Cyanide at the San Juan

When Orange County Deputy Sheriff George Fields arrived at Room 208 of Orlando’s San Juan Hotel early on the morning of Feb. 16, 1938, 19-year-old Dolores Myerly had been dead for about 30 minutes. No one in the City Beautiful could have predicted where it would lead.

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Homegrown Haunts: Orlando Ghost Stories

Every state, every city, has ghost stories; Orlando is no exception. Along with its tourist attractions, both modern and from yesteryear, the city boasts a reputation for excellent spooky stories. Some ghostly tales involve historic buildings, such as the 1886 Bumby Building on West Church Street.

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A Thin Veil Among the Scrub: Spiritualism and Cassadaga

Begun in the late 19th century, Cassadaga is a small, unincorporated community in Volusia County. In the years since Cassadaga’s 1920s boom, the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp persisted as a mainstay of spiritualist life and practice, though the community has aged significantly.

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Sweeping Florida Politics Clean

The J. Brailey Odham Collection documents Odham’s commitment to the implementation of change in Florida’s political system and his commitment to the continued modernization of the state.

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Skyscraper Survivors

Three 1920s Orlando buildings represent the first wave of American commercial structures that climbed skyward on beams of steel. The Angebilt, the State Bank of Orlando & Trust Company Building, and the Orlando Bank & Trust Co. still survive in downtown Orlando.

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Preacher’s House

Goldsboro, a bustling all-black community west of French Avenue in Sanford, was established in 1891. If the City of Sanford had not annexed Goldsboro, there would have been two all-black incorporated cities in Central Florida—Eatonville and Goldsboro.

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Joseph Brechner and the 1960s Channel 9 editorials

The History Center is home to the Joseph L. Brechner Research Center, created through a donation from Marion Brody Brechner in honor of her husband.

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This Was Jonestown

Former slaves founded Orlando’s first African American community about 1880, when Sam Jones and his wife, Penny, settled along the banks of Fern Creek, about a mile east of Orlando’s downtown. Orlando’s promise of growth and prosperity attracted other African Americans hoping to find new lives in Florida.

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Preparing for a Landmark Exhibition

 History Center staff are preparing a major exhibition that will open just weeks before the 2020 national election and will look back a century to Election Day 1920 in Orange County – telling the story of the largest incident of voting-day violence in United States history, along with its aftermath.

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The Water-Themed Attractions of College Park

College Park, the Orlando neighborhood that was originally home to citrus and pineapple growers, also has a history of water-themed attractions including Orlando’s very first water park, a mystifying sinkhole, and a spouting well. Discover Russell’s Pavilion, the Mystery Sink, and the Fairview Geyser.

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