The Great Vegetable Region

(The following is quoted from Illustrated Orange County, Florida, published sometime in the 1890s.)
Some Of The Main Reasons Why It Is One Of The Best Points In The Country For The Location Of The Industrious Settler
  • Oakland welcomes all.
  • Oakland has rich hammock soil.
  • Oakland enjoys water protection from frost.
  • Oakland has excellent churches and schools.
  • Oakland is one of the healthiest towns in the world.
  • Oakland has progressive and substantial merchants.
  • Oakland has a prosperous fish shipping establishment.
  • All of Oakland’s citizens pull together for the community’s good.
  • Oakland has two railroads passing through its corporate limits.
  • Oakland’s inhabitants are made up of the very best elements of society.
  • Oakland is within a short railroad ride of the best fishing in the State.
  • Oakland possesses a comfortably fitted up hall for the use of its citizens.
  • Oakland challenges all creation to compare with her in beauty of location and healthfulness.
  • Oakland and vicinity is admirably adapted to the growth of early vegetables for northern markets.
  • Oakland has one of the best nurseries in the State, where all kinds of tropical plants, fruit trees and rare shrubs can be obtained.
  • Oakland possesses all advantages that any other section of Florida offers, and has many which no other locality in the State can furnish.
  • Oakland don’t (sic) have to depend on the outside world for a living, but raises almost everything necessary for comfortable existence right at home.


The western extremity of Orange county, lying on a high ridge of land between Lake Apopka on the north, and Johns Lake on the south, 50 feet above the former and about 40 above the latter, is a beautiful oak grove of about 100 acres.

Surrounding Country

Land high rolling and particularly adapted to orange growing and truck farming. Cabbage and tomatoes raised in great quantity for northern market. Principal orange groves are on hammock land around Johns Lake and Lake Apopka. The bulk of hammock around Lake Apopka, about 0.25 mile wide and extending around the entire shore of Lake Apopka. (sic) Residences all back from lake, and surrounded by grove only excelled by those on hammock land.

Railroad Facilities

First the Orange Belt Railway, completed to this point in fall of ’80, makes through connections, both for freight and passenger for Jacksonville and northern points, by way of Sanford, carrying U.S. mails and Southern Express. Second the Tavares and Gulf railroad, daily trains for Tavares, where connections is made (sic) with P.C. and P. railway, for Jacksonville and the north.

The Town

Has eight stores, as follows: Five general stores, one hardware and hay, grain and fertilizer, millinery and one drug store, a good country hotel of thirty rooms, a first class livery, sale and feed stable, a number of handsome residences, all of which are and always have been occupied. Not a vacant building of any kind can be found. A large hall arranged for entertainments of all kinds.

The general offices of the Orange Belt railway are located here, as also are their repair shops. These shops are very complete, containing improved machinery and car and engine repairing of all kinds is done. A well 960 feet deep affords most excellent water and the supply seems unlimited. At present some 150,000 gallons per day are pumped out of it, and in a very short time pipes will be laid and the entire town supplied with water. This will give everybody the purest water for drinking, and afford a most excellent protection against fire.

A beautiful park of natural oaks, containing about five acres, is located in the center of the town overlooking Lake Apopka, and picnics, barbecues, etc. are frequently held there. Two churches and a two-story building afford every advantage of their respective lines.

A mayor and board of aldermen manage the affairs of the town, and everything is being done by them to make Oakland a comfortable place for her residents, and a pleasant resting place for visitors. No great effort has ever been made to induce winter tourists to stop among us, but those who have stayed here have expressed themselves well pleased with the beautiful locality and the rich country surrounding it. So many people live just outside of the town limits that it would not be fair to name the exact population of Oakland proper. No less than 500 people get their mail through the Oakland post office.

One thousand feet of clay sidewalks were laid last year, and as means afford, additions will be made. The material for this, the red clay is found in exhaustless quantities about two miles from town right along the track of the railroad underlaying the Apopka sand hills, the back-bone ridge of Florida.