Pasco County, as well as Wesley Chapel itself, were known for their Cypress mills and turpentine stills in the early days, though the area’s economy has since changed drastically.
Wesley Chapel is a town (technically a CDP, or Census Designated Place) nestled in Pasco County, Florida.
It’s home to various communities and located right outside of the Tampa Bay Area, but still lying within the Tampa Metropolitan Area.
The area of Wesley Chapel carries a classic suburbia fee with it and provides homes for over 60,000 residents.
It’s a popular hotspot for in and out of state travelers alike, due to the many luxury communities within the area.
This is also one of the reasons that Wesley Chapel has contributed so much to Pasco County’s growth.
But how did Wesley Chapel come about in the first place?
Wesley Chapel originally went by a few names. Officially, it was called Double Branch, named after the twin creeks running through the area, though another common name for Wesley Chapel was “Gatorville.”
Eventually, it was given the current name of Wesley Chapel, named after a local church in the area.
(Since its beginnings, the church has actually had three buildings made over the years!)
Some of Wesley Chapel’s early industries included its aforementioned cypress mills and turpentine stills, which were the basis of its early growth. Though there have been many more pieces that have made up smaller parts of its industry, such as charcoal making and even moonshining.
Much of Wesley Chapel’s early growth happened after settlers from the American Civil War moved into the area.
As said before, a few things that made up the basis of Wesley Chapel’s early growth were the turpentine stills, lumber mills, and influx of settlers, which is what started the growth that’s taken the area from 0 to the 60,000+ population CDP it is today.
The production of turpentine and cypress lumber products required that wagons travel to carry the goods.
The paths that these wagons regularly traveled turned into trails, which made up the basis for many of the roads that still exist in Wesley Chapel today.
These roads, paired with the industry, played a big part in boosting the area’s growth.
Fun Fact: The area was also known for a cacti farm that existed back in the day!
Up until semi-recently, though, Wesley Chapel wasn’t the economic hub it is today, despite its industry, the bulk of the area’s growth has happened since around the early 2000s.
Why those years specifically, though?
This was when the opening of State Road 56 happened in 2003. With the opening of this large roadway, Wesley Chapel’s growth into the hub of Pasco County began.
The roadway was just the start of it, as it led to the development of multiple retail hotspots, such as the Shops At Wiregrass Mall and more.
Another huge factor to Wesley Chapel’s growth was Don Porter, who helped transform his over 5,000 acres of ranch land into what Wesley Chapel has become today.
Now, Wesley Chapel is one of Florida’s (and The United States’) fastest-growing communities. It’s filled with various amenities for tourists and residents alike.
There are multiple shopping malls, such as the Shops At Wiregrass, The Grove, and more.
There’s also plenty of recreational activities and land reserved for parks and conservation that contribute to the natural beauty of the area.
It sits only about an hour away from Tampa too. In fact, there was even an (unsuccessful) attempt to incorporate Wesley Chapel into a city of its own.
Wesley Chapel, in the current day, is a fantastic area that’s growing faster by the day.
Whether you’re a tourist visiting the Tampa area or you’re looking for somewhere nice to settle down in Florida, Wesley Chapel might just be the place for you.
It’s got various luxury communities that make it a great place to start a family, plenty to do, and as mentioned before, it’s not far from Tampa by any means, which just ensures you’ll never be bored.