ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Ocala Historic District in Ocala, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Ocala Historic District in Ocala, Florida
Ocala Historic District
A stunning array of historic homes line the
oak-shaded route of Southeast Fort King Avenue
in Ocala, Florida.
Ocala Historic District
The Veranda now houses a
collection of unique shops
and a tea room. It is an Ocala
landmark.
Rheinauer House
Once known as the Seven
Sisters Inn, this house in the
Ocala Historic District is one
of America's "most haunted."
200 Historic Structures
The Ocala Historic District
was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places in
1984.
Ocala Historic District - Ocala, Florida
Architecture & History in Ocala
Site of Fort King
Ocala grew from Fort King, a
19th century military post built
as a contact and defense
point in a vast Seminole
reservation.
Copyright 2010 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
One of the most unique collections of historic
structures in Florida, the Ocala Historic
District covers 173 acres and encompasses
more than 200 historic homes and structures.
Added to the National Register of Historic
Places in 1984, the Ocala Historic District
includes homes of the Queen Anne, Frame
Vernacular, various Revival and bungalow
styles. The streets are lined with massive
oaks and each of the beautiful old homes
has a story of its own.

The historic district is bordered by Broadway,
Southeast 8th, Silver Springs Place,
Southeast 3rd, 13th, and Watula and centers
along Fort King Street. There is great
historical significance in this alignment.

What is now Fort King Street was originally
the Fort King Road, chopped through the
woods during the 1820s to connect old
Fort
King with Fort Brooke at Tampa Bay. The site
of Fort King is on the north side of Southeast
Fort King Street, just east of the district. A
historical marker denotes the actual location
of the fort, no trace of which remains.

After nearby
Silver Springs received glowing
attention in a scientific journal in 1870,
tourists began to flood to Ocala. They initially
came by paddlewheel steamboat, but it was
not long before a railroad reached the city
making travel even easier for visitors. As a
result, Ocala prospered.

This led Joseph Caldwell to plat land in what
is now the Ocala Historic District for
development in 1880. Beautiful and quite
large homes soon began to spring up on
Caldwell's addition, which was part of a
Spanish land grant originally conferred on
Don Antonio Alvarez in 1817.

Hundreds of homes and other structures
were constructed in the district between 1880
and 1930 and more than 200 survive today.
Their historical significance and architectural
beauty are magnified by the stunning cover of
oaks, small open spaces and large lots that
create a wonderland of history and nature.

Among the noted homes in the Ocala
Historic District are several worthy of special
attention. The Dunn House at 416 Fort King
Street, for example, is a stunning example of
the Queen Anne Revival style and was built
for John Dunn, a banker, industrialist and
early mayor of Ocala. The nearby town of
Dunnellon, home of
Rainbow Springs State
Park, was named for him.

The Z.C. Chambliss Home at 743 Fort King
Street is another fine example of Queen Anne
Revival architecture. Built in around 1891, the
home is noted for its glass and woodwork.
The Bullock Home at 808 Fort King was
owned by the son of Confederate General
Robert Bullock and the Burford House at 943
Fort King was built in around 1893 as the
home of local attorney Robert Burford. It was
Burford who, in 1898, introduced Lieutenant
Colonel Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt from
the back of a railroad car in Ocala as the
"future President of the United States." He
may have been the first person ever to do so.

While most of the beautiful homes in the
Ocala Historic District are private and must
be viewed from the sidewalk, visitors are
welcome at The Veranda, which is located at
416 Fort King Street. Built in 1888, this
unique old structure is now home to a nice
collection of shops. It is open Monday
through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For those with a taste for history that seems
to "hang around" into the present, the historic
Rheinauer House at 828 Fort King Street is
said to be one of the most haunted houses
in America. The house is available for ghost
tours, but they must be arranged in advance.
Please click here for more information.