Apopka is a city located 12 miles northwest of Orlando, Florida and is the second largest city of Orange County. Apopka is known for having one of the longest-serving mayors in the United States, John H. Land. He was first elected in 1949 and served for 61.25 years, with only a three-year break, making him the longest performing mayor in Florida and longest serving full-time mayor in the United States through the year 2014. With an estimated population of 45,587, it continues in its growth and progress, making the Apopka area a wonderful place for its residents, offering numerous business and recreational avenues.

Apopka was originally settled by the Acuera people, which were members of the the Timucua confederation. Due to the deadly diseases brought into Florida by the Spanish colonist, they had disappeared by 1730 and succeeded by refugees from Alabama and Georgia, which formed the new Seminole Indian tribe. A major trading center was built on the foundations of the earlier Indian settlement by the early American settlers. In 1857, growth in the area produced enough support for a Masonic lodge, which they later built a permanent facility, which is now the busy intersection of Main Street (U.S. 441) and Alabama Avenue. By 1882, the community surrounding this lodge, was officially incorporated in the name of Apopka, a Native American word for potato eating place.

Often being referred to as the "Foliage Capital of the World," Apopka became an area where there were rows of greenhouses and family-owned nurseries on the outskirts of town. Foliage plants, which are part of Florida's nursery and landscape industry, brought in annual sales at an estimated $15.3 billion, and in 1924, they even added "Fern City" to their municipal crest, which has since been changed to "Foliage Capital of the World." No other state grows more foliage than Florida, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Nowadays, land has become more valuable for development than for agriculture and in 2009, the Maitland Boulevard Extension (SR 414) opened, relieving some of US 441's traffic. This six lane tollway, on the south side of Apopka, expedites traffic through the Maitland, Altamonte Springs and Apopka communities and eventually connecting to Interstate 4 in Sanford. With the easyl accessibility that this system offers, business is bombing in the Apopka community. Having an estimated median income of $58,344, Apopka offers a vast selection of employment opportunities. Recently, ground broke on a seven-story, $203 million hospital, a development by Adventist Health Systems. This will create a well-desired area for medical and professional offices, along with other commercial businesses.

In a community where 56% of the population is married and 38% of them have children, schools and education are important. The Orange County Public School District serves the children of Apopka, offering 9 elementary schools(grades Pre-K – 5th), 3 middle schools (grades 6th – 8th) and 2 high schools (9th – 12th). The Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, Apopka High School, produces much more than scholars, they are home to the state-champion Blue Darters football team. With an 85% graduation rate, they students of Apopka have great possibilities to continue their education. The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Mid-Florida Research and Education Center is located in Apopka, along with a satellite campus of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. The Golf Academy of America hosts a campus within the vicinity as well as Valencia College, Rollins College, Seminole State College, Full Sail University, Everest University, Universal Technical Institute (Auto Motorcycle & Marine Mechanics Institute Division) and the University of Central Florida, all within approximately 20 miles.

The City of Apopka is a wonderful community with numerous possibilities for recreational activities. From the thrilling experience of Scottish golf at the exquisite Sweetwater Golf and Country Club to the breathtaking springs and lush green spaces of Wekiva State Park, this area is a desirable place to be. Playing fields, tennis and basketball courts, walking trails, playgrounds and even an amphitheater and neighborhood community center, the citizens of Apopka have a family-friendly environment with lots of options. Apopka was named by Forbes Magazine in 2012 as the "14th Friendliest City in America," making it a great place to call home!

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Updated: 21st May, 2019 1:49 AM.