Formally incorporated as a City in 1925 with a population of 800, Oviedo has roots that date back to just after the Civil War in 1865 when homesteaders came to the area along the shores of Lake Jesup to begin new lives.
Prior to the arrival of these adventurous souls, including former slaves, and immigrants from Europe, primarily Sweden, the area that is now Oviedo was populated by the Timucua, a clan of native Americans who were a part of the Seminole tribe. No evidence of the early Timucuan settlements remains today; their hunting grounds and villages disappeared just prior to the establishment of the Lake Jesup Community, which decades later gave way to modern housing developments, shopping centers, parks, recreation facilities, conservation areas and interstate roadways that can take travelers across the state.
Early settlers to the area relished the fertile land. They grew crops of celery and citrus and traveled to Orlando and Sanford to sell their produce. Orlando was reached via a wagon-wheel rutted road, but the primary means of travel from the area were steam ships like the Volusia or the Hattie Baker and small boats, which docked at Solary’s Wharf and Mitchell dock. Mail arrived in the area via riverboat twice a week and soon a post office was established. Andrew Aulin, a Swedish immigrant who spoke four languages and loved to read, was appointed postmaster. He was asked to name the new post office.
On March 13, 1879 the name Lake Jesup Community faded into history as Aulin chose the name Oviedo, pronounced O-vee-a-dough in those days, to be the name of the post office and soon the surrounding town. Aulin liked the idea of giving the post office a Spanish name to go along with the Spanish heritage of the state of Florida. The original Oviedo is a city in northern Spain established in the 8th century and known for its architecture, a magnificent ancient cathedral and its dedication to higher education through the University of Oviedo. Today we pronounce Oviedo differently, O-vee-dough, but the City’s link to Oviedo, Spain still exists. The two cities established an informal sister city relationship that promises to be mutually beneficial to both communities.
Oviedo in 2012 only vaguely resembles the Oviedo of 1925. Citrus and celery are no longer produced here in large quantities, but are still found in many backyard gardens.