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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our fifth calendar year
    PCR #226  (Vol. 5, No. 30)  This edition is for the week of July 19--25, 2004.

What’s In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida’s Towns and Counties A to B
 by Will Moriaty
"The Bourne Supremacy"
 by Mike Smith
Do The "I, Robot"!
 by Andy Lalino
The Divide returns this week with all new CD reviews!
 by Terence Nuzum
More Monsteriffic News....Bush Speak
 by Matt Drinnenberg
I'm Back....How About Just Calling Them Pussies?....Next In Line....What First Amendment?....Music Silenced....Meet The Beatles, Part 26
 by Mike Smith
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What’s In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida’s Towns and Counties A to B

Ever wonder, “Just what does Tampa mean?”

TAMPA. Most historians believe that Tampa is an Indian phrase meaning “near it” or “close to it”. Others believe yet that it meant, “split wood for quick fires”. Tampa historian D.B. McKay believed that the 15th Century Spanish named the term after a town in that country. Presuming that you buy into the “near it” or “close to it” camp, such would be a reference to the Indian peoples closeness of their villages to Tampa Bay. The “split wood for quick fires” camp believes that this was a reference to the driftwood found on the shores of Tampa Bay by the indigenous peoples.

Believe what you wish, let’s take a random look at the many colorful names of Florida’s many colorful locales, and see just what the origin of their names were presumably from...

ALACHUA (Town/County of): Alachua, Florida’s ninth county, was established in 1824. There is also a town that bears the same name in that County. “Alachua” is a derivative of the Seminole –Creek Indian word “luchuwa” meaning jug. The Indians named the jug after a large chasm in the earth located two and a half miles southeast of Gainesville, which is the County’s seat. Based on this interpretation, many simply believe it to mean “sinkhole”.

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS (Town of): Located in Seminole County, in Spanish the name simply means “high hill”. The town was established in 1887.

ANNA MARIA (Town/Island of): Located in Manatee County, the origin of the name is in doubt, and even its proper pronunciation is disputed. Old timers pronounced it “ANNA-MAR-EYE-AH” (Crackerspeak no doubt) while islanders nowadays pronounce it “ANNA-MAR-EE-AH”.

APPALACHICOLA (Town/River of): The town is Located in Franklin County and is one of the oyster capitals of the world. “Appalachicola” is a Hitchiti Indian term meaning “the people on the other side”. Other historians believe that the term is Choctaw for “allies”. Appalachicola is the County seat.

APOPKA (Town/Lake of): Located in the northwest corner of Orange County, historians believe that the word is from the Creek Indians describing the eating of potatoes or catfish or trout.

AVON PARK (Town of): Located in Highlands County, this town was devised around 1885 by the Florida Development Company. Employee O.M. Crosby brought two British citizens, Mr. And Mrs. William King, to the development. The couple named it after Stratford-on-the-Avon in honor of their British ancestry.

BAKER COUNTY: The thirty-eighth county was established in 1861. It was named after James McNair Baker a Confederate States Senator and judge of the Fourth Judicial District in Florida.

BALDWIN (Town of): Located in Duval County, this railroad city was originally known as Thigpen. It was later renamed in 1860 to Baldwin in honor of Dr. A. S. Baldwin, who was instrumental in having the building of the first railroad into Jacksonville secured.

BAL HARBOUR (Town of): Located in Miami-Dade County, this posh ocean front town was created for the desirable images that the words created in many minds.

BARTOW (Town of): Located in Polk County, the town was originally known as Peas Creek and then Fort Blount. In 1867 the name was changed for a third and final time in honor of Confederate General Francis F. Bartow, Bartow is the County seat.

BEE RIDGE (Town of): Located in Sarasota County, it is alleged that Baptist preacher Isaac Redd stated that most every hollow tree had bees in it. He combined that with the locale’s ridge terrain.

BELLEAIR (Town/Harbor of): Named in 1896 by railroad magnate Henry Bradley Plant for the area’s excellent air quality, the town was incorporate in 1925. In addition, Plant built possibly his most famous hotel there called the Belleview Hotel, one of the largest wooden structures on earth. There are also several nearby small towns that share the Belleair name in the town’s west Pinellas County location.

BISCAYNE (Bay of): Located in Miami-Dade County, many believe that the name is a variant of the Bay of Biscay, which is in the Atlantic between northern Spain and western France. Others believe that it is named after a Spanish ship wrecked there that belonged to a man named El Biscaino (“The Biscayan”, from the Spanish province of Biscaya). Others yet believe it was named after a Biscayne Bay islands resident, Don Pedro of Biscaino, who was the Keeper of the Swans at the Spanish Court.

BITHLO (Town of): Located in Orange County, the name is Seminole-Creek for “canoe”, and was established in 1924.

BOCA CIEGA (Bay of): Located in western Pinellas County, the name is Spanish for “blind mouth”. Boca means “mouth”, Ciega means “blind”, referring to an obstructed passage. An Anglicized version would be the adjacent Pinellas County town of Blind Pass.

BOCA RATON (Town of): Located in Palm Beach County, this is another Spanish name referring to “rat’s mouth”, a term used by seamen to describe a hidden rock that gnaws or frets a ship’s cables.

BOULOGNE (Town of): Named after the city in France, this town in Nassau County was established in 1880 by Andrew Price.

BOWLING GREEN (Town of): Originally known as Utica, this Hardee County town was renamed in the 1880’s by a number of farmers from Bowling Green Kentucky who named it in honor of their hometown.

BRADENTON (Town of): Named after sugar cane plantation owner Dr. Joseph Braden. He built his home in 1854 near the point where Hernando DeSoto first landed in Florida in 1539. Bradenton is the county seat of Manatee County.

BROOKSVILLE (Town of): The county seat of Hernando County, the town is named after Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina, who debated the hotly divided Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1856.

BROWARD (County of): Named for Jacksonville, Florida native Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, who as Governor of Florida, between 1905 and 1909, played a leading role in the drainage of the Everglades. Located in southeast Florida, the county seat is Fort Lauderdale. This was Florida’s fifty-first county and was established in 1915.

Next week La Floridiana gets really “seedy” as we dig into the origin of the names of Florida’s towns and counties between C and D. So Florida trivia buffs, get ready to match wits to see just how much you know about what’s in a name!

"La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.