COVID-19 Collection

In March, the History Center shared callouts for donations from the community for anything related to the coronavirus in Central Florida, including emails from closed businesses, photos, oral histories, and news articles. Due to lockdown and necessary social-distancing measures, we turned our focus to digital materials.

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Orlando’s Division Street: The history behind what became a symbol of segregation

Historian Tana Porter wrote this story about Orlando’s Division Street for the Winter 2016 issue of Reflections from Central Florida, the magazine of the Historical Society of Central Florida. Division Street, now known as Division Avenue, has become a symbol of our city's segregation period.

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Carl Dann’s Dubsdread

Ownership of Dubsdread remained in the Dann family until the City of Orlando purchased it in 1978. The course has seen a variety of changes over the years, almost all of which resulted in making the course shorter to allow for more residential growth. 

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Chief Wilson and the Jones High School Band

Working against the odds, teenagers and their band leader became effective goodwill ambassadors for Orlando’s African American community in the days before the Civil Rights Movement.

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Father Nelson Pinder and the Jones High School Class of 1962

Father Pinder led the fight to integrate Orlando’s restaurants and lunch counters, stores, playgrounds, parks, and schools. He helped to persuade the Orlando Sentinel to eliminate its “Negro Section” and to cover African Americans in the main edition of the paper.

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Orlando Changes

The change Disney created in Orlando surely qualifies as the most dramatic and complete, with the most far-reaching consequences, but it was definitely not the first. Historian Tana Porter lists other significant events that shaped the City Beautiful.

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The Crooms Family: A Legacy of Education

The Crooms’ legacy of education lives on. Distinguished alumni of the Hopper Academy and the Crooms Academy include the author/anthropologist Zora Neal Hurston; U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings; and George Allen, the first black graduate of the University of Florida’s law school.

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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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