St. Matthew’s Tavern has undergone multiple transformations throughout the history of the building on North Mills Avenue in Orlando. The building has housed a multitude of gay bars in the past, including the Silver Hammer, Cactus Club, and Paradise.
Long before the Pulse nightclub tragedy of June 12, 2016, Pulse had a special place in Orlando’s gay community. The club was hugely beloved. Established in 2004 by Barbara Poma and Ron Legler in memory of Barbara’s brother, Pulse came onto the scene later than the other bars.
In January 2021, a long-standing bastion of Orlando’s gay community was torn down. For more than forty years, Parliament House had provided a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people to meet and be themselves at 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail.
The recipient of the John Young History Maker Award for 2021, the Honorable Mable Butler blazed a historic career in public service in Orlando and Orange County. She was the first African American woman on Orlando’s City Council and the first African American member on the County Commission.
Orlando lost one of its most prominent and beloved gay icons on July 15, 2019. Joel Strack lived his life out and proud during extremely difficult times for gay men in America. He was a hilarious, generous, and hard-working man.
Teaching about 9/11 in this generation presents its own unique challenges. We experience an intersection of history and memory where teachers and parents are remembering their own personal, lived experiences of that day, and students are often learning about this history for the first time.
Serving as the Orange County Regional History Center’s inaugural HERstory: Women’s History Intern has been an enriching experience for me. I have worked with an amazingly collaborative and enthusiastic group of colleagues, who work to fulfill the museum’s mission.
When W. M. Van Brunt opened what is believed to have been Orlando’s first indoor bowling alley around the end of 1910 or beginning of 1911, the sport was still new to many Americans, but its popularity was steadily growing.
Orlando said farewell to Wet ’n Wild on New Year’s Eve 2016, just shy of the park’s 40th anniversary. SeaWorld creator George Millay opened it in 1977 and most industry experts name Wet ’n Wild Orlando as the world’s first true water park.
Augustus Milton Nicholson was the first taxidermist in Orlando. His shop, located somewhere along West Church Street between Orange and Garland avenues, had a large pen in back containing live snakes and other reptiles that Nicholson caught in the Florida wilds.