Ocala-Marion Countywide History

“Due to the animosity caused by relocating the Seminoles out of north Florida, conflicts increased between the whites and Seminoles. A military outpost was established by the U.S. Army to protect the northern boundary of the Indian reservation created by the U.S. Two companies of the U.S. Fourth Infantry under Capt. James M. Glassell explored the area and camped on a site near present-day Fort King Street and Northeast 36th Avenue. The site was called Cantonment King, or Camp King, in honor of the detachment’s former commander, Col. William King. Fort King was a central location during the Second Seminole War. “

This information taken from OcalaMarion.com

Lake Weir History

“Lake Weir is one of the finest recreational lakes in the state of Florida. It is located midway between Ocala and Leesburg, and supports a host of different recreational activities. The main part of the lake is approximately four miles in diameter with an additional body of water approximately two miles by one in size. Little Lake Weir, which is about one mile in diameter, is connected to Lake Weir via a canal. With its 15 square miles (9600 acres) of pure water and white sand beaches, Lake Weir offers the ultimate in leisure water activities. Lake Weir is unique when compared to most other larger lakes in Florida as it has a sand bottom as opposed to a mud bottom; with a sand bottom, all water-related sports can be enjoyed around the entire lake. There are parks and boat ramps around its 38 miles of shoreline. It becomes obvious why this natural gem must be protected from harmful pollutants as well as over development.”

This information taken from SaveLakeWeir.com

“Ma Barker Hideout” in Ocklawaha on Lake Weir

“Though her children were undoubtedly criminals and their Barker-Karpis Gang committed a spree of robberies, kidnappings, and other crimes between 1931 and 1935, the popular image of her as the gang’s leader and its criminal mastermind has been found to be fictitious. Many, including Karpis, have suggested that the myth was encouraged by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI to justify his agency’s killing of an old lady. FBI Agents discovered the hideout of Ma Barker and her son, Fred, after Arthur “Doc” Barker was arrested in Chicago. A map found in his possession indicated that the other gang members were in Ocklawaha, Florida. Agents surrounded the house on the morning of January 16, 1935. Ordered to surrender, Fred opened fire; both he and his mother were killed by federal agents after an intense, hours-long gun-battle. According to the FBI, a Tommy gun was found lying in the hands of Ma Barker. (It is a common belief that this was a fabrication by the FBI in order to justify her violent death.) Their bodies were put on public display, and then stored unclaimed, until October 1, 1935, when some relatives had them buried in Welch, Oklahoma, next to the body of Herman Barker. Fred and Ma Barker killed by FBI at Lake Weir, Florida. Ma Barker was discovered by the FBI tracking her letters sent to her other son. She was writing to him to tell him about a large gator that everyone had called “Gator Joe”, which led to the name of the on-shore restaurant known as “Gator Joe’s.”"

This information taken from Wikipedia.org

The Story of Gator Joe

“Gator Joe was a 15 ft. 7 in. alligator that lived on Lake Weir in the early 1900s. Joe caught his fame from the Ma Barker gang who tried to kill him on several occasions; but, Joe ultimately got them instead. His local legend led the FBI to the Barker hideout on January 16th, 1935 and after a 4-hour gun battle the Barker gang all lay dead. In 1952 Joe crossed paths with a local gator hunter named Vic Skidmore. Since then, Joe’s foot has had many homes throughout Florida and even Kentucky. It was donated to Gator Joes from one of Vic’s friends, Mr. Jim Townlee.”

This information taken from GatorJoesOcala.com

The History of Belleview

“Belleview’s History started around Lake Lillian. The name, Belleview, which means “beautiful view”, came from one of the original settlers whose daughter was named “Belle”. The City with Small Town Charm is the City’s motto which genuinely reflects the feeling of the City. Established in 1886, the Belleview Library is the second oldest continuous library in the state of Florida. Incorporated in 1885, Belleview had a population of 350 residents and elected its first Mayor with sixty-three people casting votes. Warriors from Chief Osceola’s Seminole Tribe held peace talks at Nine Mile Pond (now known as Lake Lillian) with the soldiers from Fort King in 1893.”

This information taken from BelleviewFL.org

History of the Ocklawaha River

“The 74-mile-long Ocklawaha River flows north from central Florida until it joins the St. Johns River near Palatka. Its name is a corruption of ak-lowahe, Creek for “muddy”. The historical and original source of the Ocklawaha River is Lake Griffin, part of the Harris chain of lakes in Lake County, Florida. The Ocklawaha River Bridge in Eureka, FL was built 75′ tall, towering over the river. Apparently the bridge was built with the expectation that tall & wide river boats would be traversing up and down the Ocklawaha River. The Ocklawaha River was originally intended to be part of the project known as the Cross Florida Barge Canal. A project intended to connect the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean with a barge canal through the middle of Central Florida. Two sections of the project was built, but the project was cancelled for environmental reasons, and is now a protected green belt corridor named after the leader in the opposition against the canal, Marjorie Harris Carr, it is know as the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway and is one mile (1.6 km) wide in most places.”

This information taken from Wikipedia.org

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