DeSoto County Courthouse
DeSoto County Courthouse
    Cities & Towns:
  • Arcadia

DeSoto County is located in west central Florida. DeSoto County contains 638 square miles of land area and 2 square miles of water surface. The county seat is Arcadia. DeSoto County was founded on May 19, 1887, and named for Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto.

Carlstrom Field Air Base was located in DeSoto County during World War II. While training at the base, 23 British aviators died in accidents, and were buried with honors at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia. The base was closed in 1945 and sold to Florida for $1. Florida created the G. Pierce Wood Memorial Hospital (a mental health facility) on the property. When it became outdated for that purpose, Florida Department of Corrections took over the property and turned it into a juvenile offendor facility.

Hurricane Charley passed across DeSoto County on August 13, 2004, and damaged almost every building in the county. Some structures were completely destroyed.