|OCALA…THE BANNER CITY OF THE BANNER COUNTY OF THE BANNER STATE|
the market town
and shipping point for one of the
richest agricultural, horticultural and mineral districts of the south.
Healthfulness- Ocala is commended by the best medical authorities as a resort for all sufferers from all pulmonary complaints, rheumatism, gout, nervous prostration, etc. The city with its high altitude upon the backbone of the peninsula receives the refreshing breezes from both the gulf and the ocean, which laden with the residue odor of the pine wood enhances salubrity of the naturally mild, equable and healthful climate. The city is free from the visitation of yellow fever or kindred plagues and pulmonary diseases, sunstrokes and rabies are unknown. The summers are delightful, and many prefer to stay here than in the north.
Temperature- Winter…The mean temperature of Ocala in the winter is 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer…The summer temperature ranges from 75 to 97 degrees rarely going above 90 degrees. Rainy Season…From about the middle of July until the latter part of September there are usually daily showers of brief duration, which tend to cool the atmosphere.
Winter Resort-Ocala is famous as a winter resort for those who wish to escape the wintery blast of the north. Being inland, there are no harsh cold winds, the climate being pleasant and balmy. Its Decembers, Januarys and Februarys are similar to the month of June in the Middle West. The Ocala House and Montezuma Hotel are the principal hotels of the city.
Banking Facilities-Ocala boasts of two banks-the Munroe & Chambliss Bank, capital, $50,000 and the Commercial Bank, capital, $50,000.
Telephones-The Ocala Telephone Company was organized in 1894 with capital stock of $10,000. The stock of the company is owned by local residents, and Mr. George R. McKean is the principal stock holder and manager. The system reaches over 100 points in Marion and Adjacent counties, and has over 300 subscribers.
Churches- Ocala has several good churches, the following denominations being represented: Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Jewish and Christian. All occupy edifices of their own and have good sized memberships.
Educational-Ocala has an excellent high school and primary school. A new primary school has just been completed on South Third Street. The corps of teachers is excellent and the enrollment numbers over 500.
Electric Lights-The city owns its light plant and operates the same profitably, the streets being well lighted at practicably no cost to the municipality. The plant represents an investment of $35,000, and the income is $20,780 per annum, while the operating expenses are $10,176, leaving net revenue to the city of $10,604 to be applied to the sinking fund to liquidate the outstanding electric light bonds, and apply on the currant running expenses of the city.
The equipment consists of 30 miles of feed wire, two 100 K. W. A. C. Westinghouse dynamos, and one 50-high A. C. are dynamo both being directly connected to 145 horsepower Harrisburg engines. Wood is the fuel used. There are about 300 patrons to the plant, and the charges are 16cents per kilowatt for incandescent lights and 8 cents for power. The plant has sufficient capacity to care for 200 additional patrons.
Fire Department- Ocala has an efficient fire department that will compare favorably with any city of any like size in the country. The fire station which is of brick, is centrally located, cost $5000. There are three paid men on the force and an auxiliary force of seventeen men who are paid only when they assist at fires. The telephone is used as an alarm system. As a result of the good work of the department, no fire of any consequence has occurred in the city for several years.
The equipment consists of four horses, chemical engine, two hose trucks, hook and ladder, 3000 feet of hose and other miscellaneous equipment, which represents an outlay of $5,310. A large fire bell is mounted in the station tower which is sounded as an alarm in case of fire, and again when the fire is out.
Gas-The Citizens’ Gas, Heat, Light and Power Company was organized some fourteen years ago for the purpose of furnishing gas for heat, power and illumination. The Citizens’ Gas Company, as it is now owned has three and one half miles of mains. The price for illumination is $2 per 1000 feet and that of fuel gas is $1.50 per 1000 feet. The gas is made of crude oil.
Hotels and Boarding Houses-Ocala has three principal hotels, the Ocala House, Montezuma Hotel and new Metropole, all centrally located and commodious. In addition to these are several hotels of lesser size and a number of excellent boarding houses, where rates of $5 a week and up may be obtained.
New Federal Building-The government has purchased an entire block facing Washington Street for a federal building. The building will be occupied by, commissioners, postoffice, weather bureau and other federal officials. The appropriations amount to $120,000. The foundation work has been completed, and the work on the remainder will be pushed to completion at an early date.
U. S. Post Office- One of the surest indications of a city’s growth and development is receipts. Ocala’s post office for the last five years shows an increase of receipts of about 12 percent per annum. This reflects a steady, permanent growth, minus any “bum” features. Below is appended a statement for receipts for the past five years:
Geo. C. Crom, postmaster; B. F. Borden, assistant postmaster; Thomas C. Thompson, clerk; T. M. Moore, clerk; A. P. Gilmore, clerk; Benj. R. Blitch, clerk; Otto G. Larohig, clerk; Carriers, Chas. H. Stewart, Horace Herald, Jas. S LaRoche, Harry L. Booher, sub.
Lobby always open. Money orders, register and stamp window open from 8 a.m., to 6 p.m. General delivery window open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Stamp, money order, and registry business transacted at general delivery window from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Paved Streets-There are over six miles of paved streets which cost the city $7500.000. The mail square or plaza is paved with vitrified brick. Good roads lead out from the city in every direction, affording many pleasing drives.
Cement Walks-During the past year several miles of cement walks have been laid on the main business and residence streets, and the good works still continues; and it will not be long before this class of walks will supersede all others.
Public Library-With the few cities within the state that maintain public libraries this city is one. It was started eighteen years ago and has been in constant operation since. The new location is on N. Main Street, on the second floor of the Clyatt Building, and is open in the afternoon from 4 to 6. The librarian is Miss Louise E. Gamsby. Membership is $2.50 per year, which fee permits the patron to borrow the currant magazines with each book taken out. Non-members are required to pay two cents per day for the privilege of drawing books.
Water Works- The Ocala Water Works was organized in 1888 with a capital stock of $100,000, owned principally by Eastern Capitalists. The water is obtained by an artesian well bored to a depth of 1220 feet, rendering the source of contamination absolutely free from surface impurities. The capacity is 500,000 gallons per day. The water is hard, but healthy and palatable, the sulfur being removed before being turned into the mains. There are nine miles of mains and ninety-five fire hydrants.
Transportation-Marion County and Ocala have two systems of railroads, The Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line. Both roads traverse the county north and south, and the A. C. L. runs also east and west.
In addition to these rail facilities, boat lines operate from the Ocklawaha River, which runs north and south through the county, connecting at Palatka and Jacksonville and ocean points, and also lines operating in the Withlacoochee River, which skirts the south-western edge of the county.
Points of Interests- Silver Springs, a resort five miles north of the city on the line of the Seaboard Air Line, is one of the most famous and popular resorts in the state. The Springs may be reached by driving out, as the roads to it are fine. At the Springs is the terminus of the Howard and Hart Lines of steamers which run to Palatka. This is considered one of the most beautiful trips on the continent. The Ocklawaha River into which the Springs empty has an individuality all its own. Its banks are strewn with the constantly changing panorama of scenery entirely different from anything else in this country. At the Springs a sight awaits the visitor that is seldom ones privilege to behold. The tiny boat that takes you out on the Springs has a glass bottom, through the bottom of the Springs can be plainly seen at a depth of fifty feet. Fish on the bottom are as plain as if they are in a tin pail. A penny thrown into the Springs can be seen as readily as if held in your hand. There is something about the chemical composition of the water that serves to give it a magnifying power. It is nine miles to the Ocklawaha River, and the water is as clear as crystal the entire distance. A student of nature can secure food for rumination on this trip that will last for a long time.
Blue Springs is another resort of a similar nature, twenty miles south of Ocala, and is reached by rail or carriage. Many pleasure parties find their way to these Springs at all seasons of the year.
Homosassa-on-the-Gulf is another of the popular resorts reached from Ocala, being two hours distant by train and located on the Gulf of Mexico, furnishing the best fishing and hunting to be found in this section of the state.
Lake Weir is fast becoming a popular resort, being eighteen miles south of Ocala on the line of the A. C. L. There is fine bathing and sailing here.
Ocala City Directory: 1908-1909This directory was printed in the Ocala Banner on October 1, 1909. I have transcribed it
for ease of reading without changing the wording of the article.