Town of Ocoee
History and Diversity.
Once a sleepy city founded after the Civil War by confederate soldiers and their families, Ocoee has grown into the third-largest city in Orange County.
The settlement began when Dr. J. D. Starke led a group of slaves into the area in the mid-1850s. Many of the men, including Starke, were stricken with malaria and hoped by moving they could escape further outbreaks. They established a camp along the northern shores of a lake with open pine woods and found that the clear, clean water did indeed bring them better health. So Starke and his slaves worked in the fields near Lake Apopka during the day and retired to the warm, calm haven at night.
It was around this nucleus in which the community of Starke Lake began to grow. Though the town would eventually change its name, the lake which brought such good health to the man who originally settled here, still bears his name – Starke Lake.
Home to more than 37,000 people, Ocoee is located at the heart of three major expressways, making it an ideal location for working families and businesses alike. Meanwhile, its history is faithfully preserved for future generations via the Ocoee Christian Church and the Withers-Maguire House and Museum. The city’s past culture is observed in the beautiful parks, brick roads and historic buildings.