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.
After noticing that the St. James African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church had fallen into disrepair, I began the process of forming a foundation to restore the church and to house a museum there that would tell the story of the colored schools in the Oviedo area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”