The Ocala Marathon takes place on Sunday

Word of the Day – Weekend Edition



Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


Daily Email

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: 3 times a year
The Canyons Zipline – 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. 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."

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".