A Look Back: Florida in 1893

“Winter in Florida” taken by James W. Buel. Published in “America’s Wonderlands,” 1893

Florida wasn’t the travel destination we know today back in 1893. Indeed, there weren’t many people living there to visit.

According to the 1890 census, the population of Florida was only 891,422.  At that time, there were no (zero) “cities” of over 25,000 in Florida.

According to the 2010 census, the population of Florida was 18,801,310. According to EducationPortal.com, there are now seven universities in Florida with a student population greater than 25,000.

In 1893, college football didn’t exist in Florida. Florida State (then Florida State College) organized their first football club in 1902, and the University of Florida put its first varsity team on the field in 1906. The University of Miami wasn’t founded until 1925, and didn’t play football until 1926.

This railroad map from 1893 shows that tracks didn’t even extend all the way to Miami at that time.In fact, you might have a hard time locating Miami on that map; the city wasn’t incorporated until 1896. The city of Orlando was incorporated in 1885.

However, a great deal changed in Florida starting in 1898, when the Spanish-American War started. Tampa was used as a primary port for troops fighting in Cuba during that conflict.

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