Photograph by Maven Photo and Film
The History of West Ocala is an account of vision, perseverance, revival, and opportunity. It has been expressed through its citizens, its sense of community, and its landmarks.
From 1880-1900, Ocala began to expand outside of its original city limits. During that period, the majority of Black residents began to settle west of the downtown core. Ocala's main east-west thoroughfare, Broadway (now Silver Springs Boulevard), was the commercial heart of downtown. The street was home to many of Ocala's most prosperous Black businessmen and leaders.
In 1989, the first survey to solely concentrate on the West Ocala area was undertaken with funds from the City of Ocala and its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. Recommendations from the report included a nomination of part of the area to the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2000, the City of Ocala undertook a study of West Ocala that expanded upon the 1989 survey. Over 350 historic resources located in the West Ocala area were surveyed and a National Register nomination was prepared for the core of the historic neighborhood.
West Ocala's history continues to be written with community programs and new landmarks, emerging opportunities and community champions. This history has its roots in the foundation of its rich culture and heritage and is an unfolding of this community's vision for being a dynamic, diverse, friendly, safe, and connected community with vibrant residential, business, governmental, cultural, educational, and entertainment centers.
Please take a journey through this mural and walk the history of Ocala’s Black residents and that of West Ocala.