See Rock City

See Rock City

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Apopka, FL

Apopka (APK) is a city located in Orange County, Florida, United States. The population was 26,969 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2006, the city grew to 53,563. It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee Metropolitan Statistical Area. Apopka is an Indian word for “Potato eating place”. Popka is coincidentally a Ukrainian term for a small butt.

Looking east at Road 500, 1956


The earliest known inhabitants of the Apopka area were the Acuera people, members of the Timucua confederation. They had disappeared by 1730, probably decimated by diseases brought to Florida by Spanish colonists.

Route through downtown area crossing Central Avenue, 1956

The Acuera were succeeded by refugees from Alabama and Georgia, who formed the new Seminole Indian Tribe. They called the area "Ahapopka," which means "potato eating place." By the 1830s, this settlement numbered about 200, and was the birthplace of the chief Coacoochee (known in English as "Wild Cat").

View of Lake Tsala Apopka

At the conclusion of the Second Seminole War, the U.S. Congress passed the Armed Occupation Act of 1842, forcing surviving natives at Ahapopka to abandon their village and seek refuge deeper in the wilderness of the Florida peninsula.

Man fishing in Lake Apopka by Johnson's Fishing Camp

Johnson's Fishing Camp at Lake Apopka

Walker's Fishing Camp at Lake Apopka

The early American settlers built a major trading center on the foundations of the earlier Indian settlement. Their population was large enough by 1857 to support the establishment of a Masonic lodge. In 1859 the lodge erected a permanent meeting place at what is now the intersection of Main Street (U.S. Highway 441) and Alabama Avenue.

Pat's Place on Highway 441 : Apopka, Florida

The settlers in the vicinity of "The Lodge" were largely isolated during the American Civil War, but the area rebounded once peace was re-established, and a population boom followed the construction of railroad lines through the region.

Masonic Lodge, Orange Lodge No. 36 F.A.M. : Apopka, Florida

In 1882 the one square mile surrounding "The Lodge" was officially incorporated under the name "Apopka."

In 1905, the Apopka City Council authorized incorporation of the Apopka Water, Light, and Ice Company. Councilman A.M. Starbird was appointed its manager, but it was not until voters approved a $9,000 bond in 1914 that he was able to contract with International Harvester Corporation to construct a power plant, so electricity was not available in the city until February 10, 1915. This independent utility company was one of many that were gobbled up by the Florida Public Service Corporation in the 1920s. They continued to manage the city's utility needs until the 1940s, when they sold off its ice plants to the Atlantic Company, its electric service to Florida Power Corporation, and its water services to Florida Utilities.

The Palms Hotel

Present-day Apopka

Apopka's mayor, John Land, has served for over 55 years (with a short three-year gap) and is one of the longest serving mayors still in office.

William Edwards Hotel : Apopka, Florida

William Edwards Hotel

Apopka is a fast-growing city and is expanding in all directions. Most notable are the new Lowes and Home Depot DIY stores to the north of the city on US 441 in the location of the previous Dunn Citrus grove (the stretch of 441 which runs through the city is named after Fred N. Dunn). Other businesses on the former Dunn Citrus site include Staples office supply and a second Chili's restaurant.

The new Apopka bypass (to be named after Mayor Land) will relieve some of 441's traffic, taking the route from what is now the 441 junction with SR 429, and then passing south of the city to rejoin 441 at its junction with Maitland Blvd. south of the city.

Points of interest

Carroll Building

Apopka Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot

Mitchill-Tibbetts House

Museum of the Apopkans

Ryan & Company Lumber Yard

Waite-Davis House

Camp Thunderbird


Apopka is served by Orange County Public Schools.

A satellite campus of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy is located in Apopka.

University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Science Mid-Florida Research and Education Center is located in Apopka.

Notable residents

John Anderson - country singer

Sawyer Brown - country music band founded in Apopka

Rogers Beckett - former NFL safety

Jerry Lawson - former lead singer of the The Persuasions

Brandon Meriweather - former University of Miami All-American safety and presently a defensive back for the New England Patriots

Warren Sapp - All-Pro NFL defensive lineman

Monty Sopp - professional wrestler, former WWF/E World Tag Team, Intercontinental, and Hardcore Champion

Glenn Hubbard - dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Business

Apopka in Literature

Apopka is referenced in Zora Neale Hurston's famous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

External link:

City Of Apopka