Wildwood Florida

FEATURED LISTING: Florida ::: Wildwood

Wildwood in Sumter County, in The Villages metro area got its name in a strange way. Apparently in1877, when telegraph wires were being laid in the area, a surveyor was asked by his office to state his exact location. He replied that he did not know where he was, except in the wild woods. Wildwood was settled around the same time by Isaac W. Barwick, a 25-year-old entrepreneur from Georgia who set up a lumbering operation. The early pioneers built a few stores, homes and a town square and were mostly farmers. Most of the produce was for home consumption though some cotton was taken by ox carts to Silver Springs for shipment till 1882, when the Tropical Florida Railroad Company extended a line south from Ocala to Wildwood.

Wildwood developed slowly in the early twentieth century. The city hall was an eight-sided building called the Wigwam that also served as a public gathering place, skating rink and recreation hall for the young people. Though the depression hit Wildwood hard like it did the rest of Florida, reduction of taxes helped the city recover and it grew steadily till the fifties. Even when the railroad declined Wildwood continued its progress when Florida's turnpike was completed in 1964. Far sighted leaders built a shopping center there.Today Wildwood is most easily accessible by road and because of its centralized location and easy access to both coasts, it is often referred to as ‘The Crossroads of Florida’.

Wildwood is home to fewer than four thousand people with over 30% of African American descent. Wildwood is less than 50 miles to Disney World, Epcot, Sea World, and Silver Springs and Orlando Airport. It also offers Amtrak service. It is friendly peaceful place and despite of its easy accessibility is still very much a quiet small town. It is home to popular retirement communities that provide excellent facilities to the active over 55s. Sumter County with its numerous inland water bodies offers numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The local hotels include Wildwood Days Inn and Super 8. Wildwood KOA is a popular camping ground with a heated pool, mini golf and holiday potlucks. During the winter season, you will be entertained with live music and trips to local attractions. Wildwood’s claim to controversial fame is because of Buddy’s Bar-B-Q that is a stubborn hold out against Florida’s smoking ban. A gigantic ten foot long, five foot high fiberglass pig on its roof now has a PVC pipe painted like a cigarette sticking out of the pig’s rear that is connected to the restaurant’s cooking smoke. The restaurants slogan is ‘Home of the Smokin’ Pig! Smoking is permitted indoors and the restaurant is happy to accept contributions to pay for smoking fines!

Its excellent central location and abundance of wholesome recreational facilities have once again brought Wildwood into the focus as an area of potential growth. It is certainly a great place to live and raise a family.

Florida Cities and Towns