The history of the Orlando area dates back to the height of the Seminole Wars in approximately 1838. It was at this time that the U. S. Army built Fort Gaitlin south of the present-day city to protect settlers from Indian attacks. By 1840, a small community named Jernigan had sprouted up around Fort Gaitlin. The community was beginning to expand northward by 1856 and officially changed its name to Orlando.

The most interesting part of Orlando?s history centers around the origin of its name. One story says that Judge James Speer, who worked heavily toward getting the city designated as the county seat, named Orlando after a man he had once employed. Another version is that Judge Speer named the city after Shakespeare?s character in ?As You Like It.? A third version has a Mr. Orlando traveling to Tampa with a caravan of oxen. On the way, he died and was buried. Thereafter, people would come by and say, ?There lays Orlando.?

The final and most common story involves the army. A sentinel named Orlando Reeves was guarding a camp during the Seminole Wars when he spied a ?log? floating toward him-a common Indian ploy. He fired his gun to warn his fellow soldiers, but was killed as Indians began to fire arrows, ambushing the camp. According to the story, the south side of Lake Eola was the chosen site of Orlando?s grave.

Local Weather

The communities of Bay Hill and Doctor Phillips enjoy the same temperate weather that the city of Orlando enjoys. Central Florida?s subtropical climate is one of its biggest attractions, with a pleasant 72.4 degrees as its average annual temperature. The beautiful landscape, the mild climate and the incredible attractions lure huge numbers of tourists and new residents annually, as well as numerous celebrity residents.


Arnold Palmer is the best-known resident of the community of Bay Hill and he proudly calls Bay Hill Club and Lodge his home course. The club hosts a PGA Tour tournament called the Bay Hill Invitational. The tournament?s list of winners -- including such greats as Fred Couples, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson -- reads like a ?Who?s Who? of golf. Bay Hill is a private club, but members and guests of the beautiful 65-room Bay Hill Lodge can play the ?Herculean? 7,207-yard course. Non-golfers will find plenty to relish at Bay Hill as well. The lodge?s salon and spa offer top-notch ways to relax and its meeting facilities are an unparalleled venue for business matters.

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