Marion County, named after General Francis Marion, was born 175 years ago this month. By the year 1847, families had begun settling in the area and a post office, newspaper and courthouse were established. By 1858, Ocala was a leading social and business center for the state. In 1883, on Thanksgiving Day, fire destroyed much of the newly established town square. The businesses were eventually rebuilt, this time with brick, leaving Ocala known as the Brick City.
The above photo, taken six years after the fire, shows a view looking east down Broadway towards First Avenue. The Marion Block Building is seen in the center of the photo. Today, that building houses Harry’s Restaurant. At the time of this photo, Ocala had grown to four square miles and the population had increased to 1,895. It was the fifth largest town in Florida.
To view more historic photos, visit the 1 at http://cdm16873.contentdm.oclc.org
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