Iconic Fountain Reflects City’s Rich Heritage

The fountain at Lake Eola has become the closest thing Orlando has to an icon, its green bubble a permanent part of the city’s mental landscape, a survivor from the Fabulous Fifties that debuted under Sputnik skies.

Continue reading article Iconic Fountain Reflects City’s Rich Heritage

O Christmas Star, O Christmas Star

The holiday season in downtown Orlando is a familiar sight. Perhaps one of Orlando’s most iconic holiday decorations is the yellow Christmas star that illuminates the intersection of Orange Avenue and Central Boulevard each year.

Continue reading article O Christmas Star, O Christmas Star

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.

Continue reading article Cyanide at the San Juan

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.

Continue reading article Homegrown Haunts: Orlando Ghost Stories

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.

Continue reading article Skyscraper Survivors

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.”

Continue reading article Creating Church Street Station

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).

Continue reading article The Age of Concrete: The Orlando Public Library

An Orlando Legend: Billy the Swan

November 27 is Giving Tuesday, a global day of generosity for nonprofits around the world. Donations to the Historical Society of Central Florida can make a real difference in our community.

Continue reading article An Orlando Legend: Billy the Swan

Orlando’s Lethal Weapon Cat-Tastrophe

On October 24, 1991, the evening of the implosion, nearby office towers hosted exclusive implosion parties, and thousands of people gathered along Orange Avenue and other vantage points outside the six-block safety zone to watch the spectacle.

Continue reading article Orlando’s Lethal Weapon Cat-Tastrophe