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The History of Orlando

The history of Orlando dates back to 1838 in the midst of the Seminole Wars. The United States Army built Fort Gatlin to the south of the present-day city limits in an effort to protect the settlers from attacks. By 1840, a small community, known as Jernigan (after the first family of settlers), had developed at the Fort. In 1856, after the settlement expanded to the north, the community changed its name to Orlando. The city was incorporated in 1875 with 85 residents, 22 of whom were registered voters.

The Origin of Orlando’s Name

It’s unclear where the name Orlando originated, and four stories are often told. The first tale involves Judge James Speer, who worked hard to get Orlando named as the county seat of Orange County and named the city after someone who worked with him. Another possibility is that Speer named it after a character from Shakespeare’s play As You Like It.

A third story suggests that Mr. Orlando was traveling to Tampa when he got sick and died. After he was buried, travelers would come by and say, “There lies Orlando.”

The final tale focuses on a group of soldiers during the Seminole Wars. After battling on the east side of Lake Minnie (renamed Cherokee), they settled in for the night. As Sentinel Orlando Reeves was guarding the camp, he spotted a log in the water, which he recognized as a disguised Indian. He fired his gun to warn his company before he was ambushed and killed. He was later buried on the south side of Lake Eola.

Living in Orlando

Today, thanks to its above-average public schools, diversity, and beautiful weather, Orlando is one of the best places to live in Florida and also one of the top cities in the country for young professionals and families. The nearly 290,000 residents enjoy the urban-suburban feel and appreciate the opportunity to spend time outside, thanks to the many walking and biking trails, theme parks, nearby beaches, and more.

It’s no surprise that the real estate market in the fourth largest city in the Sunshine State is booming! Home supply is at a 20-year-low, making it a difficult time to find a house. Even so, the city is growing. Amazon Fulfillment recently brought 4,000 jobs to Central Florida, making Orlando the current leader in job growth in the country. Additionally, for the third year in a row, Forbes named Orlando the best place to buy a house. Check out our current listings from The Urban Dog Group for properties in Orlando and other areas of Central Florida!

For an in-depth look at the real estate market in Orlando, check out this recent Orlando Business Journal article featuring Christine Elias and The Urban Dog Group!

You can find the first two installments of our The History Of series below:

Let The Urban Dog Group help you with your real estate needs in Orlando and other areas of Central Florida! Contact Christine Elias at


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