French "beau fleuve" ("beautiful river"). Other historians cite the fact that Buffalo Creek was so-named long before the naming of the city, and they suggest that the city's name more likely honors the Seneca Indian after whom this small waterway was named.

Early history of Buffalo
Most of western New York was granted by Charles II of England to the Duke of York (later known as James II of England), but the first European settlement in what is now Erie County was by the French, at the mouth of Buffalo Creek in 1758. Its buildings were destroyed a year later because of an impending British attack. The British took control of the entire region in 1763, at the conclusion of the French and Indian War.

The first American to settle in present day Buffalo was Cornelius Winney, who set up a log cabin store there in 1789 for trading with the Native American community. Dutch investors purchased the area as part of the Holland Land Purchase, and parcels were sold through the Holland Land Company's office in Batavia, New York, starting in 1801. The village was initially called New Amsterdam. In 1808, the new Niagara County, New York was formed (including what is now Erie County), and newly renamed Buffalo became its county seat. By 1811, the predominantly Anglo-American village had grown to 500 people.

The 19th century
Around 1804 the future city was planned by Joseph Ellicott, a principal agent of the Holland Land Company. His plan for the city included a radial street and grid system that branches out from downtown and is one of only three completed radial street patterns in the U.S.A. In 1810 the Town of Buffalo was formed from the western part of the Town of Clarence while still part of Niagara County. On December 30, 1813, during the War of 1812, British troops and their Native American allies captured the village of Buffalo and burned much of it to the ground. Buffalo was rebuilt and re-established as a town in 1816. In 1818 the eastern part of the town was lost to form the Town of Amherst, and in 1839, the northern part of the Town of Buffalo became the Town of Black Rock.

Upon the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, Buffalo became the western end of the 524-mile waterway starting at New York City. At the time Buffalo had a population of about 2,400 people; with the increased commerce of the canal, the population boomed and Buffalo became a city in 1832. Buffalo was re-incorporated as a city in 1853, at which time it had some 10,000 people. The re-incorporation included the Village and Town of Black Rock, which had been Buffalo's early rival for the canal terminus.

Buffalo was a terminus of the Underground Railroad, an informal series of safe houses for runaway slaves who had escaped from the U. S. South in the mid-19th century. After hiding at the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the slaves could take a ferry to Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada and freedom.

Several U.S. presidents have connections with Buffalo. Millard Fillmore took up permanent residence in Buffalo in 1822 before he became America's 13th president; he was also the first chancellor of the University of Buffalo (later University at Buffalo). Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, lived in Buffalo from 1854 until 1882, and served as Buffalo's mayor from 1882–1883. William McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, and died in Buffalo on the 14th. Theodore Roosevelt was then sworn in on September 14th, 1901 at the Wilcox Mansion (now the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site), becoming one of the few presidents to be sworn in outside of Washington, D.C..

John Roberts the Chief Justice of the United States was also born in Buffalo. Other historical personages of note include Nobel laureate Herbert Hauptmann, Iroquois leader Red Jacket, Wells Fargo founder William G. Fargo and Wilson Greatbatch, Inventor of the Pacemaker.

The 20th century
At the turn of the century, Buffalo was a growing city with a burgeoning economy. Immigrants came from Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Poland to work in the steel and grain mills which had taken advantage of the city's critical location at the junction of the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal. Hydroelectric power harnessed from nearby Niagara Falls made Buffalo the first American city to enjoy widespread electric power.

The opening of the Peace Bridge linking Buffalo with Fort Erie, Ontario on 7 August 1927 was an occasion for significant celebrations. Those in attendance included Edward, Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII of the United Kingdom), his brother Prince Albert George (later George VI), British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Canada's Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, US Vice President Charles G. Dawes, and New York governor Alfred E. Smith.

Buffalo's new City Hall was dedicated on July 1, 1932.

The city's importance declined in the later 20th Century for several reasons, perhaps the most devastating being the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1957. Goods which had previously passed through Buffalo could now bypass it using a series of canals and locks, reaching the ocean via the St. Lawrence River. The city, which boasted over half a million people at its peak, has seen its population decline by some 50 percent, as industries shut down and people left the Rust Belt for the more moderate winters and air-conditioned summers of the South and Southwest. The metropolitan area as a whole has not shrunk by nearly as much, but it is still one of the few metropolitan areas of over 1 million population that has been losing population.

Famous Entertainers
Buffalo has a thriving theater and music scene that has spawned several national acts worth noting. Famous historical musicians of note include Jazz saxophonist Grover Washington Jr., seminal 1940s harmonic group the Modernaires, singer-songwriter Willie Nile, and songwriters Harold Arlen and Jack Yellen. (Arlen didn't care much for his home town; he once quipped that "to commit suicide in Buffalo would be redundant.") Popular modern musicians from Buffalo include funk singer Rick James, bassist Billy Sheehan (of Mr. Big and Talas fame), folk singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco, and The Goo Goo Dolls (colloquially known as "The Goos"). Musical theatre director and choreographer Michael Bennett is also from Buffalo, as is Vincent Gallo, who cast a jaundiced eye on the city and its sports obsession in his film Buffalo 66.

Television news hosts Tim Russert and Wolf Blitzer were raised in the greater Buffalo area, as were Howdy Doody host Buffalo Bob Smith and political satirist Mark Russell. Several prominent actors and actresses also hail from the Buffalo area, including William Sadler, James Whitmore, Gary Sinise, Christine Baranski, Chad Michael Murray, Wendie Malick, Nick Bakay and both John Schuck and Amanda Blake, both of whom were graduates of nearby Amherst High School. Noted TV writers Tom Fontana and David Milch also hail from the Buffalo area. Lucille Ball hails from nearby Jamestown.

Several well known authors hail from the Buffalo area, including Paul Horgan, Joyce Carol Oates, Taylor Caldwell, and playwrights Ruben Santiago-Hudson ("Lackawanna Blues") and A.R. Gurney (The Dining Room and Love Letters).

Mark Twain lived in Buffalo as a part-owner and managing editor of The Buffalo Express from 1869 to 1871. While not technically a Buffalonian, he's remembered by his readers for his time in Buffalo due to his stories "A Day at Niagara Falls" and "The Diaries of Adam and Eve", the latter being a humorous play on the nearby town of Eden.

Other writers who lived in Buffalo included Leslie Fiedler, John Barth and Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee.

In addition, Charles Burchfield, among the most important water color painters, lived in Buffalo for many years.

Buffalo's best-known athlete is probably Hall of Fame lefty Warren Spahn.

Points of interest
Erie Canal
Martin House
McKinley Monument
Niagara Falls
USS Little Rock (CG-4) in Buffalo Naval and Servicemen's Park

Sports teams

Current Teams

The Buffalo Bills, of the National Football League.
The Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League.
The Buffalo Bisons of Minor Leauge Baseball's International League, AAA team for the Cleveland Indians.
The Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League.
The Buffalo Rapids of the American Basketball Association.

Former Teams

The Buffalo Braves played in the NBA from 1970–1978
The Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League from 1999–2003
The Buffalo Blizzard of the defunct National Professional Soccer League from 1992–2001.
The Buffalo Stallions of the defunct Major Indoor Soccer League from 1979–1984.
The Buffalo Bills from 1947–1949 and Buffalo Bisons in 1946 of the defunct All-America Football Conference.

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Orlando, Florida


The city of Orlando is the county seat of Orange County, Florida. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 185,951 (metropolitan area 1,644,561). A 2004 U.S. Census Estimates population count gave the city had a total population of 205,648 (metropolitan area nearly 1.8 million). It is the sixth-largest city in Florida, and its largest inland city. It is also at the head of the state's third-largest metropolitan area, behind Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Tampa-St. Petersburg. Additionally, Orlando is home to the second largest university in Florida, the University of Central Florida.

The city is best known for the tourist attractions in the area, particularly the nearby Walt Disney World Resort, which is in the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Other area attractions include SeaWorld and the Universal Orlando Resort, the latter of which is in Orlando proper. Despite being far from the main tourist attractions, downtown Orlando has recently seen much redevelopment, with many more projects currently under construction or planned.

The city's nickname is "The City Beautiful", and its symbol is the fountain of Lake Eola. The current mayor is Buddy Dyer. (See a complete listing of the Mayors of Orlando.)

Some historians date Orlando's name to around 1836 when a soldier named Orlando Reeves allegedly died in the area, during the war against the Seminole Indian tribe. It seems, however, that Orlando Reeves (sometimes Rees) operated a sugar mill and plantation about 30 miles (50 km) to the north at Spring Garden in Volusia County, and pioneer settlers simply found his name carved into a tree and assumed it was a marker for a grave site. They thus referred to the area as "Orlando's grave" and later simply "Orlando."

During the Second Seminole War, the U.S. Army established an outpost at Fort Gatlin, a few miles south of the modern downtown, in 1838. But, it was quickly abandoned when the war came to an end.

The first permanent settler was cattleman Aaron Jernigan, who acquired land along Lake Holden by the terms of the Armed Occupation Act of 1842. But, most pioneers did not arrive until after the Third Seminole War in the 1850s.

Orlando remained a rural backwater during the Civil War, and suffered greatly during the Federal Blockade. And, most of the early residents made their living by cattle ranching. But, the Reconstruction Era brought a population explosion. This led to the city's incorporation in 1875.

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 the latter year forced many owners to give up their independent groves, thus consolidating holdings in the hands of a few "citrus barons" which shifted operations south, primarily around Lake Wales in Polk County.

The years between the Spanish American War and World War I saw Orlando become a popular resort, as Florida's largest inland city.

During World War II, a number of Army personnel were stationed at the Pine Castle AAF, now the site of Orlando International Airport. 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.

In addition, 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. It also allows easy access to Port Canaveral, an important cruise ship terminal. Because of its proximity to the innovative "Space Coast", many high-tech companies have shifted to the Orlando area.

The most critical event for Orlando's economy occurred in 1965 when Walt Disney announced the plans for Walt Disney World. The famous vacation resort opened in October, 1971, ushering in an explosive population and economic growth for the Orlando metropolitan area, which now encompasses Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties. As a result, tourism became the centerpiece of the Orlando economy.

In the hurricane season of 2004, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne battered the Orlando area, causing widespread damage and flooding and impeding tourism to the area.

The Orlando area is home to a wide variety of tourist attractions, including the Walt Disney World resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort. The Walt Disney World resort is the area's largest attraction with its many facets such as the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Downtown Disney. SeaWorld Orlando is a large adventure park that features numerous zoological displays and marine animals alongside an amusement park with roller coasters and water park. Universal Orlando, like Walt Disney World, is a multi-faceted resort comprised of Universal Studios Florida, CityWalk, and Islands of Adventure theme park.

Other attractions in the Orlando area includes:

Arboretum of the University of Central Florida
Space Coast beaches
Brevard Zoo
Central Florida Zoological Park, located in Sanford on Lake Monroe. This 100 acre (400,000 m²) zoo is home to a butterfly garden, herpetarium, and numerous tropical animals. This zoo originally started as a collection in the Sanford Fire Department, but grew into a regional zoo in 1975. It is currently in the planning stages of expansion and renaming the facility to "Zoo Orlando at Sanford".
Church Street Station, a multi-level shopping mall and entertainment center that features specialty shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars.
Cirque du Soleil, in Downtown Disney West Side, features its renowned blend of acrobatics and special effects with more than 70 artists from around the globe performing in a custom-designed, 1,671-seat theater.
Cypress Gardens Adventure Park
Discovery Cove, part of the SeaWorld Adventure Park complex. This attraction features tropical fish in a coral reef, snorkeling with stingrays, and interacting with birds in an aviary, as well as swimming and playing with dolphins during a half-hour dolphin encounter.
Gatorland is home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles. A few of Gatorland's residents have made wrangling appearances in movies, television shows and commercial spots. The 54 year old park combines a petting zoo, bird sanctuary, mini-water park, eco-tour and outdoor entertainment, including daily alligator wrestling.
Hard Rock Live & Hotel is the Hard Rock Café chain's featured location in Orlando. It features a concert venue and large restaurant with typical rock style memorabilia. The Hard Rock Hotel is a featured resort hotel with a California-style restaurant called The Kitchen.
Jungleland, featuring 300 animals, including a pair of Himalayan bears born in 2002, plus leopards, tigers, lions, gator wrestling and a petting zoo. The seven acre (28,000 m²) zoo also has a path nearly a mile (1.6 km) long winding around a natural lagoon with black swans and white ibis.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is 45 minutes from Orlando and south of Daytona Beach. Visitors can tour launch areas, see giant rockets, "train" in spaceflight simulators, and much more. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open every day except Christmas and certain launch days. Apart from the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Space Center bus tours run every 15 minutes with stops at an observation gantry and the Apollo / Saturn V Center. Other guided tours include NASA Up Close, Cape Canaveral: Then and Now, and Lunch With An Astronaut. Combo tickets offer maximum access admission, plus one guided tour.
Old Town features 8 restaurants, 15 amusement park rides and 75 shops along its brick-lined streets. Classic car shows every Friday and Saturday feature hundreds of vintage automobiles. Admission and parking are free.
Orange County Regional History Center
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium is located in a building artfully constructed to appear as if it were collapsing to one side, along with a sly reference to central Florida's infamous sinkholes. Explore artifacts, collections, weird art/hobbies and interactive exhibits in 16 odd galleries. For more than 40 years, Robert Ripley traveled the globe collecting the unbelievable, inexplicable, and one-of-a-kind. His collections are housed in 27 museums in 10 countries.
International Trolley and Train Museum features 14 model railroad trains with sound and lighting traveling through an indoor garden with 12 foot (4 m) high mountains, waterfalls, and more than 30 trestles and tunnels. Also on display are toy trains from the 1920s to the present. Visitors can catch a ride in a California Victorian Style half open/half closed trolley or the 5/8 replica of an 1880 locomotive (a Mason Bogey) with its passenger cars.
Orlando Museum of Art, which has ongoing exhibitions of American portraits and landscapes, American impressionist works, and art of the ancient Americas.
Orlando Science Center, a 207,000 square foot (19,000 m²) hands-on learning center with hundreds of interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. Images surround visitors on the giant screen of the Dr. Phillips CineDome. Other attractions include the Body Zone, teaching health and fitness, as well as an observatory.
Morse Museum of American Art, which houses a permanent Tiffany collection featuring an impressive array of Tiffany glass, an exhibit on the Tiffany home, and American paintings from the 19th century.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum, which is situated on the campus of Rollins College, this free museum features significant loans, recent acquisitions, and items from the Cornell's renowned permanent collection.
Blue Spring State Park, which is the winter home of large numbers of Florida Manatees that come upstream from the St. Johns River to bask in the warm 72 °F (22 °C) waters of the springs. Canoeing, swimming and fishing are popular activities at Blue Springs.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, which comprises around 700 acres (2.8 km²) of wild Florida. The springs pump out 42 million gallons of crystal clear water a day. Popular activities at the park include canoeing, swimming, picnicking and fishing.
Harry P. Leu Gardens, which is an inner city oasis covering 50 acres (20,000 m²) and features colorful annuals, palms, an orchid house, a floral clock and a butterfly garden.
World of Orchids, featuring thousands of blooms in an enclosed tropical rainforest. World of Orchids is a working greenhouse shipping orchids and other plants nationwide. A greenhouse covers nearly an acre (4,000 m²), and in this controlled climate of warm, humid air some 1,000 orchids are displayed in a natural jungle setting, with streams, waterfalls, and squawking parrots. World of Orchids also has a 1,000 foot (300 m) long boardwalk meandering off into nearby wetlands. Admission is free.


Orlando is home to the Orlando Magic, an NBA pro basketball franchise that plays at the TD Waterhouse Centre in downtown Orlando. The team made it to the NBA Finals in 1995.

The Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League also play at the TD Waterhouse Centre. Since joining the league in 1991, they have become one of the legendary franchises in the young league, having a historic rivalry with the Tampa Bay Storm, two ArenaBowl titles (1998 and 2000), and several historic moments including the league's only shutout to date and a procession called the Miracle Minute where they scored two touchdowns with two-point conversions and forced a safety to come from behind in the final minute of a game to win.

Orlando was a stronghold of minor-league ice hockey throughout the 1990's, being home of the Orlando Solar Bears of the now-defunct International Hockey League. Historically successful, they won the Turner Cup championship in 2001 to end the IHL's final season. In 2002, the Atlantic Coast Hockey League formed with Orlando forming one of the charter franchises, the Orlando Seals, which won their Commissioner's Cup in 2003. They moved to the World Hockey Association 2 in 2003, then the Southern Professional Hockey League in 2004. The City of Orlando revoked their lease for the TD Waterhouse Centre, forcing them to sit out the 2004-05 season. They moved to Kissimmee and became the Florida Seals in November 2004.

The Citrus Bowl is the home of the Capital One Bowl (formerly the Florida Citrus Bowl) and the Champs Sports Bowl (formerly the Tangerine Bowl). It also hosts regular-season football games for the University of Central Florida (NCAA Division I-A) and Jones High School, as well as the annual Florida Classic played between the NCAA Division I-AA Football teams from Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman College. It hosted soccer games for the FIFA World Cup '94 and the 1996 Summer Olympics when each were hosted by the United States.

The Orlando Renegades were a USFL team playing at the Citrus Bowl in 1985. They folded with the league in 1986. The Orlando Thunder were a charter team in the World League of American Football in 1991 and 1992. They lost the World Bowl to the Sacramento Surge in 1992. Like all other American teams, it was dropped in the World League reorganization of 1995. The Orlando Rage were a member of the XFL that played at the Citrus Bowl, and only played in 2001. That team has since been revived in the minor-league Southern States Football League (SSFL).

The Orlando Sundogs were a minor-league soccer team in the A-League that played in the Citrus Bowl. They were disbanded in 1997 after only playing one year.

Tinker Field, named for baseball hall-of-famer Joe Tinker, is an old baseball stadium next to the Citrus Bowl, currently out of use. It was formerly the Spring Training home of the Minnesota Twins (and the Washington Nationals/Senators before them) and AA Southern League affiliates of the Twins, Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Posted by airwolf09 16:08 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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