Name Origins of Florida Places @ Florida OCHP

Header image Name Origins
of Florida Places
Florida's cities and counties are named for influential residents, Indian words used to describe the area, and former governors. These pages briefly explain the meaning behind the names of some of its cities and all of its counties.

The Atlas of Florida is our source for Florida city and county names. If your community is not included here, it may be listed in the other sources cited below.

City Name Origins
(Click on letter that corresponds with city name)

/ Click Here for County Name Origins /

- A -

Altamonte Springs, Seminole County -- Altamonte is Spanish for "high hill". Right: waiting for the train at the Altomonte Springs Train Station, ca. 1882. (Click on city name to return to top)

Altamonte Springs Image

Anna Maria Island, Manatee County -- Ponce de Leon was said to have named the island for the queen of King Charles II, the sponsor of his expedition. Pronunciation is often disputed, most prefer Anna Mar-EE-a, but the old timers like Anna Mar-EYE-a.

Apalachicola, Franklin County -- The word probably comes from the Hitchiti Indian words "apalahchi" (on the other side) and "okli" (people). Together word may mean "those people residing on the other side or shore."

Arcadia, De Soto County -- The Rev. James Hendry named the town in honor of Arcadia Albritton, a daughter of pioneer settlers who baked him a cake for his birthday. He appreciated it so much he named the city after her.

Aripeka, Pasco County -- Named after Sam Jones, a famous Miccosukee chief, who was called Aripeka or Aripeika. The name is possible corrupted from Muskogee "abihka" (pile at the base or heap at the root), which was a contest for supremacy among warriors who piled up scalps, covering the base of the war-pole.

Belle Glade Image - B -

Belle Glade, Palm Beach County -- Belle Glade was originally known as the Hillsborough Canal Settlement. When the inhabitants requested their own post office, they were required to give the city a new name. A tourist traveling to the area said the town was the "belle of the glades." That sounded good to the locals. So with a minor change, it became the town's new name. Left: a January 1939 photo of Patrick's Cash Market in Belle Glade.

Bithlo, Orange County -- Bithlo derives from the Muskogee word "pilo" (canoe). The voiceless "l" was often written as "thl-."

Blountstown, Calhoun County -- This city was named for John Blount, the distinguished Seminole Indian chief who occupied the reservation just east of the town.

Boca Ciega, Pinellas County -- Named for Boca Ciega Bay, Boca Ciega literally means Blind Mouth in Spanish. This may have been a reference to what it looked like at the entrance of the river.

Boca Raton, Palm Beach County -- The Spanish "Boca de Ratones" means rat's mouth, a term used by seamen to describe a hidden rock which a ship's cable might rub against. Right: A city bus stops in front of the Mizner Development Corporation in downtown Boca Raton, 1925. Boca Raton Image

Bonifay, Holmes County -- Bonifay is the name of a prominent family in the area.

Brandon, Hillsborough County -- This town is named for the family of John Brandon, a man who moved his family and all their possessions to Florida.

Brooksville, Hernando County -- Brooksville comes from Preston Brooks, a former congressman of South Carolina.


- C -

Cape Canaveral, Brevard County -- Canaveral is the Spanish word for "a place of reeds or cane."

Cedar Key, Levy County -- This island once was covered by an abundant growth of cedar trees.

Chattahoochee, Gadsden County -- The name was taken from the well-known river in Georgia. The name is from Muskogee "chato" (rock) and "huchi" (marked).

Chipley, Washington County -- Chipley was named in honor of Colonel William D. Chipley, a railroad official.

Clearwater Image Clearwater, Pinellas County -- The town was first called Clear Water Harbor, because of a spring of water that bubbles up in the Gulf of Mexico close to shore, making the water in the vicinity clear. Left: the Clearwater Fire Department at the ready, June 13, 1922.

Cross City, Dixie County -- Two public roads crossed at this point, one coming from Perry to old Archer and the other from Branford to Horseshoe. W.H. Mathis, who decided on the name, wanted the location to be thought of as more than just crossroads.

Crystal River, Citrus County -- The correct translation of the name is "weewahiiaca" which is derived from the Seminole-Creek Indians word "wiwa" (water), "haiyayaki" (clear, shining).

- D -

Dade City, Pasco County -- The city is named for Maj. Francis Langhorne Dade, a U.S. Army officer killed by Seminoles at the start of the Second Seminole War.

Daytona Beach, Volusia County -- Daytona Beach is named after its founder, Mathias Day.

DeFuniak Springs, Walton County -- Col. Fred Defuniak, an official of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, gave his name to the town.

- F -

Fenholloway and Fenholloway River, Taylor County -- The source of the word Fenholloway (finalui) is Muskogee "fina" (footlog) and "halwi" (high), making "high footlog." The river runs through the town.

Fernandina Beach, Nassau County -- Fernandina was the early name of Cuba. Fernandina claims to be the oldest city in the United States. Right: a walk on the boardwalk by the Fernandina Beach Pavilion, ca. 1900. Fernandina Beach Image

Flagler Beach, Flagler County -- City's name comes from Henry M. Flagler, a early Florida railroad tycoon.

Floridatown:, anta Rosa County -- With one of the oldest place names in this state, Floridatown was a trading post when controlled the state..

Fort Dade, Pasco County -- This town is also named for Maj. Francis Langhorne Dade.

Fort Lauderdale, Broward County -- This one comes from Maj. William Lauderdale.

Fort Myers Image Fort Myers, Lee County -- This city is named for Gen. Abraham Charles Myers, a distinguished officer in the U.S. Army. Left: the front entrance to the Royal Palm Hotel near the beach in Fort Myers, ca. 1912.

Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County -- Named for Lt. Col. Benjamin Kendrick Pierce, the brother of former U.S. President Franklin Pierce, the fort was headquarters of the Army of the South under General Jesup.

Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa County -- The town is named after Camp Walton, a Confederate military site built in 1861 to guard East Pass during the Civil War..

Frostproof, Polk County -- It was named by cowboys who brought cattle to the region during the winter months to get away from frost.

- G -

Gainesville, Alachua County -- Gainesville gets its name from Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines, who led the capture of Aaron Burr.

Green Cove Springs, Clay County -- The St. Johns River curves here and is sheltered by evergreens.

Groveland, Lake County -- Originally called Taylorville, the town was renamed Groveland due to the large number of citrus groves in the region.

- H -

Haines City, Polk County -- First known as Clay Cut, Haines City is named in honor of railroad official Col. Henry Haines.

Hialeah, Dade County -- Of Muskogee origin "haiyakpo" (prairie) and "hili" (pretty), Hialeah means pretty prairie. Right: A promotional billboard welcomes visitors to Hialeah in 1921. Hialeah Image

High Springs, Alachua County -- The town was named this because a spring was located atop a hill within the town. The spring no longer exists.

Hillsborough River or Locktsapopka, Hillsborough County -- The Indian name of the waterway came from the Muskogee "lokchia" (acorns) and "papka" (eating place) -- the place where the acorns are eaten.

Hollywood, Broward County -- The town was nicknamed Hollywood-by-the-Sea by its founder, Joseph W. Young of California. That began the city's official name.

Homosassa, Citrus County -- The name comes form the Muskogee "homo" (pepper) and "sasi" (is there) -- the place where the wild pepper grows.

MORE CITY NAMES                        TOP OF PAGE

Atlas of Florida, edited by Edward A. Fernald and Elizabeth D. Purdum, (Revised Edition), Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, c1992.

Photos Courtesy of The Florida Photographic Collection, Florida State Archives.

Additional Resouces:
Florida Place Names: Alachua to Zolfo Springs, by Allen Morris, Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, c1995.

A Provisional Gazetteer of Florida Place-Names of Indian Derivation, by J. Clarence Simpson, Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Geological Survey, Special Publication No. 1, 1956.