Ocoee, Florida

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Ocoee, Florida
The Withers-Maguire House
"The Center of Good Living"
Location in Orange County and the state of Florida
Location in Orange County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 28°34′27″N 81°31′50″W / 28.57417°N 81.53056°W / 28.57417; -81.53056Coordinates: 28°34′27″N 81°31′50″W / 28.57417°N 81.53056°W / 28.57417; -81.53056
Country United States
State Florida
County Orange
Incorporated (town)November 22, 1923
Incorporated (city)1925
 • MayorRusty Johnson[1]
 • Total16.29 sq mi (42.20 km2)
 • Land15.31 sq mi (39.65 km2)
 • Water0.98 sq mi (2.55 km2)
121 ft (37 m)
 • Total35,579
 • Estimate 
 • Density3,152.59/sq mi (1,217.25/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)407, 689
FIPS code12-51075[5]
GNIS feature ID0288049[6]
WebsiteCity of Ocoee

Ocoee (/əˈk.i/) is a city in Orange County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 35,579.[7] It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Founding and early history[edit]

In the mid-1850s, Dr. J.D. Starke, stricken with malaria, led a group of slaves, similarly stricken, to the north side of an open pine wooded lake that provided clear and clean water to avoid further malaria outbreaks. The camp built by the group provided a base of operations from which to commute during the day to work the fields near Lake Apopka and rest at night. As the camp grew into a village, it took the name Starke Lake, a name the lake upon which the group settled bears to this day. The city's population increased further after the American Civil War as Confederate soldiers and their families settled into the area, including Captain Bluford Sims and General William Temple Withers who wintered at the location.[8] Captain Sims received a land grant for a 74-acre parcel to the west of Starke Lake in what is now the downtown portion of Ocoee on October 5, 1883.[9] In 1886, Captain Sims, along with a group of original settlers, led an effort to have the town platted and changed the name to Ocoee, after a river he grew up near in Tennessee.[9] Ocoee is a Cherokee Indian word anglicized from uwagahi, meaning "apricot vine place"[10] and this inspired the choice of the city's flower.[11]

Bluford Sims began groundbreaking work in budding wild orange trees while in Ocoee. His commercial citrus nursery was the first in the United States in Ocoee, supplying many other groves in Florida with their first trees as well as shipping young citrus trees to California.[10] The construction of the Florida Midland Railroad in the 1880s spurred growth in the area and many more settlers moved in.[11]

Ocoee massacre[edit]

On November 2, 1920, after July Perry and Mose Norman, two black men, attempted to vote and encouraged other blacks to vote, the entire black population of the town was attacked by a mob organized by the Ku Klux Klan. On the night of the massacre, white World War I veterans from throughout Orange County murdered dozens of African American residents. Hazen, Bob (January 7, 2020), "Ocoee leaders seek eminent domain over area believed to be historic black cemetery," https://www.wesh.com/article/ocoee-leaders-seek-eminent-domain-over-area-believed-to-be-historic-black-cemetery/30434506# At least 24 black homes were burned, the institutions constituting the black community were destroyed and Perry was lynched.[12] Before the massacre, Ocoee's black population numbered approximately five hundred; after the massacre, however, the black population was nearly eliminated. For more than 40 years, Ocoee remained an all-white sundown town.[13][14] In 2018, the city commission issued a proclamation formally acknowledging the massacre and declaring that Ocoee is no longer a sundown town.[15] The city has not yet issued an apology. Johnson, Whitney (November 6, 2020), "A Century After Massacre, Descendants Make a Point of Voting," National Geographic https://email.nationalgeographic.com/H/2/v6000001759f2c481a9834ee6e96c660a0/4abed65a-d0b7-4c07-bfae-deba30def7ba/HTML.

Incorporation and modern history[edit]

Ocoee was incorporated in 1922[10] (or 1923[11]) and became a city in 1925.[11]

Highway construction was the impetus for Ocoee's growth in the 20th century. State Road 50 (SR 50) was constructed south of downtown Ocoee in 1959 and provided a direct east-west connection between the City and a growing Orlando. The development of what would become Florida State Road 50 made the town more accessible to housing developers.[11] Florida's Turnpike was opened just south of downtown Ocoee in 1964.[11] In late 1990, Ocoee was connected to Orlando by a western extension of Florida State Road 408 (the East-West Expressway) which then joined the Florida's Turnpike south of SR 50.[11] In 2000, the completion of Florida State Road 429 (the Western Expressway) linked Ocoee with Walt Disney World to the south.[11]


Ocoee is located at 28°34′27″N 81°31′50″W / 28.574050°N 81.530596°W / 28.574050; -81.530596.[16]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.7 square miles (40.6 km2), of which 14.7 square miles (38.1 km2) is land and 0.97 square miles (2.5 km2) (6.12%) is water.[17]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)48,263[22]35.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 24,391 people, 8,072 households, and 6,554 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,843.1 inhabitants per square mile (711.8/km2). There were 8,405 housing units at an average density of 635.1 per square mile (245.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.47% White, 6.59% African American, 0.35% Native American, 2.93% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 6.22% from other races, and 2.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.20% of the population.

There were 8,072 households, out of which 44.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.9% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.8% were non-families. 13.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.99 and the average family size was 3.28.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.2% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 36.2% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,225, and the median income for a family was $56,865. Males had a median income of $33,628 versus $26,519 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,896. About 4.2% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.6% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2005-2009 American Community Survey the population was 31,544, and the city had a racial makeup of 74.9% White, 13.8% African American, 4.0% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.4% some other race and 1.6% two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 16.6%.


Ocoee was served by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The Ocoee station burned in a fire of undetermined origin on December 4, 1928.[24]


Residents are zoned to Orange County Public Schools.[25]

High schools serving sections of Ocoee include Ocoee High School,[26] West Orange High School.[27] and Olympia High School.[28]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mayor". City of Ocoee, FL. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  3. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  7. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Ocoee city, Florida". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  8. ^ Maguire, Nancy (September 17, 1998). "Ocoee House Is Gateway To Past". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando: Tribune. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Fyotek, Cassandra (2009). Historic Orange County:The Story of Orlando and Orange County. Historical Publishing Network. p. 144. ISBN 1893619990. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c "City of Ocoee" Archived 2013-06-26 at the Wayback Machine at Florida League of Cities municipal directory. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "City History" at City of Ocoee official website. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  12. ^ Brockell, Gillian (2 November 2020). "A White mob unleashed the worst Election Day violence in U.S. history in Florida a century ago". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 November 2020 – via Chron.
  13. ^ Edward Ericson Jr. "Dead Wrong." Orlando Weekly. October 1, 1998. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  14. ^ Go Ahead On, Ocoee - A Narrative Documentary Film by Bianca White & Sandra Krasa.
  15. ^ Hudak, Stephen (November 20, 2018). "Ocoee, where massacre occurred in 1920, aims to shed past reputation as 'sundown' town". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. A1.
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Ocoee city, Florida". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  18. ^ ThreadEx
  19. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  20. ^ "Station Name: FL ORLANDO INTL AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  21. ^ "WMO Climate Normals for ORLANDO/JETPORT, FL 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  22. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  23. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  24. ^ Associated Press, "Station burns down", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Florida, Wednesday, December 5, 1928, Volume 4, Number 51, page one.
  25. ^ "Zoning Map. Ocoee, Florida. Retrieved on April 22, 2017.
  26. ^ "Ocoee High School Attendance Zone." Orange County Public Schools Office of Planning & Governmental Relations. January 9, 2015. Retrieved on April 22, 2017.
  27. ^ "West Orange High School Zone Archived 2017-04-22 at the Wayback Machine." Orange County Public Schools Department of Pupil Assignment. January 7, 2017. Retrieved on April 22, 2017.
  28. ^ "Olympia High School Zone Archived 2017-04-21 at the Wayback Machine." Orange County Public Schools Department of Pupil Assignment. February 11, 2016. Retrieved on April 21, 2017.


  1. ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  2. ^ Orlando Int'l became the official station of record for Orlando in February 1974.[18]

External links[edit]