Irlo Bronson: who was he?

Florida Guide > Florida History

I am sure most of you will have travelled the Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway and wondered who Irlo was; well I decided to find out and now I can tell you.

Irlo was born in 1900 to George and Spicey (yes, really) Bronson who were a well respected family of cattle ranchers in Kissimmee.

Their story merits a brief mention as well since George and his family had originally travelled to Florida from North Carolina. And their method of transport? well it was an ox cart!

They gradually acquired land but it was during the 1920s depression that they had their best luck when they acquired 50, 000 acres by the simple measure of paying off the delinquent taxes of the owners of the land.

Later, Irlo would further add to the land holding by paying $1 an acre to further swell their ranch.

When Irlo was 24, he married a local girl called Flora Belle Bass and they went on to have 2 children, Inelle and Irlo junior.

His grandfather had served on The Florida House of Representatives and in his middle age, Irlo followed suit. His tenure was from 1942 to 1952. Irlo was a Democrat.

Now to the most interesting part of this tale, s far as we are concerned for it was Irlo who sold a huge tract of land to Walt Disney for his theme park.

It is noted that he got $100 an acre for this land and it is also noted that his father who had berated him for his profligacy in paying a dollar an acre for this land would now berate him for ' giving' the same land away for 100 times that amount.

And indeed, later, some landowners achieved $15000 an acre.

Irlo, however, really believed in Walt Disney' s vision and did all he could to smooth the way for the corporation.

Irlo Bronson died in 1973 and subsequently, a large part of the 192 was named in his honour.

Irlo' s grandfather had also served on The Florida House of Representatives and it is nice to know that Irlo' s son has also served his time in this office. He is known as Bud.

It is good to know that Irlo lived long enough to see the start of his and Walt' s shared dream; I wonder what he would make of it all now?

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