According to tradition, this is how Wildwood obtained its name before it was a community.  In 1877, a crew of workmen and a surveyor were putting in a telegraph line south of Ocala.  The surveyor was required to report in from time to time.  So when the surveyor called in and the office asked “Where are you?”  He paused, and the answer he gave was, “I don’t know, except in the wild woods.” I.E. Barwick is considered to be Wildwood’s founding father.  Wanton S. Webb’s History of Florida, published during the latter part of the nineteenth century, described Wildwood as being settled in 1877 by I.E. Barwick.  Isaac W. Barwick was a 25-year- old entrepreneur who traveled to the area from Georgia and set up a lumbering operation.  Along with a small number of pioneers, Barwick built a few stores, homes and a town square.  The early settlers of Wildwood participated in agricultural pursuits, most of the products produced were usually for home consumption, like cotton.  Some cotton was carried by ox carts to Silver Springs for shipment In 1882, the Tropical Florida Railroad Company had extended a line south from Ocala to Wildwood.  On June 1, 1882, the first train, pulled by a wood burning engine named “The Cabbage Head” arrived in Wildwood.  By January 1, 1883, another eight miles was added and a new railroad was serving Panasoffkee. In January, 1885, the Florida Railway and Navigation company started construction of an additional 14 miles between Panasoffkee and Terrell.  This project was completed that same July. For many years Wildwood was the northern control city on Turnpike road signs however this was replaced with Ocala, Florida beginning in 2007. Because of its centralized location and easy access to both coasts, it is often referred to as “The Crossroads of Florida”. CSX railroad also has a station located
on Main Street in Wildwood.



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