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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our fifth calendar year
    PCR #242  (Vol. 5, No. 46)  This edition is for the week of November 8--14, 2004.

What’s In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida’s Towns and Counties Q to T
 by Will Moriaty
"The Polar Express"
 by Mike Smith
 by John Lewis
Screamfest 2004 - A Real Scream!
 by Andy Lalino
This Guy Is No Artest....Famous Monsters Update
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Globe Shut Out....Happy Birthday....Welcome Aboard, Art....Oh Darn!...Meet The Beatles, Part 42
 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 Q to T

"La Floridiana" continues its tireless mission to provide to you, our valued reader, just what those Florida town and county names mean...

QUINCY (Town of): The county seat of Gadsden County, the town is named after John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. The town was incorporated in 1820.

REDINGTON BEACH (Town of): Located in Pinellas County, this beach community and others that share its root name were named in honor of developer Charles E. Redington.

RICHMOND HEIGHTS (Town of): Located in Miami-Dade County, one explanation is that the town is named after the Richmond Lumber Company, which timbered the abundant South Florida Slash or "Dade County" Pine, while another credits the name to Dr. Richmond, who lived there around the 1ate 1890's.

ROCKLEDGE (Town of): Established in 1875, this town in Brevard County was named after Coquina rock ledges along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

RUSKIN (Town of): Located in Hillsborough County, was named for a college located originally in Glenn-Allen, Illinois. Dr. George McA. Miller, president of that college, moved it to the site around 1910. The college was itself named after John Ruskin, an English author and socialist.

ST. AUGUSTINE (Town of): This is the oldest continually settled city in the United States. It was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Avila, and named by him for St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. The city is the county seat of St. Johns County.

ST. JOHNS (County of): This is Florida's second county, having been established on July 21, 1821. It is named for the St. Johns River, which the Spanish had named after John the Baptist.

ST. LUCIE (County of): Florida's forty-sixth county was established on July 1, 1905. It was named in honor of St. Lucie of Syracuse, and first given to a fort built by the Spanish in 1565 near Cape Canaveral.

ST. PETERSBURG (Town of): Located in Pinellas County, its named is derived from the Russian city of St. Petersburg. Through the toss of a coin, Russian native and Florida railroad builder Peter Demens won a bet in the late 1870's naming the city for his hometown over a Michigan developer who wanted to name the city after his native Detroit.

SANTA ROSA (County of): Established on February 18, 1842, Florida's twenty-first county was named after Santa Rosa Island, which in turn was named after a Catholic saint known as St. Rosa de Viterbo.

SARASOTA (Town/County of): One explanation is that Florida's sixtieth county, established on May 14, 1921, was named by the Spanish to describe Indians holding a "place for dancing" near the area's bay. Another explanation holds that the county was named after a daughter of the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto who was named Sara Soto, but this explanation has proven to be baseless when placed under historic scrutiny. The town is also the county seat, and in the eighteenth century was shown in maps as "Sarazota" and "Sara Zota".

SEBASTIAN (Town of): Located in Indian River County, the town was named after Saint Sebastian, a Roman soldier martyred as a Christian around 288 A.D.

SEMINOLE (Town/County of): Florida's fiftieth county was established on April 25, 1913, and named after the Seminole Indian tribe. There is a Pinellas County town of the same name, derived from the same origin.

STARKE (Town of): Located in Bradford County, the town's name is thought to come from one of two possible origins. One being that of named in honor of Madison Starke Perry, the Governor of Florida from 1857 to 1861, or from Thomas Starke, a South Carolina slave owner who purchased land around De Leon Springs in Volusia County. Both personalities were from the prominent Starke family from South Carolina. Starke is the county seat and was established in 1867.

SUMTER (County of): Florida's twenty-sixth county was established on January 8, 1853, and named in honor of South Carolina native General Thomas Sumter (1736-1832), a Revolutionary War hero of the southern campaign.

SUWANNEE (County of): Established December 21, 1858, Florida's thirty-fifth county was named after the famous river that flows through it. Several authorities on the subject believed the following: Utley and Gannett believed the name comes from the word "sawani" which means, "echo river". Read believed the word was Creek Indian in origin, but can't be translated with certainty, while Daniel G. Brinton believed that the word was a corruption of the Spanish "San Juan".

TALLAHASSEE (Town of): The capitol of the State of Florida, and county seat for Leon County, most authorities believed that the origin was Creek Indian for "Old Town". As long ago as 1539 the De Soto met with the Muscogee tribes here. In 1633 the Spanish mission of San Luis was established here. It was established as the state's capitol on March 4, 1824 and named by Octavia Walton, daughter of a territorial Governor of Florida, and granddaughter of a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

TAMPA (Town of): The county seat of Hillsborough County may have its origin from several sources. One is local Indian language for "near it", or "close to it" (presumably Tampa Bay). Another is "split wood for quick fires". The European discovery of Tampa Bay (known to the Spanish as "Espiritu Santo" or "Holy Sprit") was by de Navaez in 1528. The first permanent white settlement was a fort, which in 1823 was named after Colonel Brooke. The first post office originally named the town "Tampa Bay" in 1831, but "Bay" was dropped. The Spanish referred to the town as "Tanpa" or "Timpe", and its possible a Portuguese lookout shouted "Tampa" upon seeing our shoreline: "tampa" is Brazilian Portuguese for "lid" or "top", as in the "top" of Hillsborough Bay on the map.

TAYLOR (County of): Florida's thirty-fourth county was established on December 23, 1856 and named after Zachary Taylor, the twelfth President of the United States, and Commander of the United States Army forces in Florida during the Second Seminole War.

TEMPLE TERRACE (Town of): Mr. Potter Palmer of Chicago, and a group of Tampa financiers purchased 1,500 acres of land in this portion of Hillsborough County in 1921 and named their community after the variety of orange (Temple) found growing in the groves that they platted for development.

TITUSVILLE (Town of): Located in Brevard County, this town was established after the Civil War by Colonel Henry T. Titus, who was an adversary of abolitionist John Brown during the struggle over Kansas after the Civil War.

"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.