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Facts About Orlando that Gives the Vacationer Some Background

Interesting Facts about Orlando, Florida’s History

Orlando, Florida has become synonymous with theme parks, vacations and fun. It also has an ever-rowing convention trade, as people can travel to this area and find a temperate climate year-round. But other than its nice weather and never-ending things to do, the whole area has a nice feel to it, with gently rolling terrain and lakes in abundance. It is no wonder it has become a place for people all over the United States and the world to make Orlando their permanent retirement home.  Here are a few facts about Orlando that will give you a back-story on this very interesting area that so many people come back to time after time.

Where Did the Name “Orlando” Come From?

No one can say for certain where the name “Orlando” originated from. Perhaps the best explanation is one of a transplanted South Carolinian named Orlando Savage Rees, who owned a large estate in the area and died in 1835. At the time the small town was named Jernigan, a local military commander. But after he had a fall from grace they decided to change the name to Orlando, supposedly after the landowner. But nobody seems to know for sure.

The Reconstruction Era after the Civil War brought about a population explosion, and it became incorporated as a city in 1885. From 1875 to 1895 Orlando became the center of Florida’s citrus trade, and things boomed until the great freeze of 1894-95 forced out many independent grove owners, and were taken over by citrus barons who moved their operations south.

The Florida land boom of the 1920s was the next golden era, which quickly ended in Orlando and all over Florida with the Great Depression in the 1930s. During World War II Orlando Army Air Base housed a number of Army personnel, and with the establishment of the United States Air Force in 1947 it became an air base, in 1958 taking on the name of McCoy Air Force Base, finally closing for good in 1975.

Walt Disney (and Air Conditioning) Changed the Course of Orlando’s History

So in 1960 Orlando was a military town with some industry such as Lockheed Martin and a rather small, with the entire metropolitan area at much less than half a million. That is far less than a quarter of its 2010 metro population, and one man it can be said was the catalyst for a good part of that growth. That man of course was Walt Disney, who in 1965 announced plans to build Walt Disney World. This was the start of one of the areas of greatest growth with that announcement.

Today it is certainly tourism but much more, as Metro Orlando has 71 skyscrapers and is now a major industrial and hi-tech center. With Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Universal Studios and other entertainment companies and schools, it has become a player in the film and television, and as of July 1, 2011 filmmakers will now be eligible for transferable tax credits for films shot in Florida. That is a very big deal for the industry. Healthcare is also taking on a greater presence in the area, with more retirees now residing in the area.

These are all very good reasons why the Orlando area in central Florida is the place to be in the coming years. Add in the fact that there is no state income tax for Florida residents, and it becomes not just a great place to vacation but also to live. The area will have its work cut out for it keeping up with the necessary infrastructure with the ever-increasing numbers of people.

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