Haines City is suitably located in Central Florida and is referred to as the "Heart of Florida" due to its location. Haines City has a exceptional character that can be found throughout the City. Haines City still maintains its small town character while experiencing tremendous growth. Come shop and dine in our historic downtown, contribute in the many recreational opportunities, enjoy the range of special events that bring the community together and walk through the pleasant neighborhoods we call home.
The city was platted in 1885, shortly after the South Florida Railroad reached the area. The city was first known as Clay Cut, but there was no railroad station. It is said that the population convinced the railroad company to build a station by agreeing to rename their city Haines City, to honor a senior railroad official, Colonel Henry Haines.The early settlers planted citrus groves, and citrus rising and processing became the main industry of the city. From 1974 to 1986 Circus World, a theme park created by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, was open just north of Haines City.
After Circus World shut down, Boardwalk and Baseball opened on the same site. It featured carnival games and theme park styled rides like the Grand Rapids Flume. It closed in 1990, and the site has been redeveloped as a residential and shopping complex named Posner Park.In recent years Haines City has seen unstable growth, largely because of its easy access to Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort. New residential areas have been developed on the edges of the city. On high ground in the north of the city, Southern Dunes, a golf and country club with both vacation homes and residential homes, was developed between 1995 and 2005.
In 2004, abnormally in a city so far inland, parts of Haines City expert three hurricanes. Hurricane Charley passed through the city in August. Hurricane Frances came right on the heels of Charley but frequently just dumped a lot of rain. Hurricane Jeanne soon followed packing a punch not quite as strong as Charley but longer lasting. The city has since recovered.Four years after Charley, Haines City got struck again this time by a weaker storm named Tropical Storm Fay. This storm caused small damage, but schools closed on the second day of the school year due to it; the original plan had been to close schools Tuesday and Wednesday, but the lack of danger it showed on Tuesday caused the change in agenda.
Geography and climate
Haines City is located at 28°6′42″N 81°37′43″W / 28.11167°N 81.62861°W / 28.11167; -81.62861 (28.111751, -81.628650). Haines City is located within the Central Florida Highlands area of the Atlantic coastal plain, with a terrain consisting of a low ridge of gently rolling hills increasing from the coastal flatlands.According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51 km2). Of that, 8.3 square miles (21 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2), 7.27% of the total, is water.
Fishing, boating and swimming are available at the 11 lakes in and around Haines City. The city's two largest lakes offer boat ramps and areas for fishing. Disney World is one of the most accepted destinations for visitors to Haines City. The theme park is less than a 30-minute drive from Haines City. Other attractions that are less than 30 miles from Haines City are Gatorland in Kissimmee and The Holy Land Experience in Orlando. The Holy Land Experience is a village that is patterned after ancient Jerusalem.