Creating Church Street Station

“When we were goin’ and blowin’,” Bob Snow says Church Street Station “had such a reputation.” In its prime in the 1980s, it was one of the premier attractions in Florida. Lili Marlene's Aviator's Pub and Restaurant was the "top-grossing restaurant in the state until Hard Rock.”

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Gus Henderson: Crusading Voice for Voters and Newspaper Pioneer

Gus Henderson was the embodiment of the “self-made man”; from his humble beginnings, he became one of the South’s most eloquent editorialists and left an indelible mark on Central Florida history.  

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John Johansen-designed Orlando public library

The Age of Concrete: The Orlando Public Library

In 1962, the citizens of Orlando passed a Civic Improvements Bond issue that provided a million dollars to replace the Albertson Public Library, a Neoclassical-style structure that opened in 1923. For the new building, the city selected the Connecticut-based architect John Johansen (1916-2012).

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Woman stands on wing of biplane.

The Sky’s the Limit: Remembering Grace the Ace

This is the extraordinary story of an Orange County native who became an aviation pioneer and world-class airshow performer. Grace Ellen Butt graduated from Winter Park High and Rollins College and was a debutante of the Rosalind Club, but to her generation, she was the legendary “Grace the Ace.”

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Sepia tone photos of doctors McEwan and Christ both wear suits and bow-ties.

Orlando’s First Hospital and the Rivalry That Transformed a Community

Being sick or injured in early 20th-century Orlando was a much different experience than it is today. If you could not afford to pay a doctor to make a house call, you might have found yourself in a lantern-lit hospital ward, cooled only with fans blowing over crushed ice.

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A sculpture of Annie Oakley and Dave the Wonder Dog. Oakley kneels down holding a rifle, Dave is on the opposite side, sitting.

Little Sure Shot’s Snowbird Days: Annie Oakley in Central Florida

Like so many Midwesterners, Annie Oakley wintered in Florida, and despite her fascinating, globe-trotting personal history, two of the most “pivotal events of her life” happened in the Sunshine State. She was a part of our history, as Florida was of her’s.

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Mary McLeod Bethune wearing a Victorian-stye dress with a locket

Inaugural Women’s History Breakfast Honors Mary McLeod Bethune

On March 12, the Orange County Regional History Center presents its inaugural Women’s History Month Breakfast with a program honoring Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), the legendary Daytona Beach educator who is hailed as one of our nation’s most powerful advocates for civil rights and suffrage.

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Silohuette of marching band again a sunset with images of band leaders

Screening of “Marching Forward” Tells Inspiring Orlando Story

In honor of Black History Month, Mayor Jerry L. Demings and the History Center proudly presents a special showing of the award-winning documentary film “Marching Forward.”

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Postcard of House of Mystery shows parking lot and couple standing in an optical illusion

Land of the Lost Attractions

Central Florida has long been a tourism hot spot where roadside attractions that have come and gone. Some, such as Cypress Gardens, loom large in Florida’s history, while others have been largely forgotten. Here’s a photographic look back at just a few.

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Arched type reads Orange County Heritage Day with citrus grove in the background

Orange County Heritage Day Returns January 25

The celebration marks 175 years since Orange County traded in its first name: Mosquito. For the second year, the Orange County Regional History Center celebrates Orange County’s official beginnings with free admission and fun activities for the whole family.

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