Thursday, March 02, 2006

Orlando, the Name Game

Orlando about 1918
The sign into town says "ORLANDO UNINCORPORATED". Growing up we all wondered two things.
a. What does incorporation entail and was Orlando ever incorporated?
b. Why was it called Orlando?

Decades later we have answers to some of our questions.
a. A community must have a population of 500 residents per square mile to seek incorporation. With incorporation comes more responsibility and control for a community.
At its peak Orlando was reaching the population needed for incorporation, but it was never incorporated. The photo above was taken at about Orlando's population peak.1

b. To the second question we have too many answers. How did Orlando get its name? The hamlet naturally developed where the stream named Clover Fork flowed into Oil Creek. It was called, in all obvious simplicity, "Confluence." This 1895 map of Braxton County indicates the town of Confluence right where it should be, in the upper right quater of the map. The name was changed to Orlando about 1803. because there was a Confluence, Pennsylvania and the two were getting confused.

Joy Stalnaker tells us that when the change was being considered, "Skinnerville" was a contender. Somewhere I've seen "Orlando Junction," which would have been a cool name.

Still, who or what was "Orlando" that the town was given this name?

1. Orlando:Cinderella City... . Weston Democrat Wed, Nov 2, 1977.

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