The first settlement in the area now known as Davenport was in 1838 when the U.S. military set up Fort Davenport during the Second Seminole War, about 12 miles north of the present site of Davenport. The fort was one of a number built at 20 mile intervals along a trail from Fort Brooke to Fort Mellon. The fort only lasted a few years. The fort was named for Colonel William Davenport, who served as the local U.S. commander in the war.
The modern city of Davenport had its start in the 1880s when the South Florida Railroad was extended to that point. The settlement was first known as Horse Creek, for the creek first recorded on a U.S. Army survey of 1849 which flows past the site to enter Snell Creek and eventually Lake Hatchineha in the Kissimmee River system. A post office was established at Horse Creek in 1884, and the name of the post office was changed to Davenport in 1886.
The South Florida Railroad opened a station half a mile north of the present site of the city. In 1926 it was replaced by a new station in the downtown area. From 1958 to 1986 there was a second station, the Vertagreen Railroad Station, opened only for the transportation of fertiliser and not for public use.
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