History Happened Here

A campaign commemorating Florida's diverse cities.
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Osceola County

Year Founded: 1883


The city began as a small trading post on the shores of Lake Tohopekaliga (“Toho,” for short). Settlers lived and farmed in the Shingle Creek area. Many of the farmers became ranchers because of the area’s vast ranges. Kissimmee is an Indian word meaning “heaven’s place.” The arrival of the railroad and Kissimmee’s location on Lake Toho played an important part in the growth and prosperity of the city in the early 1900s. In the 1920s, the citrus industry and cattle ranching became the dominant economic base. Kissimmee became known for its ranches and in 1941 the Silver Spurs Rodeo was started, a tradition that continues to this day. The opening of Disney World in 1971, just 10 miles west of town, dramatically changed the city. The city’s population increased four-fold from 1970 to 1990. Even though the growth of commercial development and the influx of new residents continue to impact the city daily, Kissimmee has managed to maintain its unique charm and outstanding quality of life. Kissimmee is the county seat.

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