Marion County, Florida

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Marion County, Florida
Seal of Marion County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Marion County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
FoundedMarch 14, 1844
Named forFrancis Marion
Largest cityOcala
 • Total1,663 sq mi (4,307 km2)
 • Land1,585 sq mi (4,105 km2)
 • Water78 sq mi (202 km2), 4.7%
 • (2010)331,298
 • Density209/sq mi (81/km²)
Congressional districts3rd, 5th, 11th
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
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For counties with a similar name, see Marion County (disambiguation).
Marion County, Florida
Seal of Marion County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Marion County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
FoundedMarch 14, 1844
Named forFrancis Marion
Largest cityOcala
 • Total1,663 sq mi (4,307 km2)
 • Land1,585 sq mi (4,105 km2)
 • Water78 sq mi (202 km2), 4.7%
 • (2010)331,298
 • Density209/sq mi (81/km²)
Congressional districts3rd, 5th, 11th
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4

Marion County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 331,298.[1] Its county seat is Ocala.[2]

Marion County comprises the Ocala, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Marion County was created in 1844 from portions of Alachua, Mosquito (Orange), and Hillsborough counties. Until 1853, Marion County included most of what are now Lake and Sumter counties. In 1849, Putnam County was created and took the northeast portion of Marion. Levy County’s creation took some of the western portion of Marion in 1877. The county is named after General Francis Marion of South Carolina, a guerilla fighter and hero of the American Revolutionary War. The Act creating the county of Marion of the Territory of Florida was signed on March 14, 1844, by the territorial governor, R. K. Call. Many of the early settlers of Marion County were from South Carolina. The county motto is "Kingdom of the Sun." Farms in the county are known for breeding champion race horses such as Affirmed and Needles.

Sheriff's office[edit]

Shortly after Marion County was formed the first known Sheriff, William Strifel, was appointed over the county, but the only known fact was that Sheriff Strifel only served for the remainder of that year. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office came into being as a result of the State Charter in 1845.

The first Sheriff was Edmund Davis Howse, who was sworn in on October 31, 1845. Sheriff Howse served until 1851. The first jail was built about 1847 on the northwest corner of what is now the downtown square in Ocala. Marion County’s first real courthouse was planned in 1850, and constructed on the town square in 1851. It was described as a two story, stately looking frame building of colonial design. The first floor contained offices, with the courtroom on the second. The jail was described as a small building about fifteen feet square, with two stories. The entrance to the lower floor was through the upper floor. In 1854, a new jail was constructed away from the Square because of complaints that the jail detracted from the new courthouse on the square.

Simeon Halvenston was the second Sheriff of Marion County, and served from 1852 to 1855, apparently not finishing his term due to the political situation. Norman A. McLeod was installed as Sheriff in 1856, but lasted only a short time before Simeon Halvenston was re-elected, serving the second time from 1857 to 1859. In 1859, Daniel Cappleman was elected the fifth Sheriff of Marion County, serving from 1860 to 1863.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,663 square miles (4,310 km2), of which 1,585 square miles (4,110 km2) is land and 78 square miles (200 km2) (4.7%) is water.[3]

Marion County is generally composed of rolling hills, some high and some low. The majority of its trees consist of live oaks, pine, and palm trees. Marion County is considered the southernmost county in North Central Florida, and the northernmost county in Central Florida.

It is about a two-hour drive from many of Florida's major cities, Orlando is 75 minutes to the southeast while Daytona Beach is about 90 minutes to the east. Tampa is about 75 minutes to the southwest. Jacksonville is roughly a two-hour drive northeast. Miami is about five hours to the southeast. Fort Lauderdale is about a four-hour drive from Marion County.

Marion County also has three large lakes at its opposite borders. Orange Lake is in the far northern part of Marion County, near the border with Alachua County. Lake Kerr is in the northeastern part of the county, near the town of Salt Springs, which is near the border with Putnam County. Lake Weir, the largest of the three, is in the far southern region near the border with Lake County. Part of Lake George is in Marion County also.

Marion County is inland, centered between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Because of this, Marion County is not affected as much by hurricanes as the more coastal counties to its east and west are. However, tornadoes are a major threat to this region of the state. Although Marion County is not near either of Florida's coasts, it is situated slightly to the west. Therefore, it takes a little less than an hour to get to the Gulf of Mexico while it takes about half an hour longer to get to the Atlantic Ocean.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Est. 2013337,3621.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[4]
1790-1960[5] 1900-1990[6]
1990-2000[7] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 258,916 people, 106,755 households, and 74,621 families residing in the county. The population density was 164 people per square mile (63/km²). There were 122,663 housing units at an average density of 78 per square mile (30/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.16% White, 11.55% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.69% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. 6.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. According to the 2000 Census the largest European ancestry groups in Marion County were English (18.7%), German (16.7%) and Irish (14.0%).

There were 106,755 households out of which 24.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.10% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the county the population was spread out with 21.40% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 23.80% from 25 to 44, 23.90% from 45 to 64, and 24.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 93.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,944, and the median income for a family was $37,473. Males had a median income of $28,836 versus $21,855 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,848. About 9.20% of families and 13.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.20% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Florida Department of Corrections operates facilities in unincorporated areas in the county, including the Lowell Correctional Institution and the Lowell Annex.[9][10] The annex houses Florida's female death row.[11]

Law enforcement[edit]


County public education is supervised under the Marion County School District.

Public school system[edit]

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Anthony Elementary School
  • Belleview Elementary School
  • Belleview-Santos Elementary School
  • College Park Elementary School
  • Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary (Magnet)
  • Dunnellon Elementary School
  • East Marion Elementary School
  • Eighth Street Elementary School
  • Emerald Shores Elementary School
  • Evergreen Elementary School
  • Fessenden Elementary School
  • Fort McCoy School|Fort McCoy School (K-8)
  • Katie Fay Elementary School
  • Greenway Elementary School
  • Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary School
  • Harbour View Elementary School
  • Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks(4th-8th)
  • Madison Street Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (Magnet)
  • Maplewood Elementary School
  • Oakcrest Elementary School
  • Ocala Springs Elementary School
  • Reddick-Collier Elementary School
  • Romeo Elementary School
  • Saddlewood Elementary School
  • Shady Hill Elementary School
  • South Ocala Elementary School
  • Sparr Elementary School
  • Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary School
  • Sunrise Elementary School
  • Ward-Highlands Elementary School
  • Wyomina Park Elementary School

Middle schools[edit]

  • Belleview Middle School
  • Dunnellon Middle School
  • Fort King Middle School
  • Fort McCoy School(K-8)
  • Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks(4th-8th)
  • Howard Middle School
  • Lake Weir Middle School
  • Liberty Middle School
  • North Marion Middle School
  • Osceola Middle School

High schools[edit]

Marion County Public Schools Homepage


The Marion County Public Library System has 8 branches. The library system also has two bookmobiles that have routes throughout the county on weekdays.


Interstates and Expressways[edit]

Surface roads[edit]

Public transportation[edit]

Local bus service is provided by SunTran.[12]




Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  9. ^ "Lowell Correctional Institution." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  10. ^ "Lowell Annex." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  11. ^ "Death Row Fact Sheet." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  12. ^

External links[edit]

Government links/constitutional offices[edit]

Special districts[edit]

Judicial branch[edit]

Tourism links[edit]

Miscellaneous links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°13′N 82°04′W / 29.21°N 82.06°W / 29.21; -82.06