Ocoee is a city in Orange County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 35,579. It is part of the Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
In the mid-1850s, Dr. J.D. Starke, stricken with malaria, led a group of slaves, similarly stricken, to the north side of an open pine wooded lake that provided clear and clean water to avoid further malaria outbreaks. The camp built by the group provided a base of operations from which to commute during the day to work the fields near Lake Apopka and rest at night. As the camp grew into a village, it took the name Starke Lake, a name the lake upon which the group settled bears to this day.
The city’s population increased further after the American Civil War as confederate soldiers and their families settled into the area, including Captain Bluford Sims and General William Temple Withers who wintered at the location. Captain Sims received a land grant for a 74-acre parcel to the west of Starke Lake in what is now the downtown portion of Ocoee on October 5, 1883. In 1886, Captain Sims, along with a group of original settlers, led an effort to have the town platted and changed the name to Ocoee, after a river near he grew up in Tennessee.