Kissimmee in Florida

Friday, 20 October 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Lakefront Park © Miosotis Jade/cc-by-sa-4.0

Lakefront Park © Miosotis Jade/cc-by-sa-4.0

Kissimmee is a city in Osceola County in Florida with a population of 69,000. It is the county seat of Osceola County. It is a Principal City of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which a population of 2.4 million. The Shingle Creek Regional Trail (SCRT) is an inter-governmental project that will eventually connect Kissimmee to Orlando through a 32-mile bicycle trail. It runs along the environmentally sensitive Shingle Creek, and was included on President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors list. Various parts of the trail are currently open, with many parts to be completed by 2016. It will be 12 feet wide, composed variously of bridges and paved roadway, and travel through mostly undeveloped area. Kissimmee is home to a number of golf courses and mini-golf courses. Kissimmee is also home to the Loop, a large outdoor shopping mall at John Young and Osceola Parkways on the Orange/Osceola County line. It features stores such as American Eagle, Kohls, and Best Buy. There is also a multi-plex theater. Kissimmee also features a unique transformation of the former Osceola Square Mall into a Spanish-style marketplace called Plaza Del Sol. Kissimmee is near Orlando, home to Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld, and Lake Buena Vista/Bay Lake, home to Walt Disney World Resort, allowing tourists to access the parks through the city.

This area was originally named Allendale, after Confederate Major J. H. Allen who operated the first cargo steamboat along the Kissimmee River – the Mary Belle. It was renamed Kissimmee when incorporated as a city in 1883. The etymology of the name Kissimmee is debated, apart from general agreement that it is Native American in origin. Its growth can be credited to Hamilton Disston of Philadelphia, who based his four-million acre (8,000 km²) drainage operation out of the small town. Disston had contracted with the financially wobbly state of Florida to drain its southern lands, for which he would own half of all he successfully drained. This deal made Disston the largest single landowner in the United States. Disston’s dredging and land speculation required a small steamboat industry to transport people and goods along the new waterway. The Kissimmee shipyard was responsible for building most of these large steamships, which were just one jump ahead of civilization—with Kissimmee as the jumping off point. Concurrently, the South Florida Railroad was growing and extended the end of its line from Sanford down to Kissimmee, making the town on Lake Tohopekaliga a transportation hub for Central Florida. On February 12, 1885, the Florida Legislature incorporated the Kissimmee City Street Railway. But the heyday of Kissimmee was short-lived. Expanding railroads began to challenge the steamships for carrying freight and passengers. By 1884, the South Florida Railroad, now part of the Plant System, had extended its tracks to Tampa. The Panic of 1893 was the worst depression the U.S. had experienced up to that time, crushing land speculation and unsound debt. Hamilton Disston closed his Kissimmee land operation. Consecutive freezes in 1894 and 1895 wiped out the citrus industry. The freezes, combined with South Florida‘s growth and the relocation of steamship operations to Lake Okeechobee, left Kissimmee dependent on open range cattle ranching.

Old Town © Miosotis Jade/cc-by-sa-4.0 Kissimmee Historic District © Ebyabe/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kissimmee Historic District © Ebyabe/cc-by-sa-3.0 Colonial Estate © Ebyabe/cc-by-sa-2.5 Lakefront Park © Miosotis Jade/cc-by-sa-4.0 Lakefront Park © Miosotis Jade/cc-by-sa-4.0 Old Town © Miosotis Jade/cc-by-sa-4.0 Old Town © Miosotis Jade/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Kissimmee Historic District © Ebyabe/cc-by-sa-3.0
Kissimmee had a population of 4,310 in 1950. At that point there was some citrus packing as well as the ranching. Ranching remained an important part of the local economy until the opening of nearby Walt Disney World in 1971. After that, tourism and development supplanted cattle ranching to a large measure. However, even though the Disney facility took over much of the open range cattle lands, cattle ranches still operate nearby, particularly in the southern part of Osceola County. On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley passed through Kissimmee with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour, damaging homes and buildings, toppling trees and cutting electrical power to the entire city. Kissimmee Utility Authority restored power to 54 percent of the residents in the first 72 hours; 85 percent were restored within one week. Service was restored to all customers on August 28. Three weeks after Hurricane Charley, the area was struck by Hurricane Frances, followed by Hurricane Jeanne three weeks after Frances.

The downtown area lies near the intersection of U.S. Highway 17/92 and U.S. Highway 192. The downtown of Kissimmee does not possess any big skyscrapers; most of the buildings are two or three stories high. The biggest and the tallest building in the downtown is the Osceola County courthouse. The main thoroughfare follows along Highway 17/Highway 92 through the city’s center and is a combination of three streets: Main Street, Broadway Street, and Emmett Street. The downtown area consists largely of restaurants, small shops, and historic residences. The University of Central Florida has a business incubator located in the area that is an important part of the economic engine downtown. Sites of interest are Colonial Estate, First United Methodist Church, Grass Island, Kissimmee Historic District, Monument of States, Old Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Osceola Arts (formally Osceola Center for the Arts), Osceola County Courthouse, Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum, Old Osceola Courthouse (oldest continually operating courthouse in state), Makinson Island, Old Town, and Orange World – World’s Largest Orange.

Read more on Kissimmee Tourism, VisitFlorida.com – Kissimmee, Old Town, Wikivoyage Kissimmee and Wikipedia Kissimmee (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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