The first commercial airline flight in the United States took off from St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1914.
Bradford County, located in the northern part of Florida, has a rich history that stretches back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by indigenous tribes, such as the Timucua and Seminole people, who thrived off the natural resources of the region. European colonization began in the 16th century when Spanish explorers arrived, but it wasn't until the late 18th century that permanent settlement occurred.

In 1858, Bradford County was established, named after Captain Richard Bradford, a soldier during the Seminole Wars. The county saw significant growth during the late 19th century with the arrival of railroads and the development of agriculture, particularly in the production of cotton, corn, and timber. The county seat, Starke, was founded in 1857 and quickly became a bustling trading center.

One notable event in Bradford County's history is the construction of Camp Blanding during World War II. Established in 1939 as a training site for the Florida National Guard, Camp Blanding played a crucial role in the war effort, training thousands of soldiers before they were deployed overseas. The impacts of the camp can still be seen today, as it remains an active training center and a significant contributor to the local economy.

In recent decades, Bradford County has witnessed changes in its economic landscape, transitioning from an agricultural-based economy to one that is more diverse. While farming continues to be an important industry, the county has also attracted new businesses, particularly in manufacturing and retail. The county's natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, such as the Santa Fe Swamp and the local lakes and rivers, have also made tourism a growing sector.

Overall, Bradford County has a rich and diverse history, shaped by Native American tribes, European settlers, and the developments of the 19th and 20th centuries. It remains a vibrant community, embracing its past while looking towards the future.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Bradford County, Florida.

  • 1832 - Bradford County is established as one of the original counties of the Florida Territory.
  • 1841 - The first courthouse is built in New River, which serves as the county seat.
  • 1858 - The county seat is moved to Starke due to the decline of New River's population.
  • 1861-1865 - Bradford County contributes soldiers to the Confederate cause during the American Civil War.
  • 1875 - The first railroad is established in Starke, promoting economic growth in the county.
  • 1896 - A devastating fire destroys much of downtown Starke, resulting in the need for reconstruction.
  • 1925 - The county courthouse in Starke is completed and still stands as a prominent historic landmark today.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression brings economic hardship to the county, but various New Deal programs help alleviate some of the suffering.
  • 1942 - Camp Blanding, a large military training facility, is built in Bradford County during World War II.
  • 1955 - The DuPont company opens a chemical plant in the county, leading to increased industrial growth.
  • 1960s-1970s - Civil rights activism spreads to Bradford County, leading to desegregation and social changes.
  • 1980s-1990s - The county experiences growth in population and development, particularly in the residential and agricultural sectors.
  • 2000s - Bradford County continues to develop while preserving its rural character, attracting tourists and new residents.