Peace River (Florida)
The Peace River is a river in the southwestern part of the Florida peninsula, in the U. S. A.. It originates at the juncture of Saddle Creek and Peace Creek northeast of Bartow in Polk County and flows south through Fort Meade Hardee County to Arcadia in DeSoto County and southwest into the Charlotte Harbor estuary at Port Charlotte in Charlotte County, it has a drainage basin of 1,367 square miles. U. S. Highway 17 runs near and somewhat parallel to the river for much of its course; the river was called Rio de la Paz on 16th century Spanish charts. It appeared as Peas Creek or Pease Creek on maps; the Creek Indians call it River of Long Peas. Other cities along the Peace River include Fort Meade and Zolfo Springs. Fresh water from the Peace River is vital to maintain the delicate salinity of Charlotte Harbor that hosts several endangered species, as well as commercial and recreational harvests of shrimp and fish; the river has always been a vital resource to the people in its watershed. The abundant fishery and wildlife of Charlotte Harbor supported large populations of people of the Caloosahatchee culture.
Today, the Peace River supplies over six million gallons per day of drinking water to the people in the region. The river is popular for canoeing. There were many Pleistocene and Miocene fossils found throughout the Peace River area leading to the discovery of phosphate deposits. Most of the northern watershed of the Peace River comprises an area known as the Bone Valley; the Peace River is a popular destination for fossil hunters who dig and sift the river gravel for fossilized shark teeth and prehistoric mammal bones. Several campgrounds and canoe rental operations cater to fossil hunters, with Wauchula, Zolfo Springs, Arcadia being the main points of entry. Kissingen Springs South Atlantic-Gulf Water Resource Region O'Donnell, Brian. "Peace River," in Marth and Marty Marth, eds. The Rivers of Florida. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. ISBN 0-910923-70-1. USGS Real-Time Water Data for Peace River at Zolfo Springs USGS Real-Time Water Data for Peace River at Arcadia Media related to Peace River at Wikimedia Commons
Florida SouthWestern State College
Florida SouthWestern State College is a state college in Southwest Florida. Known as Edison State College, The college has its main campus in Fort Myers in Lee County, satellite campuses in Charlotte and Collier counties, outreach programs in Hendry and Glades counties, it was founded in 1962 and named after Thomas Edison as Edison Junior College, renamed Edison Community College in 1972, renamed Edison College in 2004, renamed Edison State College in 2008, renamed Florida SouthWestern State College in 2014. The college known as Edison Junior College, admitted its first students in the fall of 1962; the college was named after inventor and industrialist Thomas Edison, who wintered in Fort Myers. The Lee Campus opened in 1965 on an 80-acre site with three buildings; the nursing program began on that campus with a $50,000 donation in 1968. The name changed to Edison Community College in 1972, just after the first nursing classes began to graduate. Ten years in 1982, a branch campus of University of South Florida campus was dedicated.
The college's arts hall, the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, opened its doors in 1986; this Hall became the prime location for performing arts in Lee County. Construction on the Collier County Campus at Lely lasted from 1991–92, on a 50-acre site in Naples, FL. Soon after that, the Charlotte County Campus opened in 1997, on a 204-acre plot of land in Punta Gorda, FL; this is the largest campus to date. The college revised its mission by publishing a new strategic plan, The Decade of Promise, in 2002; the college again changed its name in 2004, to Edison College. The college continued to expand through the 2000s with increased funding for the nursing program and the new Richard H. Rush Library on the Lee Campus. 2008 saw a fourth name change to Edison State College, a new torch logo with blue and yellow colors to reflect the college's new status as a baccalaureate-granting state college. Multiple new baccalaureate programs opened over the next decade, including Middle Grades Mathematics and Language Arts Education.
The name and colors were changed for the fifth and final time to date in 2014. This name broke the ties to Thomas Edison, the college's former namesake; the new name, Florida SouthWestern State College, reflects the wide region. One of the primary reasons for the change was to avoid confusion with Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey due to new online courses with a nationwide reach. In 2011, Edison's faculty senate approved a vote of no confidence in the college president and senior vice president, amid allegations of employment discrimination, inappropriately high salaries for key administrators, problems with the accreditation of the nursing program. A few weeks President Kenneth Walker, who had led the college for over twenty years, announced plans to resign. Edison's governing District Board of Trustees fired Walker in January 2012. In June 2012, Edison's accrediting agency placed the college on probation; the agency cited several factors, including the institution's inability to demonstrate integrity.
Under new leadership, Edison saw its accreditation reaffirmed and its probation lifted in June 2013. Degree offerings include 19 associate's degrees, 10 bachelor's degrees, 10 certificate programs, with emphasis on business, technology and education programs; the college enrolls more than 3,500 dual enrollment students per year. Non-credit continuing education courses are offered. FSW is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Enrollment – 15,800 Full-time – 34%. Florida SouthWestern State College resumed its athletics program in 2015 after having been discontinued in 1997; the teams will be known once again as the Buccaneers. For the inaugural season, the school will field teams in softball, men's and women's basketball; the teams participate in the Suncoast Conference of the Florida State College Activities Association within the National Junior College Athletic Association. On November 29, 2016, the new on-campus Suncoast Credit Union Arena opened.
With a seating capacity of 3,500, it will be home to the basketball and volleyball teams, as well as the new home of the City of Palms Classic high school basketball tournament. The Thomas Edison campus is the primary campus, is located on 140 acres between College Parkway and Cypress Lake Drive in south Lee county; the campus consists of 24 permanent buildings, including one- and two-story classroom buildings, a library, a bookstore, a cafeteria, a student center, laboratories for science, computer science, health technologies, college preparatory classes. Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School - Lee is located on this campus; the collegiate high school is a dual-enrollment based program allowing students to earn an associates degree at the same time as a high school diploma. The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, opened in 1986, is located on the Thomas Edison Campus and hosts plays, show
U.S. Route 27 in Florida
U. S. Route 27 in Florida is a north–south United States Highway, it runs 481 miles from the South Florida Metropolitan Area northwest to the Tallahassee Metropolitan Statistical Area. Throughout the state, US 27 has been designated the Claude Pepper Memorial Highway by the Florida Legislature, it was named after long-time Florida statesman Claude Pepper, who served in both the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives. For most of its length in the state, US 27 is a divided highway. Between Miami and Leesburg, US 27 follows SR 25, between Leesburg and Williston, it follows SR 500, between Williston and High Springs, it follows SR 45, between High Springs and Downtown Tallahassee, it follows SR 20, within Downtown Tallahassee it follows SR 61, between Tallahassee and the Georgia border, it follows State Road 63. Concurrencies include State Road 80, between South Bay and Clewiston, SR 78 from Moore Haven to Citrus Center, US 98 between Sebring and West Frostproof, US 441 between Leesburg and Ocala, which includes a concurrency with US 301 between Belleview and Ocala.
Others include US 41 between Williston and High Springs, SR 20 between High Springs and Tallahassee, US 129 in Branford, US 19 between Perry and Capps, SR 61 in Tallahassee. US 27 begins as North 36th Street in Midtown Miami, heading west from US 1 for 4.4 miles before turning northwest to pass under the western terminus of the Airport Expressway. It proceeds northwest for five miles as South Okeechobee Road, parallel to the Miami Canal, forming the southwest boundary of the city of Hialeah. After an interchange with the Palmetto Expressway, it continues northwest as North Okeechobee Road for five miles before an interchange with the Homestead Extension of the Florida Turnpike. After another four miles, the highway curves to the north and, after passing the northern terminus of Krome Avenue, crosses into Broward County. In Broward County, the highway passes protected wetlands and heavy duty power lines on the west and the outer reaches of the suburban communities of Pembroke Pines and Weston on the east where it curves to the northwest.
It passes by West Broward High School in Pembroke Pines, in which many school buses coming from Sheridan Street use US 27 to get to Johnson Street to where the high school is. US 27 reaches an interchange with I-75 and Alligator Alley, an elaborate partial cloverleaf with flyovers from US 27, loop ramps from I-75 and no re-entry to either road. From here, the road is surrounded by Everglades-related wilderness and recreational areas before curving to the north toward South Bay, where it intersects State Road 80 and overlaps the road before curving west along the shores of Lake Okeechobee; the highway skirts the southwestern shore of Lake Okeechobee and heads west through Lake Harbor and Clewiston, before making a sharp turn to the north towards Moore Haven, where it crosses the Mamie Langdale Memorial Bridge over the Caloosahatchee Canal and makes another sharp turn to the west. The road intersects with State Road 78, which it overlaps until reaching Citrus Center proceeds in a northerly direction toward the central Florida communities such as Lake Placid, where it intersects State Road 70.
The southern terminus of the concurrency with U. S. Route 98 is the eastern terminus of State Road 66. From here, the hidden routes are State Road 25 and State Road 700. Shortly after this, US 27-98 runs through a commercial strip area before curving to the west at a wye intersection along the south shore of Lake Jackson in Sebring, where State Road 17 begins; the road heads back to the northwest as it runs along and away from the edge of the lake. North of here, the road runs west of Lake Sebring, but in Avon Park it runs much closer to the shores of Lake Glenada, where it passes through South Florida Community College territory. From here it passes by Lake Lelia, Lake Anoka, just east of Avon Park Executive Airport it intersects State Road 64 and the northern terminus of a segment of State Road 17. SR 64 continues east along part of SR 17 as a bi-county extension northeast into Polk County which runs through Lake Wales Ridge State Forest and terminates at the Avon Park Air Force Range. North of here, US 27 carries hidden state routes into Polk County until it reaches Sunray Deli Estates, where SR 17 breaks away again, runs parallel to US 27 until it reaches Haines City.
Meanwhile, after making a reverse curve over a bridge above a CSX Railroad Line, used by Amtrak's Silver Star and Silver Meteor lines, US 98 breaks away in West Frostproof, taking SR 700 with it. In the opposite direction of this intersection is a continuation of County Road 630. After passing by Warner University, Crooked Lake Park and County Road 640, US 27 becomes less rural as it approaches an un-numbered partial cloverleaf interchange with State Road 60 in Lake Wales. North of this point, US 27 becomes a six-lane highway, remains that way until reaching State Road 540 in Waverly, where the road narrows down to four lanes again. However, the widening of US 27 to a six-lane highway continues in Polk County between here and SR 542 in Dundee. North of here, US 27 runs through Lake Hamilton, curves around the eastern shores of the lake for which the community was named. After passing by a pair of gated communities and crossing over a bridge between Middle Lake Hamilton, the named larger Little Lake Hamilton, it curves north and intersects SR 544.
Taking a turn to the northeast after passing by Lake Henry, US 27 encounters another un-numbered interchange with U. S. Route 17/92 in Haines City, passes over another CSX Railroad Line, used by Amtrak's Silver Star and Silver M
Citrus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae. Plants in the genus produce citrus fruits, including important crops such as oranges, grapefruits and limes; the most recent research indicates an origin of the genus in the Himalayas. Previous research indicated an origin in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeast India and the Yunnan province of China, it is in this region that some commercial species such as oranges and lemons originated. Citrus fruit has been cultivated in an ever-widening area since ancient times. Citrus plants are native to subtropical and tropical regions of Asia, Island Southeast Asia, Near Oceania, they were first domesticated in these areas. A genomic and biogeographical analysis by Wu et al. have shown that the center of origin of the genus Citrus is the southeast foothills of the Himalayas, in a region stretching from eastern Assam, northern Myanmar, to western Yunnan. It diverged from a common ancestor with Poncirus trifoliata. A change in climate conditions during the Late Miocene resulted in a sudden speciation event.
The species resulting from this event include the citrons of South Asia. This was followed by the spread of citrus species into Taiwan and Japan in the Early Pliocene, resulting in the tachibana orange; the earliest introductions of citrus species by human migrations was during the Austronesian expansion, where Citrus hystrix, Citrus macroptera, Citrus maxima were among the canoe plants carried by Austronesian voyagers eastwards into Micronesia and Polynesia. The citron was introduced early into the Mediterranean basin from India and Southeast Asia, it was introduced via two ancient trade routes: an overland route through Persia, the Levant and the Mediterranean islands. Although the exact date of the original introduction is unknown due to the sparseness of archaeobotanical remains, the earliest evidence are seeds recovered from the Hala Sultan Tekke site of Cyprus, dated to around 1200 BCE. Other archaeobotanical evidence include pollen from Carthage dating back to the 4th century BCE; the earliest complete description of the citron was first attested from Theophrastus, c. 310 BCE.
Lemons and sour oranges are believed to have been introduced to the Mediterranean by Arab traders at around the 10th century. Mandarins were not introduced until the 19th century; this group of species has reached great importance in some of the Mediterranean countries, in the case of orange and lemon trees, they found here soil and climatic conditions which allow them to achieve a high level of fruit quality better than in the regions from where they came. The "native" oranges of Florida originated with the Spanish conquistadores; the agronomists of classical Rome made many references to the cultivation of citrus fruits within the limits of their empire. King Louis XIV of France housed citrus in orangeries, to protect the tropical fruit to be grown in the 1600s France; the generic name originated from Latin, where it referred to either the plant now known as citron or a conifer tree. It is somehow related to the ancient Greek word for cedar, κέδρος; this may be due to perceived similarities in the smell of citrus leaves and fruit with that of cedar.
Collectively, Citrus fruits and plants are known by the Romance loanword agrumes. The large citrus fruit of today evolved from small, edible berries over millions of years. Citrus plants diverged from a common ancestor about 15 million years ago, about when it diverged from the related severinia, for example the Chinese box orange. About 7 million years ago, citrus plants diverged into two groups, the main citrus genus and the ancestors of the trifoliate orange, enough related that it can still be hybridized with all other citrus; these estimates are made using genetic mapping of plant chloroplasts. A DNA study published in Nature in 2018 concludes that citrus trees originated in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the area of Assam, western Yunnan, northern Myanmar; the three ancestral species in the genus Citrus associated with modern Citrus cultivars are the mandarin orange and citron. All of the common commercially important citrus fruits are hybrids involving these three species with each other, their main progenies, other wild Citrus species within the last few thousand years.
A fossil leaf from the Pliocene of Valdarno is described as †Citrus meletensis In China, fossil leaf specimens of †Citrus linczangensis have been collected from coal-bearing strata of the Bangmai Formation in the Bangmai village, about 10 km northwest of Lincang City, Yunnan. The Bangmai Formation contains abun
Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, the 8th-most densely populated of the U. S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States; the Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital. Florida's $1.0 trillion economy is the fourth largest in the United States. If it were a country, Florida would be the 16th largest economy in the world, the 58th most populous as of 2018. In 2017, Florida's per capita personal income was ranking 26th in the nation; the unemployment rate in September 2018 was 3.5% and ranked as the 18th in the United States. Florida exports nearly $55 billion in goods made in the 8th highest among all states.
The Miami Metropolitan Area is by far the largest urban economy in Florida and the 12th largest in the United States with a GDP of $344.9 billion as of 2017. This is more than twice the number of the next metro area, the Tampa Bay Area, which has a GDP of $145.3 billion. Florida is home to 51 of the world's billionaires with most of them residing in South Florida; the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who called it la Florida upon landing there in the Easter season, known in Spanish as Pascua Florida. Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845, it was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, racial segregation after the American Civil War. Today, Florida is distinctive for its large Cuban expatriate community and high population growth, as well as for its increasing environmental issues; the state's economy relies on tourism and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century.
Florida is renowned for amusement parks, orange crops, winter vegetables, the Kennedy Space Center, as a popular destination for retirees. Florida is the flattest state in the United States. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the U. S. state of Florida. Florida's close proximity to the ocean influences many aspects of daily life. Florida is a reflection of multiple inheritance. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, continues to attract celebrities and athletes, it is internationally known for golf, auto racing, water sports. Several beaches in Florida have emerald-colored coastal waters. About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of the Atlantic Ocean. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States 1,350 miles, not including the contribution of the many barrier islands. Florida has a total of 4,510 islands; this is the second-highest number of islands of any state of the United States.
It is the only state that borders both the Gulf of the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is characterized by sedimentary soil. Florida has the lowest high point of any U. S. state. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south; the American alligator, American crocodile, American flamingo, Roseate spoonbill, Florida panther, bottlenose dolphin, manatee can be found in Everglades National Park in the southern part of the state. Along with Hawaii, Florida is one of only two states that has a tropical climate, is the only continental state with either a tropical climate or a coral reef; the Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, the third-largest coral barrier reef system in the world. By the 16th century, the earliest time for which there is a historical record, major Native American groups included the Apalachee of the Florida Panhandle, the Timucua of northern and central Florida, the Ais of the central Atlantic coast, the Tocobaga of the Tampa Bay area, the Calusa of southwest Florida and the Tequesta of the southeastern coast.
Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans. The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León. Ponce de León spotted and landed on the peninsula on April 2, 1513, he named the region Florida. The story that he was searching for the Fountain of Youth is mythical and only appeared long after his death. In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida, searching for a deep harbor to land, he described seeing a thick wall of red mangroves spread mile after mile, some reaching as high as 70 feet, with intertwined and elevated roots making landing difficult. The Spanish introduced Christianity, horses, the Castilian language, more to Florida. Spain established several settlements with varying degrees of success. In 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, making it the first attempted settlement in Florida, but it was abandoned by 1561.
In 1565, the settlement of St. Augustine was established under the leadership of admiral and
Highlands County, Florida
Highlands County is a county located in the U. S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 98,786, its county seat is Sebring. Highlands County comprises FL Metropolitan Statistical Area. Highlands County was created in 1921 along with Charlotte and Hardee, when they were separated from DeSoto County, it was named for the terrain of the county. It boasted the fifth-oldest population in America in 2012. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,106 square miles, of which 1,017 square miles is land and 89 square miles is water. In area, it is the 14th largest county in Florida. Highlands County is bounded on the east by the Kissimmee River. Lake Istokpoga, the largest lake in the county, is connected to the Kissimmee River by two canals. Osceola County, Florida - northeast Okeechobee County, Florida - east Glades County, Florida - south Charlotte County, Florida - southwest DeSoto County, Florida - west Hardee County, Florida - west Polk County, Florida - north Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge As of 2015, there were 99,491 people and 39,931 households residing in the county.
The population density was 97.2 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 85.8% White, 10.4% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.6% from two or more races. 18.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 51.3% of the entire population are female. The median household income was $35,560 with 20.1% of the population being below the poverty level from 2009-2013. The poverty line for Florida was $11,490 in 2013; as of the census of 2000, there were 87,366 people, 37,471 households, 25,780 families residing in the county. The population density was 85.00 people per square mile. There were 48,846 housing units at an average density of 47.5 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 83.47% White, 9.33% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 1.05% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.14% from other races, 1.53% from two or more races. 12.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In 2000 there were 37,471 households out of which 20.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.20% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.20% were non-families.
26.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.70% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.70. In the county, the population was spread out with 19.20% under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 19.30% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, 33.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males. The median income for a household in the county was $30,160, the median income for a family was $35,647. Males had a median income of $26,811 versus $20,725 for females; the per capita income for the county was $17,222. About 10.20% of families and 15.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.60% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over. U. S. Route 27 State Road 17 U. S. Route 98 State Road 70 Sebring Regional Airport Avon Park Executive Airport CSX Transportation Amtrak Highlands County is governed by five elected County Commissioners and an appointed County Administrator.
The administrator has executive powers to implement all decisions, ordinances and policies/procedures set forth by the Board. The FY 2013-2014 adopted budget of the county is $123 million and the county employees over 350 people in 31 departments of the administration. Other organizations of the county include, the Clerk of Courts with about 75 positions, Sheriff's Office with about 340 positions, County Appraisers Office with about 30 positions, Tax Collectors Office with about 40 positions, Elections Office with 5 positions. In all there are about 860 positions in Highlands County government. Highlands County, like the nearby southwest coast, is Republican: the last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Harry Truman in 1948. Like North Florida, but unlike the southwest coast, George Wallace was able to outpoll the Democratic Party here in 1968, only in 1992 and 1996 has the Republican candidate not won an absolute majority since then; the top private employers of Highlands County are as follows:1.
Florida Hospital 2. Walmart 3. Agero 4. Highlands Regional Medical Center 5. Delray Plants 6. Palms of Sebring 7. Alan Jay Automotive Network 8. Lake Placid Health Care 9. Positive Medical Transport 10. E-Stone USA Highlands County is part of the Heartland Library Cooperative which has 7 branches that serve Highlands County and some of the surrounding counties in the Florida Heartland, including Glades, DeSoto and Okeechobee. Avon Park DeSoto Glades Hardee Lake Placid Okeechobee Sebring Avon Park Sebring Lake Placid Florida Heartland Lake Denton National Register of Historic Places listings in Highlands County, Florida Highlands County Board of County Commissioners official website Highlands County Supervisor of Elections Highlands County Property Appraiser Highlands County Tax Collector Florida DOT Highlands county General Highway Map Highlands County Public Schools South Florida Water Management District Southwest Florida Water Management District Heartland Library Cooperative Highlands County Clerk of Courts Public Defender, 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida serving Hardee, Highlan
Central Florida is a region of the Southern U. S. state of Florida. Different sources give different definitions for the region, but as its name implies it is said to comprise the central part of the state, including the Orlando area, it is one of Florida's three directional regions, along with South Florida. It includes the following counties: Brevard, Hardee, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Orange, Pasco, Polk, Seminole and Volusia. Like many vernacular regions, Central Florida's boundaries are not official or consistent, are defined differently by different sources. A 2007 study of Florida's regions by geographers Ary Lamme and Raymond K. Oldakowski found that Floridians surveyed identified Central Florida as comprising a large swath of peninsular Florida; this area encompassed the interior, including the Orlando metropolitan area, coastal stretches from the Big Bend south to the Tampa Bay Area in the west and from Daytona Beach south to Martin County in the east. In addition, North Central Florida has emerged as a vernacular region representing the interior area in the northern part of the state.
Central Florida is one of Florida's three most common directional regions, the others being North Florida and South Florida. Lamme and Oldakowski note that the directional region is more used in the interior areas rather than on the coast. In fact, while coastal areas have their own regional vernacular identities such as the Space Coast and the Nature Coast, no vernacular regions were reported on the interior of the state other than Central Florida. Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development agency, identifies "Central Florida" as one of eight economic regions used by the agency and other state and outside entities, including the Florida Department of Transportation; this definition covers much of the same area as in Lamme and Oldakowski's survey, with some exceptions. It excludes North Central Florida, as well as the southern coastal counties; the Central region includes the Orlando metropolitan area and Sumter Counties in the interior, Volusia and Brevard Counties on the coast. The central cities of both metropolitan areas are in close proximity, as a result, their two metropolitan areas blend together in the area of Lakeland to make up a larger contiguous population center referred to as the I-4 corridor.
This is a population concentration that stretches from Tampa Bay on the west coast to Daytona Beach and Cape Canaveral on the east coast of the state. With the exception of hill terrain in southern Lake County, Hernando County, Pasco County and Polk County, Central Florida is flatland with significant amounts of open space and over 1,500 lakes and ponds. There is a mixture of wetlands, Oak and Pine forests, pastures and coastline. Major rivers include the St. Johns River, the Ocklawaha River, the Halifax River, the Econlockhatchee River. Major lakes include Lake Apopka, Lake Tohopekaliga, East Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Louisa, Lake Monroe, Lake Jessup, the Butler Chain of Lakes. There are over 100 miles of coastline in Central Florida along the Atlantic Coast. Major beaches include Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic Beach near Melbourne. Hurricanes are a threat to the coastal cities as evident by the 2004 hurricane season, which brought three major hurricanes to the Central Florida area: Charley and Frances.
Winters are dry and temperate with the average winter high temperature in Orlando being 72 °F. Summers are hot and humid with high temperatures averaging 92 °F. Peak summer heat arrives in early June and continues to early October; the combination of high temperatures, high humidity, opposing sea breezes from both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, results in significant thunderstorm activity from June to September for the interior counties. Central Florida records more lightning strikes per area than any other region in Florida, Florida records more lightning strikes than any other state in the USA; as a result and more Central Florida, is referred to as the "Thunderstorm capital of the USA", or "Lightning Alley". These severe thunderstorms make Central Florida prone to many tornadoes. However, they are small, short lived, always rated as EF0 or EF1 size storms. At the end of the Civil War most of Central Florida was barely-inhabitable wetlands, it took a major drainage project financed by Philadelphia businessman Hamilton Disston in the 1880s to make the land available for settlement.
Sanford was incorporated in 1877 as port city at the intersection of Lake Monroe and the St. Johns River, it was envisioned as a transportation center, the city's founder, Henry S. Sanford, nicknamed it "the Gate City of South Florida", it became a hub for shipping agricultural products, which earned the city another nickname, "Celery City". Kissimmee boomed in the 1880s, it was the headquarters of Hamilton Disston's drainage company, The city was an important regional steamship port, owing that status to its location on Lake Tohopekaliga. The expansion of the railroads into Central Florida eliminated the need for Kissimmee's steamship industry; the Great Freeze of 1894-95 ruined citrus crops which had a detrimental ripple effect on the economy. The hard-packed sand of Volusia County's beaches lent itself to auto races beginning in 1903, before paved roads were common, leading to the area's reputation for cars and racing. Ormond Beach was a popular spot for those who liked fast cars after the