Pioneer Town to Boom Town
Earliest History & Civil War
Oviedo’s history is the fascinating frontier history of Central Florida. During and after the Civil War period (1861 to 1869) settlers to the area homesteaded or bought land in the “Lake Jesup community.” Oviedo was first settled mainly because of its accessibility to Lake Jesup via a landing at Solary’s Wharf. The City received its name “Oviedo” in 1879 after the city in northern Spain, from the postmaster of the new post office, Andrew Aulin, a Swedish immigrant. The City began to grow its agricultural roots in the late 1800s switch the establishment of citrus farms and flower nurseries. Notable horticulturists and agricultural businessmen having called Oviedo home include Theodore L. Mead (1886), namesake of Mead Gardens located in Winter Park, and Steen Nelson, founder of Nelson and Company, whose steel water-tower is still a local landmark in downtown Oviedo.
A disastrous freeze in 1895 wiped out the citrus industry and prompted the development of the celery and vegetable industry. Celery grew well in Oviedo’s mucky, rich topsoil and became Oviedo’s primary crop and was shipped to all parts of the United States. Despite the uncertain climate, many citrus growers replanted their citrus groves. The popular Temple Orange was developed in Oviedo in the early 1900’s. In 1914 a large fire caused by one of the gas-lit lamps that lined Broadway St. set ablaze all six of Oviedo’s downtown buildings, destroying four of the six buildings. In 1925 the City of Oviedo was chartered by the Florida State Legislature and incorporated. During World War II, the citrus and celery industry in Oviedo flourished and contributed to unprecedented growth and development in the area.
In 1963 nearby Florida Technological University was opened, now known as the University of Central Florida (UCF), the nation’s fifth largest university (53,000 plus students) and one of the country’s top research universities. UCF is home to the Center for Research Optics and Lasers, (CREOL), the National Simulation Center (NSC) the Institute for Simulation and Training (IST) and the College of Film and Digital Media.
Seminole State College (SSC) of Florida, with 4 Seminole County campuses is a full-service education provider, offering four-year degrees and two-year college-credit degrees. The Oviedo campus opened in January 2001, with a complement of college-credit, technical, continuing education and personal enrichment class offerings.
Also contributing to Oviedo’s nascent technology clusters are the regions space related industries, missile and defense industries and the regions entertainment, computer simulation and digital media industries. Local technology-based employers of Oviedo residents include Florida’s Space Coast’s Kennedy Space Center and its related industries, Lockheed Martin, and the National Center for Simulation.
Located astride Central Florida’s newest high-technology corridor, Seminole Way, the City of Oviedo is positioned for dynamic business growth and success. Seminole Way, a high tech corridor along SR 417, is the northern portion of Orange County’s Innovation Way, links both Orlando and Orlando-Sanford International Airports, the University of Central Florida, Orange County’s new “Medical City at Lake Nona, Seminole State College and the Kennedy Space Center. These key components contribute to the burgeoning simulation, digital media, medical sciences and photonic industry clusters growing in the Oviedo area. The demographics of the communities along Seminole WAY show a region with the key components possessed by established technology centers. The Seminole Way area already possesses similar concentrations of advanced degree residents and professionals, clusters of technology-oriented companies and the higher education and research facilities found in ‘technology centers’, such as Tempe, Arizona, San Diego, California and Austin, Texas.
Traditional Business Community
Oviedo’s more traditional business community includes robust retail, finance, real estate and insurance sectors. These provide additional employment opportunities and the daily services and products utilized by residents, businesses and visitors. Whether you are a Fortune 500 corporation, technology start-up or a “home-based” business, Oviedo is fertile-ground to start, relocate or grow your business.