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OCALA (oh-KAL-uh)

City of north-central Florida

Common clues: Florida citrus center; City near Gainesville; Florida horse-breeding city; Seat of Marion County, Florida; City in central Florida

Crossword puzzle frequency: 4 times a year

News: Ocala Marathon expects about 1,600 runners

Video: Flying around Ocala

Ocala is a city located in Marion County, Florida. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 45,943. It is the county seat of Marion County.

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."

John Travolta’s home in Ocala

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.

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."

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

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.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ocala, Florida".  

OCALA (206) 48 Tu >1 07 Florida city MIAMI TAMPA

20 Tu >1 08 Central Florida city

13 We- >1 99 City south of Gainesville

9 We+ >1 00 City NW of Orlando

9 Fr- >1 03 Florida's ___ National Forest

8 Tu >1 07 Sunshine State city MIAMI

7 Th- NYT 88 Fla. city

6 Th- >1 06 City SSE of Gainesville

6 Th- >1 08 Seat of Marion County, Florida

5 We- >1 05 City near Gainesville

5 We- >1 04 Florida citrus center

4 Tu- >1 07 City in central Florida

4 Th+ >1 00 City west of Daytona Beach

4 Th- >1 09 Seat of Florida's Marion County

4 We+ >1 00 Silver Springs neighbor

3 Th+ >1 04 Citrus city

3 Tu- >1 03 City between Gainesville and Orlando

3 Fr- >1 08 City in Florida's horse country

97 FL city

3 We+ >1 01 Seat of Marion County, Fla.

2 Sa- >1 07 Central Florida Community College site

2 We CSy 05 City in north-central Florida

2 Th- >1 08 City northwest of Orlando

2 >1 03 Florida citrus city

04 Florida city in puzzles

2 Tu- >1 08 Queen of Mount Olympus