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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.  Later the Lee family of Leesburg opened canals and waterways which made it possible to transport their products all the way to Bug Springs.  Bug Springs is a large spring located near the community of Okahumpka. 

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.

During the first two decades of this century, Wildwood continued its slow growth.  The city hall during these years was an eight-sided building called the Wigwam.  The Wigwam not only served as the city hall but was also used as a place for public gathering, skating rink and recreation hall for the young people.  The depression hit Wildwood hard in the late '20s and early '30s.  Defaults and forfeitures were common and the city also had its problems.  A generous reduction of tax bills due "50 cents on the dollar" brought a small amount of new revenues and the town grew steadily through the '30s, '40s and '50s.  When the railroad industry declined in the '60s, the town was successfully redirected by a few farsighted leaders.  A shopping center was built and Florida's turnpike was completed in 1964.

Wildwood has once again started its slow growth and is well positioned to both control and take advantage of the anticipated interest in the area as a great place to live and raise a family.