Kissimmee is located in the southernmost part of the Walt Disney World Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. It is also one of the busiest tourist spots in the area and contains two themed parks, two water parks, and a massive theme park and shopping complex. Kissimmee is named after a French river where travelers boat around on their way to the US. It is divided into five sections: Eastern Promenade, Western Promenade, Central Park, Northwest Side, and Downtown Kissimmee. The city was incorporated as a city in July of 1961, and although has changed a lot over the years, it still holds the distinction of being the second largest city in the state of Florida.
The History of Kissimmee starts with the French immigrants who settled here initially. In fact, the first European to set foot on US soil was from France. A man by the name of Gaston Le Clerc was sold a plot of land by an English farmer in Florida. He started cultivating and farming and later began his own land speculation company. He began selling oranges, limes, melons, and other fruits and vegetables, which would take him to many parts of the United States. His business flourished until he had enough money to construct a mansion known as Fortine aux Baux, which overlooks Lake Estero today.
As time passed, Gaston Le Clerc expanded his business, and in turn, his estate grew. He also hired surveyors to keep track of his lands, which included the Florida Keys. At the time, Florida was an independent nation and had no central government or national flag. The beginning of the 20th century saw two flags for the state: The Stars and Bars (the old Florida State Flag), and the Old State Seal. The total population of the state was close to fifty million people at that point in time.
The period prior to the Civil War saw a huge boom in Florida real estate, which was facilitated by the arrival of thousands of US soldiers from the North and South during the war. Some of them ended up in Florida, particularly around Pensacola, which became the center of the cotton industry. During this period in Florida’s history, the real estate market flourished, and real estate prices increased dramatically. By the end of the decade, there were about half a million residents in the Florida Keys alone.
The next decade saw another large boom in Florida real estate, which was facilitated by another large influx of US soldiers, most of whom came from the Southern states. They brought with them lots of new ideas, especially in the area of construction. As the city grew, so did its population, and the development of communities such as Bradenton Beach and Celebration, now known as Miracle Mile, literally blew the doors off the old neighborhood of Kissimmee. Other new neighborhoods sprung up in the area including those in Apopka, Belle Isle, and Edmond. Real estate prices continued to climb, and by the early twentieth century, when the Second World War hit, Miami was the hot spot for construction, and this resulted in an even larger increase in the total population of the city. Today, when you add all the numbers, it becomes clear that Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the country.
But, are things better today? While some areas suffered from desolation after the Civil War, overall the Florida landscape has seen much development. Also, the historic part of Kissimmee has seen a revival of sorts, with many historic buildings and sites being renovated and restored. One of the main areas of development today is the University of Miami, which has created many colleges and educational centers in the area, but it’s also home to tons of nightclubs and restaurants.