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.
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.
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.
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.
Being sick or injured in early 20th-century Orlando was a much different experience than it is today. If you could not afford to pay a doctor to make a house call, you might have found yourself in a lantern-lit hospital ward, cooled only with fans blowing over crushed ice.