"kissimmee and hwy 192"
kissimmee, pronounced kiss-sim-ee, is the county seat of osceola county florida. originally named allendale kissimmee was incorporated in 1883. in the late 1800's hamilton disston worked out a deal with the state of florida to drain two million acres of swamp land near kissimmee. his payment for the job was a million acres which made him the largest land owner in the united states at the time. osceola county since the turn of the 20th century has been known for it's cattle ranches. until the 1970's kissimmee was a florida "cow town". today kissimmee hosts the annual silver spurs rodeo which is a reminder of it's cowboy past.
kissimmee drastically changed in the early 1970's with the opening of walt disney world. highway 192 which runs from the main entrance to disney to downtown kissimmee was quickly lined with motels, fast food restaurants, and tourist shops. many of these 1970's motels and shops can be seen today. over the years kissimmee's dependence on the cattle industry waned and it has became a world famous tourist town. orlando also grew with the opening of disney world and kissimmee has been enveloped by the greater orlando urban sprawl.
today only downtown kissimmee retains some of it's pre disney history. kissimmee has a nice historic district and a beautiful lakeside park downtown. most visitors to the kissimmee area miss downtown in favor of the more famous theme parks but it is worth checking out to see a bit of old florida surrounded by the orlando urban sprawl.