Ocala was developed as a result of the Indian Wars in which Fort King played a strategic role.
In 1846 Ocala became the county seat of newly formed Marion County (honoring General Francis Marion). By 1847 settlers constructed a courthouse on the square, the post office moved to Ocala, and a weekly newspaper was established.
Wealthy planters from South Carolina arrived in the 1850s, and outlying plantations were developed. By 1858 Ocala was one of the leading social and business centers in Florida. The civil war all but destroyed business in Ocala, and the population dwindled to about 200 people.
The center of town was virtually destroyed by fire on Thanksgiving Day in 1883. In rebuilding, brick and other fire resistant materials were used instead of lumber. Thus, Ocala became known as the "Brick City", a name still used today.
By 1890, Ocala had expanded to four square miles and its population had increased to 1,895; it was the fifth largest town in Florida.
Early homes in Ocala were constructed within a few blocks of the Court House Square, and are now part of the Ocala and Tuscaw
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