Blue birthday hats and festive balloons were all part of the City of Orlando’s 142nd birthday celebration Monday.
Residents used sharpies to sign the city’s new flag, which was adopted last week. The flag was hoisted inside the rotunda then outside City Hall during a break in the rain.
“Even in a tropical story, we’re flexible and adaptable,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, during the ceremony.
Eric Jackson stood in line to purchase the new blue, white and yellow flag that he plans to fly over his Orlando home or his Total Roofing Services office. The $50 flag will show off his pride in living in the City Beautiful.
Greenwood Cemetery Sexton Don Price gave a brief history of the city, which started with just 85 residents when it was incorporated in 1875 and has grown to be the state’s largest inland city with more than 280,000 people.
Back in 1838, the U.S. Army built Fort Gatlin south of the Orlando city limits to protect settlers from attacks by Indians. The area was chosen because it was a defensible position with fresh water between three small lakes and was alleged to be the place Indians planned a 1835 ambush that killed more 100 soldiers. The army abandoned the fort in 1839 and a community known as Jernigan was named after one of the settlers.
There are four different versions of how Orlando got its name.
Some say Judge James Speer, who worked to have Orlando become the county seat, named the city after a man who worked for him. Another is that Speer named it after a character from Shakespeare’s, “As You Like It”.
A third story centers around Mr. Orlando, who was traveling through Orlando on his way to Tampa. The man fell ill, died and was buried and people would say, “There lies Orlando.”
The final theory is that a man named Orlando Reeves was guarding the camp during the Seminole War and spotted a log floating toward him. Recognizing the Indian disguise, Reeves fired a shot to warn his fellow soldiers. Reeves was killed by an Indian’s arrow and was buried on the south side of Lake Eola.