Page 1

the City of

Winter Park



ANNIVERSARY 1887– 2012

winter 2012 | $3.95



meet the artist Stephen Bach

winter 2012

The cover for this special 125th Anniversary Edition of Winter Park Magazine was painted by Stephen Bach, and it shows an iconic Winter Park scene. It is the exedra in Kraft Azalea Gardens, a 13-acre public park located on the shores of Lake Maitland. After a career in illustration, Bach transitioned into fine-art landscape painting in 2000. His works have been shown at leading juried art festivals throughout the U.S., including the Original Ann Arbor Street Fair, the Sausalito Art Festival, the Denver Cherry Creek Arts Festival, the Chicago Old Town Art Fair, the Kansas City Plaza Art Festival and the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Bach is represented by Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio; Bennett Galleries, Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.; Image South, Marietta, Ga.; and Fine Art Management in Orlando. His work is featured in numerous private and corporate collections. He works from McRae Art Studios in Winter Park.

FEATURES 7 | 10 who made a difference

Throughout its history, countless people have made a major impact on Winter Park. Here are 10 luminaries whose contributions have stood the test of time. BY STEVE RATJAR

24 | new england on florida’s frontier Winter Park’s founding families were determined to bring sophistication and wealth to this subtropical wonderland.


53 | an institution of achievement Since 1885, beautiful Rollins College has been Winter Park’s cultural and intellectual mecca. BY RANDY NOLES

departments 4 | first word 73 | DINING 79 | EVENTS 88 | PARTING SHOT


WIN T E R P A R K M A G A Z I N E | WI N TER 2012

This 1920s postcard shows the Palmer Avenue Bridge, which spans the Flamingo Canal. The view 90 years later is much the same.

the City of

Winter Park



winter 2012 | $3.95



First Word

The Founders Wanted a Gilded Age Utopia Other than its distinction as the year Winter Park was incorporated as a town, 1887 was not a particularly significant 12-month span. It does not evoke any powerful associations in the manner of, say, 1492, 1776, 1865 or 1945. It was the height of the Gilded Age, a term coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley in their book The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873). The authors did not mean this as a compliment. Gilding refers to applying a thin layer of gold leaf or powder over wood, stone or metal to give it a deceivingly expensive appearance. Because the Gilded Age was notable largely for ostentation and corruption, the description was apt. Winter Park’s founders, largely Northeastern and Midwestern sophisticates, were products of the Gilded Age and made their money as speculators, developers and captains of industry. But they also were, by all accounts, honest and upright men who never considered the possibility of lining their pockets through the sort of fly-by-night real estate schemes then rampant in Florida. Instead, they sought to create a community that would thrive for generations to come. It had to be beautiful, of course. But it also had to offer rich cultural opportunities and an institution of higher education equal to any found in Massachusetts or Chicago. And, with the bitter taste of Reconstruction still lingering, it had to be a progressive community, where the races lived in harmony, if not in parity. After all, a content and peaceful African-American population was needed to work in homes, hotels, businesses and groves. (Ironically, a politically savvy black resident would be crucial to incorporation, the anniversary of which this publication celebrates.) In short, Winter Park had to be the sort of place that the founders and their moneyed peers, who had the means to settle anywhere, would be proud to call home. There is, of course, more than a hint of condescension in much of what the community’s early boosters believed, and in the ways their frontier utopia was promoted. It was, after all, 125 years ago, and sensibilities change. But had these adventurous entrepreneurs been less scrupulous and idealistic, a community that is today the gem of Central Florida might have turned out to be something very different. In this issue of Winter Park Magazine, we seek Smartly attired visitors to the Seminole Hotel to tell the city’s story in a thorough but readable way. arrived in style aboard a horse-drawn trolley. That would not have been possible without the help of numerous people who love the city and its history. Among them: Steve and Gayle Prince Rajtar, Kenneth Murrah, Allan Keen, Allen Trovillion and Barbara Trovillion Rushing. We are also grateful to Clarissa Howard, director of communication for the City of Winter Park; Susan Skolfield, executive director of the Winter Park Historical Association; Barbara White, archivist at the Winter Park Public Library; Peter Schreyer, founder of the Hannibal Square Heritage Center and executive director of the Crealde School of Art; Erika Spence, marketing and communications director at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce; and Wenxian Zhang and Darla Moore, department head and archival specialist, respectively, of Archives and Special Collections at the Rollins College Olin Library. Equally invaluable were the following books and manuscripts: In Their Own Voices: Six Winter Park Notables Tell Their Stories, by Kimberley T. Mould (2003); Rollins College: A Centennial History, by Dr. Jack C. Lane (1980); Orlando: A Centennial History, by Eve Bacon (1975); and A Guide to Historic Winter Park, by Steve and Gayle Prince Rajtar (2008). Past articles by the Rajtars for Winter Park Magazine were also highly useful.

Randy Noles Editor/Publisher randyn@florida-homebuyer.com • (321) 217-8034


WIN T E R P A R K M A G A Z I N E | WI N TER 2012



GULFSHORE MEDIA DANIEL DENTON President RANDY NOLES Consulting Publisher PAM FLANAGAN General Manager PAM DANIEL Editorial Director NORMA MACHADO Production Manager the City of

Winter Park



ANNIVERSARY 1887 – 2012

Copyright 2012 by Florida Home Media LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. Winter Park Magazine is published twice yearly by Florida Home Media LLC, 2700 WESTHALL LANE, SUITE 128, MAITLAND, FL, 32751. PHONE: (407) 6470225; FAX: (407) 647-0145. WINTERPARKMAG.COM




WIN T E R P A R K M A G A Z I N E | WI N TER 2012



inter Park residents, from those who originally settled the area to those who recently relocated, have always tended to be passionate about their community and involved in making it an even better place to live, work and raise families. So it was a daunting task to select just 10 people whose impact was most profoundly felt. Only those who were still living were automatically excluded from consideration. Otherwise, there were no restrictions and plenty of suggestions. Several iconic Winter Parkers were obvious choices and their inclusion was assured. Still, dozens upon dozens of others were legitimate contenders. Winter Park Magazine, in consultation with local historians Steve and Gayle Rajtar and members of the Winter Park Historical Association, finally managed to come to a consensus. The 10 selectees are shown, in no particular order, on the following pages. Is this list the final word? Hardly. The selection process was, by its very nature, subjective, and strong cases were made for multiple candidates. It is indisputable, however, that each of these local luminaries helped to shape modern Winter Park, and in doing so truly made a difference. W INTE R 2 0 1 2 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E



David Mizell Jr. (1808-1884). Mizell and his family moved to the area in 1858 from Alachua County, making them the first non-Native American residents in what was to become Winter Park. He built a cabin on a homestead between present-day Lakes Osceola, Mizell, Berry and Virginia, and called the area Lake View. The Mizells grew cotton and raised horses, cattle, hogs, turkeys and goats. Mizell became politically influential, serving on the Orange County Commission and in the state Legislature. His eldest son, David W. Mizell, became the first sheriff of Orange County and was killed in the line of duty. Another son, John, became Orange County Judge and was elected to the first Board of Aldermen for the Town of Winter Park in 1887.


WIN T E R P A R K M A G A Z I N E | WI N TER 2012

Although cabins have been replaced by mansions, today’s view across Lake Mizell is as beautiful as the one David Mizell Jr. would have enjoyed.


Wilson Phelps (1821- Unknown). Phelps, a Chicago businessman-turned-citrus-grower who toured the area in 1874, purchased most of the land where the Mizells had lived and much more east of Lake Osceola. In addition to his citrus ventures, Phelps sold lots to fellow Chicagoans and played a key role in encouraging Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman to move forward when they sought his advice regarding the wisdom of turning the largely unsettled area into a posh winter resort. Phelps, acting as a one-man chamber of commerce, provided a strong letter of endorsement and all the data he could compile in a four-page, hand-written letter that is arguably the “big bang” of Winter Park’s creation. Certainly, it provided the basis for Chapman and Chase’s subsequent promotional materials. That seminal document is reproduced for the first time in its entirely elsewhere in this issue of Winter Park Magazine. No photograph of Wilson Phelps is known to exist, but this is his home as it would have looked when Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman sought his counsel.




Loring A. Chase (1839-1906) and Oliver Chapman (1851-1936). Chase, a real-estate broker from Chicago, moved to the area for his health in 1881. Enchanted by the lakes and woods, he believed he had found an ideal place to develop a winter resort catering to wealthy Northerners. He shared his idea with Chapman, a Massachusetts importer of luxury goods, and the two bought about 600 acres of what would become Winter Park. They commissioned a well-conceived town plan and soon began advertising heavily and selling lots to “Northern men of means.” In 1885, Chase bought out Chapman’s interest for $40,000 and the partnership was dissolved. Chapman, who feared his health was failing, returned to Massachusetts and enjoyed another 51 years of life, outlasting his former partner by decades. Although the Chase-Chapman team was short-lived, its significance is incalculable for Winter Park. The two clearly had complementary strengths and, at the outset at least, needed one another to accomplish the daunting task of starting a New England town in the Florida wilderness.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Loring Chase (left) and Oliver Chapman (right) wanted Winter Park to be a special place. Therefore, they invested in a carefully considered town plan that has largely been followed for more than 125 years.


William C. Comstock (1847-1924). Comstock, a grain merchant from Chicago, moved to the area in 1872 and 10 years later built a home, dubbed Eastbank, on the eastern shore of Lake Osceola where Wilson Phelps’ home had stood. Today, Eastbank is the oldest home in Winter Park. A former president of the Chicago Board of Trade, Comstock encouraged other wealthy Chicagoans to join him in Central Florida. He was a director of the Winter Park Land Company and, in 1923, was elected first president of the newly organized Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Comstock was involved in virtually every community cause, donating heavily to Rollins College and serving as a charter member of its Board of Trustees. It is said that Comstock’s enthusiasm and commitment kept other trustees from closing the college during hard times. Less laudably, in 1893 Comstock led the effort to de-annex Hannibal Square, populated exclusively by African Americans, from the town limits. William Comstock’s home, Eastbank, is today the oldest home in Winter Park. A consummate community booster, Comstock sang the town’s praises to other Chicago business leaders.




Edward P. Hooker (1834-1904). Hooker, a Congregationalist minister, came to Winter Park from Massachusetts in 1882 to oversee the establishment of a local church, now the First Congregational Church of Winter Park. Following Lucy Cross’ 1884 presentation to the Florida Congregational Association proposing that a college be built in the state, Hooker was asked to prepare a paper on the subject to be presented at the 1885 annual meeting. The presentation was, according to contemporary accounts, stirring and effective. When the association decided that a college was indeed needed, Hooker, despite an obvious vested interest, was selected as one of five committee members receiving proposals from competing communities. When Winter Park was selected, Hooker was named Rollins College’s first president.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Edward P. Hooker was founding pastor of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park and the first president of Rollins College.


Lucy Cross (1839-1927). Cross had already founded the Daytona Institute for Young Women when she proposed that a liberal-arts college be built in Florida “for the education of the South, in the South” at the 1884 meeting of the Florida Congregational Association. Her proposal, presented on her behalf by a minister from Daytona, was a major factor in the denomination’s decision to build such an institution and to choose a location via a competition, which was ultimately won by Winter Park. Today, Cross is known as “The Mother of Rollins College,” which is ironic since she strongly pressed the association to select Daytona. Once the decision was made, however, Cross supported it strongly and clearly deserves credit for bringing the issue of higher education in Florida to the forefront. Lucy Cross pushed for a college to be built in Florida. Today the Lucy Cross Center for Women and their Allies at Rollins advocates for women’s causes.




Alonzo W. Rollins (1832-1887). Rollins, a Chicago industrialist and seasonal resident of Winter Park, never attended college. But he was instrumental in founding one, contributing $50,000 — a huge sum at the time — to the local effort to win a competition sponsored by the Florida Congregational Association, which had decided that it would build a college somewhere in the state. That generous gift pushed Winter Park’s inducement to $114,180, far more than was offered by Jacksonville, Daytona, Mount Dora or Orange City and enough to ensure that the local bid far surpassed those of competing communities. The institution was named in its primary benefactor’s honor, although he died after attending only two meetings of the Board of Trustees.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Alonzo Rollins made certain that Winter Park would outdistance its competitors in the bidding war for a new college.


Gus C. Henderson (1865-1917). In 1886, Henderson, a charismatic African American traveling salesman, moved from Lake City to Hannibal Square. There he founded a printing company and, two years later, a weekly newspaper, the Winter Park Advocate. The Advocate, one of only two black-owned papers in the state, was read by both black and white residents. Henderson was also a politically active Republican, writing that “all we ever received came from the Republicans, and if that party never does any more special good for me, I shall die a Republican.” He quickly became involved in local issues and was a strong supporter of incorporation. In 1887, when an incorporation vote was scheduled at Ergood’s Hall, he rallied west side registered voters to violate curfew and attend. Without Henderson’s efforts, it is no sure bet that incorporation would have passed, at least not then. And it is a virtual certainty that if it had passed, Hannibal Square would not have been included in the town limits. Two years after incorporation, Henderson moved to Orlando where he published The Christian Recorder and later The Recorder. A mural at the Winter Park Community Center commemorates Gus Henderson’s role in the incorporation of Winter Park.



THE PHILANTHROPIST Charles H. Morse (1833-1921). By 1904, Morse was Winter Park’s largest landowner, having acquired much of the property that had been platted for homes and businesses from the estate of Francis Knowles, which had acquired it via foreclosure from the Winter Park Company. Morse, a multimillionaire when such a fortune was almost unimaginable, formed the Winter Park Land Company and deeded Central Park to the city with the stipulation that it could never be developed. He anonymously helped to fund construction of Winter Park’s first town hall and leased land to the Winter Park Country Club, which he helped organize, for $1 a year. Morse’s philanthropy also quietly benefited the Winter Park Women’s Club, Rollins College and numerous other organizations. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, founded by his granddaughter, Jeanette Genius McKean, and her husband, Hugh, is named in his honor.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Among Charles Hosmer Morse’s many legacies is Central Park, which he deeded to the city under the condition that it never be developed.




W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012




Park Avenue in the 1890s was a tidy thoroughfare that encompassed a general store, an ice house, a saw mill, a bakery, a watchmaker, a meat and fish market and a livery stable. W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012


new england


central florida The very earth is lyric With red hibiscus bloom; The flame-vine and azalea Are threads on beauty’s loom.


The orange trees shed incense Along the common road, Then bow them down in worship Beneath their golden load.

dwin Osgood Grover, who rhapsodized so eloquently about Winter Park in the 1930s, was an acclaimed poet and Professor of Books at Rollins College. Like many Winter Parkers, his roots were in New England. Yet he fell in love with this sophisticated, subtropical paradise, where beauty, education and the arts were celebrated. Grover’s poem, “Lyric Florida,” vividly describes the area as it would have looked during his tenure at Rollins. But it also would have been accurate a half century earlier or a half century later. Winter Park is still lush with foliage and, at certain times and in certain places, the warm air still carries the scent of citrus. It is still a place where a quirky professor and an unorthodox artist can sip coffee at a sidewalk café alongside a matronly clubwoman and a straight-laced stockbroker. Founded as a getaway for Northeastern tycoons, today’s Winter Park is considerably more egalitarian than its developers probably expected or intended. Although a Winter Park address carries considerable panache, most residents are not millionaires. The average household income is about $104,000 versus just over $73,000 statewide. It is an impressive number, to be sure, but a neighboring Orange County community, Windermere, is far ahead at $175,000-plus. Money, however, is not the only measure of a community’s worth. Although Winter Park was advertised as a refuge for “men of means,” early promoters also envisioned a place that was enlightened, welcoming and, to use a more modern term, livable. In that regard, today’s Winter Park remains remarkably true to their vision. By randy noles  STEVE AND GAYLE PRINCE Rajtar W INTE R 2 0 1 2 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E



Prior to the 1850s, the area that would become Winter Park had few permanent settlers. A rough-and-tumble character named David Mizell Jr., large family in tow, arrived in 1858 from Alachua County, near Gainesville, and bought an 8-acre tract between present-day Lakes Virginia, Mizell and Berry, where he built a cabin and began farming and raising cattle. Mizell named his homestead, appropriately, Lake View, which was also adopted as the name of the fledgling settlement that formed around it. In 1870, Lake View got a post office and a new name, Osceola, in honor of the Seminole warrior who had died in American captivity more than 30 years earlier. In the late 1860s, Mizell was elected to the Orange County Commission and the state Legislature. His eldest son, also named David, was appointed Orange County sheriff, while another son, John, served as a judge of the Orange County Court. The legendary sheriff, who was killed in 1870 while trying to settle a dispute over the sale of two cows, is buried in a small family plot just beyond the entrance to what is now Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens in Orlando. Father and son are often confused in local histories, but it is the elder Mizell who was arguably Winter Park’s earliest non-native pioneer. A few years later, Wilson Phelps of Chicago visited the area and was entranced by its thick woods and shimmering lakes. In 1874 he bought a sizable tract, including a large part of the Mizell homestead, and began selling lots to fellow Chicagoans. The following year, Phelps built his own home, a rambling cracker farmhouse in the midst of a 60-acre orange grove hugging the shores of Lake Osceola. Interestingly, part of the Phelps home survives as a wing of the Queen Anne-style Comstock-Harris House, otherwise known as Eastbank, which was built in 1883 by William Comstock, a wealthy grain merchant who also hailed from the Windy City. Eastbank is today the city’s oldest home, and one of only three listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The 1880s were pivotal years, and saw the reshaping of a haphazard frontier settlement into what today would be called a master-planned community. A major catalyst was completion in 1880 of the South Florida Railroad, which connected Orlando with Sanford and continued through to Tampa. The effort to snare the state’s first post-Civil War rail line was led by developer Edward Henck, one of Longwood’s first settlers and a tireless advocate of the town’s growth. The project was bankrolled by R.M. Pulsifer of Pulsifer & Company, owner of the Boston Herald, whom Henck had personally solicited for support. But it was not Longwood that fired the imagination of Loring Chase, a New Hampshire native who was raised in Massachusetts and lived in Chicago. Harsh winters did not agree with the hard-working real estate broker, whose doctors had advised him to seek a warmer climate to alleviate his chronic respiratory problems. Chase, who first visited the area in February 1881, was particularly smitten by the land surrounding Lakes Osceola and Virginia. “Never will the delightful impression of that first visit be obliterated from my mind,” he recalled in a speech 10 years later. “Before me lay these beautiful rolling plains, covered everywhere by majestic pines, forming, not an


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Postcards from the early 1940s showcase a picturesque canal connecting Lakes Virginia and Mizell (top left) and a secluded pond at Mead Botanical Garden (bottom left). The city’s canals, now frequented by sightseeing boaters, were originally dredged to transport building materials. The garden, named for world-renowned horticulturist Theodore L. Mead, began as about 50 pristine acres of hammocks and wetlands.



In the 1890s, the Orlando & Winter Park Railway, otherwise known as the Dinky Line (above), ran between Orlando and Sanford, hugging Lake Virginia’s shoreline. On Ollie Avenue, an impressive Victorian-style depot (center left) stood where Dinky Dock is now. In 1885, the Winter Park Company was formed by Frederick Lyman and a group of local boosters. Stock certificates, such as the one issued to Judge Lewis H. Lawrence (below left), were adorned with a rendering of the Seminole Hotel.


impenetrable forest but a vast grove through which we could drive our team at will.” The land, although beautiful, was basically wilderness. “Save two faint streaks of iron, over which a box car went slowly once a day between Sanford and Orlando, and a rude platform and two or three windowless cabins of the original homesteaders, no sign of civilization greeted the eye,” Chase recalled. Still, once a real estate man, always a real estate man. Where some saw wilderness, Chase saw a winter resort for wealthy Northerners. “The idea of a town … on this delightful spot took full possession of me,” he said. Chase believed his boyhood friend, Oliver Chapman, would be an ideal partner in such a venture. Chapman, a Massachusetts-born importer of luxury goods, had moved to Florida in 1880 and lived in Sorrento, a small settlement in what is now Lake County. The pair met in Sanford and set out to visit the property, which was then owned by B.R. Swoope, superintendent of the South Florida Railroad. Chapman, like Chase, recognized an opportunity when he saw it. By July 1881, they had bought 600 acres between present-day Lakes Maitland, Virginia, Killarney and Osceola. The cost: $13,000, the equivalent of about $290,000 today. Then, while in the vicinity, they sought validation from none other than Phelps, who had already enjoyed success marketing the area to out-of-staters. Phelps, who undoubtedly saw in Chase and Chapman an opportunity to increase the value of his own investments, could hardly have been more enthusiastic and encouraging. He claimed that, prior to relocating to Central Florida, he was “nearly dead with bronchitis of 30 years standing” as a result of living in New York, Ohio and Illinois. In a four-page, handwritten letter dated Aug. 12, 1881, Phelps raved about “the beneficial effects of this climate” and even offered to provide the names of other residents, including Comstock, his neighbor, who would confirm his statements about the area’s health benefits. A one-man chamber of commerce, Phelps, then an energetic 59 years old, also provided Chase and Chapman with an almanac of information, including average year-round temperatures. He described the soil as well-suited for W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

growing citrus, noting that Central Florida was “below the frost line.” The land was beautiful and, in his opinion, would continue to rise in value. Their confidence bolstered, the entrepreneurial New Englanders officially named their holdings Winter Park — a logical decision, since they felt that the words “winter” and “park” would be appealing to potential relocators — and quickly had the land surveyed, platted and mapped. Chapman and Chase clearly made an effective team. A newspaper article from 1886 called Chapman “cool, quiet, level-headed and judicial in his makeup, but once his mind is made up, he never relaxes his grip until his end is accomplished.” Chase, on the other hand, was described as “a rustler, quick to grasp, vigorous to act and relentless in his efforts.”


The two promoters, unlike some others touting Florida real estate deals, were genuinely passionate about creating a special place. The town plan, designed by civil engineer Samuel Robinson, included a central park fronted by lots for commercial buildings as well as tracts for schools, hotels and churches. Curved streets radiated out from the town center. Remarkably, Winter Park today looks very much like the original town plan envisioned that it would. Indeed, Robinson’s work could serve as a template for present-day planners responsible for so-called New Urbanist communities such as Baldwin Park and Celebration. There is, however, one key difference. Establishing a precedent for segregation that would endure for generations, the plan designated a west side tract, dubbed Hannibal Square, for African Americans. After all, “men of means” would need a labor force to work in their groves, homes and hotels. So, 38 small residential lots were made available to “Negro families of good character.” In fact, Winter Park was a relatively enlightened place, particularly for the Deep South. Many of its early boosters, well-educated Northeastern Republicans, would have held views on race relations that were liberal for the time. In the aftermath of Reconstruction, given the limited options open to them, many displaced former slaves considered it an attractive place to live and work. Chase, in particular, strongly advocated education for all races and was outspoken in his belief that African Americans should be active participants in local government. In 1890, during dedication ceremonies for a school in Hannibal Square, he delivered a speech that would have sounded just as timely during the Civil Rights movement of the next century. W INTE R 2 0 1 2 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E


In 1882, John Ergood and Robert White opened Winter Park’s first general merchandise store (above left), which was variously known as Ergood & White and the Pioneer Store. The building, located at Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard, still stands, although the business changed hands several times and in 1900 moved to Park and Wellbourne avenues. In 1921, the Pioneer Store was bought by Girard Denning, a former mayor, postmaster and fire chief. Eight years later, Denning held a grand re-opening sale (above right) at another new location, 230 South Park Avenue. The Pioneer Store moniker was dropped in 1935 by Roy Hough, who bought the business and changed the name to Hough’s Food Store, which quietly closed its doors in the 1940s. Denning would go on to serve a second stint as postmaster, from 1934 until his retirement in 1954.

“Knowledge is power,” Chase thundered. “Get knowledge and you shall command the respect of those who would count you out. Then you may stand erect, though your skin may be black, and say, ‘I, too, am a free, intelligent citizen with a thought of my own in my head and a ballot in my hand and I demand recognition and a voice in the management of affairs.” In the meantime, the marketing campaign orchestrated by Chase and Chapman was working. Winter Park’s population grew from about a dozen scattered families in 1881 to more than 600 people by 1884. The first commercial building, a railroad passenger depot, was completed early in 1882, followed by the town’s first hotel, the Rogers House, located on Interlachen Avenue. Park Avenue’s first commercial building came next. The two-story structure, which is still standing at the corner of Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard, housed the Pioneer Store, with John Ergood and Robert White as proprietors. The second floor was used for social functions, church meetings and civic gatherings. Consequently, locals soon began referring to the first-floor general mercantile store as Ergood & White and to the building in its entirety as Ergood’s Hall. Shortly thereafter, downtown Winter Park encompassed a bakery, a watchmaker, a saw mill, a wagon factory, an ice house and a combination livery stable and blacksmith shop. Judge Lewis H. Lawrence, a wealthy boot and shoe manufacturer from Utica, New York, sent the first telegraph message from Winter Park on Jan. 1, 1883, to his friend, President Chester A. Arthur. It read, “Happy New Year. First message from office opened here today. No North. No South.” Prominent people began making the trek southward to visit their wealthy friends. One was President Arthur, who visited Lawrence and declared Winter Park to be “the prettiest spot I have seen in Florida.” He had said essentially the same thing about Sanford the day before, but the sentiments likely were sincere. Some stayed and made more enduring civic contributions. Minneapolis


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

businessman Frederick Lyman, who retired to Winter Park in 1882, led the effort to found what is now the First Congregational Church of Winter Park. Congregationalism is a progressive denomination whose New England roots appealed to Winter Park’s substantial Northern contingent. The church’s first pastor, Dr. Edward Hooker, arrived from Massachusetts in 1883 and quickly mobilized an influential flock. Led by Lyman and Hooker, funds were raised to build a sanctuary, the town’s first, on New England Avenue in 1885. Congregationalists, who consider education to be as much a part of their mission as spreading the gospel, founded some of the first colleges in the U.S., including Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. Adhering to that tradition, the Winter Park church and its members, many of whom were driven by both financial and altruistic motives, acted quickly to bring an institution of higher learning, the first in Florida, to their small but ambitious town.


The opportunity came in 1884, when the General Congregational Association of Florida met, prophetically, in Winter Park. Among those pushing for a church-related college in Central Florida was a remarkable woman named Lucy Cross, an Oberlin College graduate who lived in Daytona and founded the Daytona Institute for Young Women in 1880. Cross discussed her notion with the Rev. C.M. Bingham, a Congregationalist minister in Daytona. At the assembly, Bingham presented a paper written by Cross on the formation of a college “for the education of the South, in the South.” In it, Cross posed a challenge disguised as a question: “I ask you gentleman to discuss thoroughly the question, ‘Shall an effort be made to found a college in Florida?’” In response, delegates asked Hooker to prepare a report on education in Florida, to be presented at the 1885 annual meeting in Mount Dora. Hooker, who had been appalled at the crudeness and ignorance he had encoun-



tered in Central Florida and worried about the role the church should play in Hooker, as he had likely hoped, was appointed the first president of “building a wholesome order” in the area, took his assignment seriously. Rollins College. Cross, who had presented Daytona’s case before the asThe paper, read by Hooker at the subsequent association meeting in sociation, became known as “The Mother of Rollins,” and today the January 1885, was entitled “The Mission of Congregationalism in Flori- college’s Lucy Cross Center for Women and Their Allies keeps her name da.” He began by summarizing what he called “Congregationalism’s mis- at the forefront in a way that surely would have pleased her. sion of Christian education.” Then he directly and forcefully addressed Rollins himself, who ironically never earned a college degree, attended the issue Cross had raised. two annual meetings of the Board of Trustees before he died in 1887. No area of the nation, Hooker insisted, was more in need of a college. Europeans had arrived in Florida 50 years before the Plymouth settlement, he noted. Why, then, should Florida be so far behind New England? Lyman, not content to rest on his laurels, quickly set his sights on Hooker also argued that the growth and prosperity of Florida depend- another opportunity. He approached Chase and offered to buy his holded just as much on education as agriculture. Businesspeople from other ings through a combination of cash and stock in a new entity, the Winter parts of the country would not invest in Florida if there were no educa- Park Company. Chase, who had bought out the ailing Chapman in 1885 tional opportunities for their children, he warned. for $40,000, agreed. Spurred to action by Hooker’s presentation, the association adopted a Shareholders in the Winter Park Company included prominent citizens resolution agreeing with its premise and appointing a committee of five whose names will still be familiar to anyone who drives regularly along the members, including Hooker and Lyman, to receive city’s streets: In addition to Lyman, Chase and Roll“inducements” for the location of a college. Those ins, partners included F. G. Webster, William Cominducements, it was determined, would be unveiled stock, J. F. Welbourne and Franklin Fairbanks. and evaluated at a special meeting in April. Among the company’s powers were laying out Church leaders then solicited offers from civic roads, buying and building hotels and “the sole leaders who wanted the institution in their towns. and exclusive right to build, equip, maintain and Among the respondents: Mount Dora, Daytona operate a street railway or railways.” One of its Beach, Jacksonville, Orange City and Winter first acts was to borrow $150,000 from Francis Park, where the indefatigable Lyman was already Knowles, a retired Massachusetts industrialist, to hard at work raising funds. build the 400-room Seminole Hotel, a luxurious The competition was fierce. An article in the resort between Lakes Osceola and Virginia boastFlorida Times-Union in Jacksonville, at the time the ing steam heat and private bathrooms. state’s largest city, suggested that it was a bad idea The hotel, which was the largest in the state when it opened in 1886, was served by two yachts, “to locate colleges in out-of-the-way places, and in the Alice, which launched on Lake Osceola, and the sparsely settled communities.” Perhaps, but Winter Fanny Knowles, which launched on Lake Virginia. Parkers knew that their town would not be an “outGuests could listen to an orchestra, use the bowling of-the-way place” for long, and that a college would President Chester A. Arthur, visiting his friend Judge Lewis H. Lawrence, declared Winter Park alley or play tennis and croquet. Fishing on the surboost its profile and its prestige immeasurably. rounding lakes was also a popular pastime. When the association reconvened, it reviewed to be “the prettiest spot I have seen in Florida.” The Winter Park Company also built a mulethe five proposals. Lyman’s and Hooker’s membership on the committee worked to Winter Park’s advantage; they arranged drawn streetcar line, known as the Seminole Hotel Horse Car, along to have their proposal presented last so they could gauge the strength of New England Avenue west to the railroad depot. That first winter season, there were more than 2,300 registered guests. President Grover Clevethe other inducements. Mount Dora offered cash, lumber and land in a package valued at land visited in 1889 followed in 1890 by President Benjamin Harrison. Northern newspapers were taking notice. In an 1896 dispatch head$35,564. Jacksonville and Daytona offered $13,000 and $11,500, respectively, along with tracts of land for a campus. Orange City commit- lined “A Bright New England Town in Central Florida,” an unnamed New York Times reporter described Winter Park as “one of the neatest, ted about $25,000. Lyman would later write: “As one proposal after another was read, it be- cleanest and prettiest towns in Florida, with street after street lined with came evident to me … that [the] other towns were hopelessly outdistanced, handsome, modern cottages and larger homes.” The scribe, who stayed at the Seminole Hotel and was accorded redand I was correspondingly elated but managed to maintain a calm exterior, carpet treatment during his visit, took special pains to mention that perhaps even to assume an aspect of gloom, which was misleading,” Winter Park’s offer, which encompassed stock, land and cash in a pack- Winter Park’s homes were painted, unlike those in other Florida cities age valued at $114,180, shocked its competitors. Some $50,000 of that “where the use of paint is apparently totally unknown.” As a growing cadre of moneyed Northerners built homes and opened busiamount was pledged by Alonzo Rollins, a Maine native who made his fortune in Chicago selling dyes to woolen mills before retiring to Winter nesses, Hannibal Square was becoming a vibrant community in its own right. Assisted by the white Congregationalists, a black Congregational church was Park for health reasons. Competitors howled that Winter Park’s Lake Virginia site was basically built in 1884. Methodist and Baptist Missionary churches followed. There a swamp, prompting delegates to visit and see for themselves before mak- was also an elementary school and a bustling commercial district. One prominent African-American entrepreneur, Gus Henderson, ing a final decision. Three days later, after judging the land to be high and dry, the association voted to accept Winter Park’s offer and to appoint moved to Winter Park from Lake City in 1886 and founded the South 21 charter trustees. Shortly thereafter, the trustees adopted a constitution Florida Colored Printing & Publishing Company. He became involved in Winter Park civic affairs, founded a weekly newspaper called The Winand bylaws and named the institution for its primary benefactor.



W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

The Seminole Hotel (top) opened in 1886 and was, at the time, the state’s largest hotel, attracting wealthy vacationers and even two presidents before it burned to the ground in 1902. Guests never lacked activities, including sailing, fishing, croquet, tennis and bowling. Although Winter Park did not yet have a golf course, the hotel offered a driving range (above). The much smaller but equally luxurious Alabama Hotel (below) opened in 1920 and operated until 1979, when it was closed and retrofitted as a posh condominium complex.



Although Winter Park was primarily a resort community, citrus remained important to the local economy. So when back-to-back freezes in 1894 and 1895 proved ruinous to growers, the effects were felt for years afterward. During the more severe second freeze (left), sap froze inside tree trunks, splitting many of them open with pops sounding like gunshots.

ter Park Advocate and encouraged his friends and neighbors to support the Winter Park Company’s newly announced plans to incorporate. Nearly everyone thought that incorporation was a wise step. The issue became mired in controversy primarily because some white residents opposed having Hannibal Square included in the town limits. An article in Lochmede, another Winter Park newspaper, noted that there was considerable consternation over the idea of “residents who did not own land — and who were primarily black — levying taxes upon landowning residents from which they themselves would be exempt.” Some Hannibal Square residents did indeed rent land from the Winter Park Company, which also employed them as laborers. Others, however, were homeowners and taxpayers. Henderson argued that it made no difference. Every registered voter, regardless of whether or not he was a landowner, had a right to be heard on this important issue. Further complicating matters, local Democrats feared that the inclusion of Hannibal Square and its solidly Republican voting bloc would skew the balance of political power. In fact, at the time there were more black voters (64) than white voters (47) in Winter Park. Surely the idea of African Americans holding a voting majority was unsettling to some,


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

even in a community where racial harmony generally prevailed. On the afternoon of Sept. 10, 1887, only 57 registered voters — almost all white — showed up at Ergood’s Hall for a meeting to decide on incorporation. A quorum, however, required a minimum of 73 attendees. Only five more registered voters could be rounded up for a second meeting later that evening. Because no action could be taken, another meeting was called for Oct. 12. Why had black voters stayed away? Winter Park businessman J.C. Stovin, a native of England who favored incorporation but opposed including Hannibal Square, had convinced many west side residents that incorporation was a ruse to make them pay high taxes and lay bricks on city streets. Henderson and others went to work, going door to door and pleading with their friends and neighbors to exercise their rights as free citizens and attend the next incorporation meeting. It was certainly pointed out that the principals of the Winter Park Company, particularly Chase, had treated blacks fairly, even compassionately, and should expect their support in return. A curfew forbade blacks from crossing the railroad tracks that divided east from west after nightfall. But on the evening of Oct. 12, Henderson led a group of black registered voters from Hannibal Square directly to Ergood’s Hall. Some accounts claim that a band and children waving banners accompanied the west side delegation. In any case, a quorum was achieved and incorporation — with Hannibal Square included — was approved by a vote of 71 to 2. In addition, two black men, Walter B. Simpson and Frank R. Israel, were elected aldermen. They were the first, and the last, black elected officials in Winter Park. White, of Ergood & White, was elected as the first mayor. The union of Hannibal Square and the Town of Winter Park was to be temporary, however. In 1893, Comstock led an effort by Democrats to

ter Park took about a half-hour and cost 15 cents. The remove the west side neighborhood from the town two engines were known as the “Tea Pot” and the “Coflimits. Although Winter Park officials refused to fee Pot,” and the train itself was the “Little Wiggle.” change the boundaries, the Florida Legislature did Cute and quirky though it was, the Dinky Line’s so over their opposition. popularity waned as roads were improved and auto“It is, in my opinion, a scheme originated by those mobiles proliferated, although it managed to hang who desire to run the town government and feel on until the last tracks were removed in 1969. Tothat their only chance is to take out the mass of the day, the site of the Dinky Line’s depot is a public colored voters,” said a letter writer to the Advocate. park and swimming and fishing pier on Lake VirHannibal Square was not a part of incorporated Winginia known as Dinky Dock. ter Park again until 1925, when local leaders sought to As the 1880s drew to a close, Winter Park had change its status from town (fewer than 300 registered attracted 250 families and 600 residents, many voters) to city (300 or more registered voters). of them seasonal, from 29 states and five foreign Immediately on the heels of incorporation, the countries. The Massachusetts and Illinois continTown Improvement Association, later renamed gents were the largest but New York and Georgia the Winter Park Village Improvement Associawere also well represented. tion and ultimately the Winter Park Chamber of According to an 1889 promotional brochure for Commerce, was organized with the goals of plantthe Seminole Hotel, occupations of those residents ing trees, repairing sidewalks, maintaining parks The Congregational Church was the first included “lawyers, judges, army and navy officers, and encouraging residents to be sociable. church in Winter Park with its own sanctuary. Also in the active 1880s, a reading circle of nine The Florida Congregational Association found- civil engineers, college professors, journalists, physicians, ministers, manufacturers, bishops, merchants, women led by Hooker’s wife, Elizabeth, began an ed Rollins College. effort to establish the Winter Park Circulating Libankers, millionaires, etc.” There would, however, soon be a winnowing of millionaires. brary Association. The small collection of books was placed in the home of a reading circle member until the library got its own facility, on an Interlachen Avenue site donated by the Knowles estate, in 1902. In a region that was supposed to be below the frost line, two freezes In 1889, J. Harry Abbott debuted the Orlando-Winter Park Railroad, more commonly referred to as the Dinky Line, a nickname sometimes given to short- hit in consecutive years, 1894 and 1895. The first was damaging but haul rail operations. The bumpy, smoky 6-mile trip between Orlando and Win- the second was ruinous, wiping out citrus groves and devastating the




Wind Song (above left) was the home of Hugh and Jeanette Genius McKean. Jeanette (above right), was the grandaughter of Charles Hosmer Morse, considered to be Winter Park’s greatest benefactor. The McKeans cultivated peacocks on the grounds surrounding the estate and opened the area to the public.

economy. During the second freeze, temperatures dipped to the coldest ever recorded up to that time. Sap froze inside tree trunks, splitting many of them open with pops sounding like gunshots. Even the financial wizards who comprised the Winter Park Company were not immune. After defaulting on loan payments to the estate of Knowles, who had died in 1890, they were forced to transfer ownership of roughly 1,200 lots to satisfy the debt. Adding insult to injury, the Seminole Hotel, which had been financed by a loan from Knowles, burned to the ground in 1902. Enter Charles Hosmer Morse, a Chicago industrialist and recent widower who enjoyed passing icy winters ensconced at the Seminole Hotel. In 1904 Morse formed the Winter Park Company, successor to the insolvent Winter Park Land Company, and bought the Knowles estate’s vast holdings for roughly $10,000, the equivalent of about $250,000 today. The Knowles heirs, battered by declining property values and the collapse of the citrus industry, badly needed to sell. Consequently the transaction was a bargain for Morse, a millionaire at a time when there were only about 4,000 millionaires in the entire U.S. In addition to the Knowles properties, Morse snared 200 heavily wooded acres that encompassed the site of the Mizell homestead. Suddenly, one very wealthy man owned nearly half the town. Clearly, had Morse been a less enlightened person, Winter Park would likely be a very different place today. Fortunately for future generations, however, the Vermont native was a visionary who insisted that enhancing Winter Park was far more important than profiting from it. He quickly strengthened his personal connection to the town by remodeling and expanding a home at the corner of Interlachen and Lincoln avenues and using it as his personal winter residence. Under Morse’s supervision, the aptly named Osceola Lodge was transformed into a textbook example of Craftsman-style architecture and filled with custom Mission Oak furniture, walls of books and an array of rustic Indian artifacts. From this cozy and comforting setting Morse supervised development of his properties and quietly supported community causes.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Osceola Lodge still stands, and is today headquarters for the Winter Park Institute, a Rollins-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars, lectures, readings, classes and discussions with prominent scholars and thought leaders in an array of fields. The home and the adjacent Knowles Cottage serves as a study center for scholars-in-residence — a use that the urbane Morse would have appreciated. In 1906 Morse deeded the land that is now Central Park to the town, but only so long as it was open to the public and not developed. He helped form the Winter Park Country Club and, for $1 a year, leased the organization land on which to build a clubhouse and golf course. The facilities, now owned and operated by the city, are still in use today. Morse, who married a socially prominent New York widow named Helen Strong Pifford in 1910, also donated an Interlachen Avenue site on which the Woman’s Club of Winter Park built its headquarters. He funded numerous civic improvements out of his own pocket, anonymously paying for construction of a town hall in 1916 and for years routinely covering operating deficits as a member of the Rollins Board of Trustees. Morse’s granddaughter, Jeanette Genius McKean, and her husband, Hugh McKean, later established the Morse Museum of American Art, a jewel in Winter Park’s crown that houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. In 1986, a memorial was erected in Central Park commemorating Morse’s contributions. The two-sided brick structure, designed by James Gamble Rogers II, is impressive. But Morse would undoubtedly have considered the thriving, culturally rich city that Winter Park has become to be the only monument to his memory that really mattered.


By the early 1900s, Winter Park’s founders were either dead or in their final years. Many of them ended up in the Palm Cemetery, resting beneath ground on West Webster Avenue donated by none other than Chase, the man without whom there might not have been a Winter Park.



Park Avenue was, is and always will be the vibrant heart of Winter Park. In fact, as these images demonstrate, the city’s signature street looks much the same today as it did in the 1920s and 1940s. A few buildings even date from the turn of the last century or earlier. Consequently, the entire Downtown Winter Park Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

The cemetery, which was for whites only when it opened in 1906, is notable for the fact that golfers on the adjacent municipal course must sometimes hit errant shots from around tombstones. Pineywood Cemetery had been established in 1890 for black residents. Both are now operated by the city of Winter Park. In 1908, Jerry and Mary Trovillion and their 16-year-old son, Ray, arrived in Winter Park from Harrisburg, Ill., where Jerry, a medical doctor, had operated a sanitorium. The couple bought Maxon’s Drug Store, located in Ergood’s Hall, and renamed the business Trovillion’s Pharmacy. The mercantile store founded by Ergood and White, now owned by William Schultz Jr., had moved in 1900 to Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard. The Trovillions prospered. Jerry installed a modern soda fountain in the pharmacy and began assembling an impressive portfolio of investment property. High-spirited Ray, meanwhile, tried to acclimate himself to living in what he found to be a rather stuffy community with an absurdly rigid code of behavior. In a 1978 interview with the Winter Park Sun-Herald, the 86-year-old raconteur recalled running afoul of the law by playing horseshoes with


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

friends near the railroad depot. “Up rides our little town marshal on his big bay horse to inform us that we were under arrest … for pitching horseshoes on Sunday,” he said. “It was rough in those days. No golf or fishing on Sundays. Another law was you couldn’t buy gasoline or kerosene after dark.” In 1912, a second Seminole Hotel was built at the foot of Webster Avenue. With 82 rooms, it was smaller than the original, but still attracted a discerning clientele. Among them: President Calvin Coolidge, who appears to have been characteristically silent about his Winter Park sojourn. The hotel stood until 1970, when it was demolished and homes were built along what is today Kiwi Circle. Also in 1912, brothers B.A. and Carl Galloway were awarded a franchise for the Winter Park Telephone Exchange. In 1913, phone rates were $1 per month and there were a total of 35 operating telephones in Winter Park and Maitland. The First Baptist Church of Winter Park was founded in 1913, and a new railroad depot opened along the west side of the tracks facing Morse Boulevard. In 1915, the fire department bought a fire wagon pulled by a single

horse. The horse lost its job the following year, replaced by a motorized vehicle. The Woman’s Club was organized in 1915, and the building that the club still uses was completed in 1920. The red-brick Winter Park Graded School, later known as Park Avenue Elementary School, opened in 1916 at the southeast corner of Park Avenue South and Lyman Avenue. Initially there were 150 students in 11 grades. Twelfth-graders attended classes at the Rollins Academy until the school was expanded several years later. The building was bought by Rollins in 1961 and used for the college’s continuing education programs until 1988, when it was razed despite emotional appeals from former students and local history buffs. Today the 400 block of Park Avenue encompasses a Mediterranean-style office and retail complex. A plaque installed by Rollins is the only indication that a school ever stood on the site.   By the early 1900s, the citrus industry was finally recovering from the catastrophic freezes of the 1890s. Just as growers were regaining their footing, one Winter Park rookie found himself in possession of a history-making tree that produced a different sort of fruit and attracted worldwide notice. In 1910, while New Yorkers John and Mary Hakes were vacationing in Winter Park, John became fascinated with the area’s citrus groves and resolved, to his wife’s chagrin, to invest in a 17acre tract of orange and grapefruit trees. Their son, Louis, and his wife, Ethel, later relocated from New York to Winter Park to manage the business. Although neither had any experience growing citrus — Louis had worked in a real estate office and Ethel had been a schoolteacher — the couple made the grove a success. In 1915, Louis noticed that one particular tree produced a different sort of fruit, its color more deep, its pulp more tender and its flavor more exotic. He took one of the curious, sunset-colored orbs to William Chase Temple, a onetime Pittsburgh steel magnate who was now a Winter Park citrus grower and president of the Florida Citrus Exchange. Temple, recognizing that the fruit was unique and potentially valuable, advised Louis to send a box to D. C. Gillett, owner of the Buckeye Nursery in Tampa and, in Temple’s opinion, the best citrusman in the business. Gillett examined the fruit and concluded that it was likely a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine. He also recognized its commercial potential and rushed to Winter Park, where he made a deal with the Hakes family to secure exclusive rights to all of the budwood from the parent tree. His nursery would then grow and sell new trees, for which the Hakes family would receive a $2 per tree royalty for three years. The savvy Gillett also applied for and received a patent for the fruit, which he proposed naming W INTE R 2 0 1 2 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E


the Hakes orange. Louis and Ethel demurred, and Temple suggested that it — and city officials adopted the slogan “City of Homes” as its municipal be called “the Winter Park Hybrid.” Ultimately, The Florida Grower magazine motto. But the big news two years later was about a hotel, when Ohioans recommended that it be named for Temple, who first recognized its potential. Joseph and Anna Kronenberger completed the 80-room Alabama Hotel on As the Temple orange became popular nationwide, the tree from which it the south side of Lake Maitland. The Alabama changed hands several times, and was finally closed in sprang became something of a tourist attraction, prompting the Hakeses to 1979. But in its heyday, it hosted such luminaries as authors Margaret erect a wire fence around it. But who came up with the idea of crossing an orange and a tangerine? Surely Mitchell and Thornton Wilder and conductor Leopold Stokowski. Today, the Winter Park tree, from which millions of others have descended, could not the impressive old building is a luxury condominium complex. Mediterranean Revival-style Winter Park High School, “the most comhave been the first and only one like it. Tangors, a comparable hybrid, were being grown in the West Indies at the time, and some historians believe that a plete and architecturally perfect school buildings to be found anywhere in the state, according to an article in Florida fruit buyer sent a tangor seedling Winter Park Post, was built in 1923 to Oviedo friends in 1896. on Huntington Avenue. The school About 1900, Allan Mosely, a caretakremained in that location until er in Winter Park, may have obtained 1969, when the present campus, on budwood from one of those friends, J. Summerfield Road, was completed. H. King. Mosely, then, may have graftThe original campus remains in use ed the budwood onto a tree in the grove as the Winter Park High School owned by John Wyeth, who would later Ninth Grade Center. sell the property to Hakes. But this is Also in 1923, Austrian-born hoimpossible to document with certainty. telier Max Kramer opened the 50At the time the Temple orange was patented, Dr. David Fairchild, head of room Hamilton Hotel on Park Avenue South. The building, with balthe Bureau of Plant Introductions in conies overlooking Park Avenue and Washington, D.C., had definite ideas: What would a resort community be without a country club? In 1914, Charles Central Park, replaced a circa-1880s “This tree is undoubtedly an acciden- Hosmer Morse commissioned Harley A. Ward and Dow George to install a nine-hole golf course, which was later expanded to 27 holes, at the north end frame office built by the Winter tal hybrid,” he declared. of Park Avenue. The clubhouse, built in 1914 and enlarged in 1937, is still in use In 1920, Winter Park’s population and is the city’s oldest civic building. The clubhouse and the course, now back Park Company. Today, it is the Park Plaza Hotel, a boutique property topped 1,000 for the first time — it to nine holes, were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. that charms visitors with its elegant, would top 4,000 just five years later


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012



In 1945, architect James Gamble Rogers II was hired by developer and future mayor Raymond Greene to design a retail complex on Park Avenue South. Greeneda Court (above left), set the stage for the European ambience that would define Park Avenue in the decades to come. An ariel view of Winter Park from the early 1900s (above right) shows how the town was beginning to fill in. Having a hard time getting your bearings? The railroad tracks are on the left, making a loop and running alongside the rear boundry of Central Park, just as they do today. Commercial buildings already line Park Avenue, which appears to be unpaved. Lake Osecola is at the top right and Lake Maitland at the top left. The large, red-roofed building facing Lake Osceola is the Seminole Hotel. The Rollins campus would be further right, outside the frame.

wood-paneled lobby and posh, antique-furnished rooms. Rollins began getting national attention during the 24-year presidency of Hamilton Holt, which began in 1925. Holt’s innovative teaching method, dubbed the Conference Plan, discouraged the rigid classroom lecture format and encouraged student-teacher interaction. Holt, a Brooklyn native who published a liberal magazine called The Independent in New York from 1897 to 1921, made many changes during his long tenure and forever altered the look of the New Englandflavored campus by adding 23 buildings in the now-familiar Spanish Mediterranean architectural style. In 1926, Holt created the Animated Magazine, a live program in a magazine format that brought speakers on a variety of topics to the college every February. Drawing on his contacts, Holt was able to attract such diverse figures as actress Mary Pickford, novelist Faith Baldwin and RCA Chairman David Sarnoff. Holt served as editor in chief for the Animated Magazine, often sitting on stage with a giant pencil and eraser to “edit” verbose presenters. During the 1930s, the University Club was organized as well as the Hannibal Square Library. Mead Botanical Garden, named for renowned horticulturalist and Oviedo resident Theodore Mead, was also opened. Its amphitheater, completed in 1959, remains a favorite venue for weddings, concerts and other special events. In 1932, the Annie Russell Theater was built on the Rollins campus in honor of popular stage actress Annie Russell, who had retired to Winter Park in 1918 and had became a professor of theater arts at the college. Construction was made possible by a $135,000 donation from Russell’s friend Mary Louise Bok, a patron of the arts and wife of Ladies Home Journal editor Edward Bok. The first performance at the new theater, directed by Russell, was Romeo and Juliet. The Bach Festival Society was founded in 1935 by Isabelle SpragueSmith, a former New York artist and school principal, who was the president and driving force behind the organization until her death in 1950. The future of the festival was in doubt until John Tiedtke, a Rollins professor and the first dean of the college’s graduate programs, stepped in to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees, a position he held until his death in 2004. During the Great Depression, Winter Park benefited from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s various recovery programs. For example, workers


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration widened and deepened the canals connecting Winter Park’s lakes. Still, hundreds of properties went into foreclosure during the depths of the downturn. The Bank of Winter Park and the Winter Park Building and Loan Association closed, while the Union State Bank transferred its assets to the newly organized Florida Bank at Winter Park. In 1932, the city defaulted on $134,000 in bonds and interest, slashing its budget to remain solvent. As the economy began to improve, activity in Winter Park picked up. Between 1940 and 1950, the population increased nearly 75 percent, to more than 8,000 people. Many of them saw the latest movies at the 850seat Colony Theater, which opened on Park Avenue in 1940. During World War II, matinees at the Colony cost 39 cents and evening shows cost 44 cents. Although the theater closed in 1975 and was converted to retail use, the iconic Art Deco sign has been preserved as a delightfully gaudy reminder of a simpler time. Like communities across the country, Winter Park supported the war effort in numerous ways. A variety of relief groups were organized and Rollins offered courses in War Problems, Literature and Psychology of Propaganda and Radio Communications. In 1945, architect James Gamble Rogers II was hired by developer Raymond Greene, who would be elected mayor in1953, to design a fashionable retail complex on Park Avenue South. The result, Greeneda Court, set the stage for the European ambience that would come to define Park Avenue in the decades to come.


As World War II drew to a close, the Showalter brothers, Howard and Sandy, along with their cousin, Ford “Buck” Rogers, opened the Showalter Airpark on 100 acres south of Oviedo Road (now Aloma Avenue) and west of present-day S.R. 436. The land had been part of the golf course at the long-defunct Aloma Country Club. For the trio, building an upscale airpark where flying lessons and charter flights could be offered was the fulfillment of a longstanding dream. The family later opened similar airparks in Sanford and Orlando, where Showalter Flying Service is still in operation at what is now Orlando Executive Airport. The final Winter Park landing took place in 1963 and real estate developers bought the airpark property, which today encompasses the Winter



Park Village Apartments and much of the Winter Park Pines subdivision. with such luminaries as Walt Disney, Dick Pope, founder of Cypress Also on the site is Showalter Field, where Winter Park High School Gardens, and Henry Flagler, whose Florida East Coast Railway opened plays its home football games, and Ward and Cady Way parks, which South Florida for tourism and development. feature softball fields, tennis courts, a playground and a swimming pool In the late 1950s, Winter Parkers came together to fight a proposed operated by the YMCA. Interstate 4 route that would have paralleled Orange Avenue and then Winter Park’s stature as an upscale retail mecca was bolstered in 1948 with crossed U.S. 17-92 before it turned north toward Maitland. the arrival of Eve Proctor Morrill, a former fashion buyer for major department This route would have destroyed the motels lining the east side of stores in Philadelphia. Morrill enlivened Park Avenue with The Proctor Shops, U.S.17-92 from Fairbanks Avenue to Lee Road, colloquially known as the one offering sporting goods and the other offering stylish women’s attire. She Million Dollar Mile, and would have sliced through property where locals also championed beautification hoped a shopping mall would be projects for Winter Park’s quaint built. In addition, many residents but still sleepy downtown, where feared that an interstate highway shop hours were sometimes erratso nearby would impact the city’s ic and more than a few merchants tranquility. closed for the summer. Winter Park voters strongly The Proctor Shops were sold rejected the proposed route in a in 1972 and later became Ja1958 referendum, much to the cobson’s, a popular department consternation of some Orlando store. But Proctor stayed active movers and shakers, such as Wilfor decades to come, buying liam H. “Billy” Dial, executive and selling property and raising vice president of First National funds for her favorite causes, inBank and a major proponent of cluding the Florida Symphony the route. Orchestra and PESO (ParticiIn a letter to Winter Park Maypation Enriches Science, Muor J. Lynn Pflug, Dial wrote that sic and Art Organizations), an The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, which debuted in 1963, was the result of a casual interstate highways should be advocacy group that she helped conversation among local artists sipping coffee at the Barbizon, a Park Avenue restaurant. built “not on the basis of popular Today the annual event attracts more than 300,000 people with art, food and music. form. vote or referenda, but on traffic The city honored Morrill with and engineering standards by an “Eve Proctor Morrill Day’’ in 1985, during which a garden and plaque in qualified persons with consideration for the needs of the traveling public, Central Park were unveiled. The plaque is inscribed with lines from a poem the effect the location might have on existing businesses and residents and by Logan Morrill, her late husband: “Love quietly and greatly. Seek immor- by the accessibility of the facility to those who, in their daily lives, require tality in those around you where we live eternally. In each day’s striving justify its use.” the lives we might have lived.’’ Greene, the former mayor and developer of Greeneda Court, is credIn 1950, renowned Czech-American sculptor Albin Polasek arrived in ited with effectively scuttling the proposal by convincing the Florida Winter Park to visit Ruth Sherwood, a student he had befriended while Cabinet to approve construction of the Dan T. McCarty State Office heading the sculpture department at the Chicago Institute of Art. The two Building, the now-vacant Y-shaped structure at the corner of Morse Bouwere married and built a beautiful Mediterranean home on Lake Osce­ola. levard and Denning Drive, directly in the interstate’s proposed path. A Today the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculp­ture Gar­dens holds an art second route was also scuttled before a third, well to the west, was chosen col­lec­tion focus­ing pri­mar­ily on Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tional sculp­ture, and approved in 1963. with more than 200 Polasek creations on display. Visitors may take guidThe city’s signature event, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, deed tours of the his­toric Polasek res­i­dence and out­door sculp­ture gar­den. buted in 1960. The idea appears to have originated with Darwin NichAlong with the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, the ols, an artist and owner of Park Avenue’s Barbizon restaurant, and his Polasek is perhaps the city’s most important cultural treasure. friends and fellow artists Don Sill and Bob Anderson. Community activOne of the most significant milestones in the city’s history occurred in ist Jean Oliphant headed a planning group and funds were raised from 1955 with the opening of the Winter Park Memorial Hospital, built on a Park Avenue merchants. portion of the long-defunct Aloma Country Club golf course. Today the In early February, 1960, the Orlando Evening Star announced the venstate-of-the-art facility is part of the Florida Hospital system, a group of ture with the headline: “Date Set for ‘Arty’ Park Ave. Three Days of Boprivate hospitals owned and operated by Adventist Health Systems. hemia.” Less than a month after the idea was casually proposed among In 1956, Robert Langford opened the thoroughly modern Langford Ho- three friends at the Barbizon, the inaugural show was held in Central tel on East New England Avenue, giving Winter Park its first resort-style Park and attracted 90 exhibitors. Today, around 225 artists participate getaway. The 82-room Langford, which remained a favorite for locals and and some 300,000 people view the displays, listen to live jazz and nosh visitors until its closing in 2000, hosted an eclectic assortment of VIPs, in- festival food. cluding Lillian Gish, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower, Ray Charles, With its population now topping 17,000, Winter Park attracted more reBob Dylan, George McGovern, Charlton Heston, Louis Rukeyser and tail development beyond Park Avenue. The Winter Park Mall, with 400,000 Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who spent their 25th anniversary there. square feet under roof, opened in 1964 and was at the time the largest cliLangford, who died the year the hotel ceased operation, was one of mate-controlled mall in the Southeast. The complex was damaged by a mathe first eight inductees into the Florida Tourism Hall of Fame, along jor fire in 1969, but was repaired and continued to thrive until the 1980s.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012



When the Winter Park Mall opened in 1964, it was the largest climate-controlled mall in the Southeast. Although the 400,000-square-foot complex was damaged by fire in 1969, it was repaired and continued to thrive until the 1980s. Most of the structure was razed in the late 1990s to make room for Winter Park Village, a sprawling retail and restaurant development with residential lofts.

The final stores in the mall closed in the late 1990s, and most of the low-slung white structure was razed to make room for Winter Park Village, a sprawling retail and restaurant development with residential lofts. But a generation of Winter Parkers recall buying their school clothes at J. C. Penney and Ivey’s, the two major anchors, and the latest batch of Marvel Comics at Mall News. Winter Park was not entirely untouched by the turbulent 1960s, although it was hardly a hotbed of discontent. Hoards of young people with no apparent political purpose began gathering in Central Park, much to the dismay of Park Avenue merchants, who said they were scaring the customers. And in 1970 about 200 Rollins students protested the war in Vietnam by marching from the campus to the McCarty State Office Building, where the Selective Service offices were located. In 1981, a new attraction opened — literally — when a huge sinkhole began to form in the front yard of Mae Rose Owens, who looked outside the window of her house on West Comstock Street and saw a sycamore tree disappear as if it were being pulled underground by its roots. Owens, who soon realized that a crater was forming in her front yard, packed some belongings and quickly left with her family. Within a few hours, the structure had vanished. To the north, the city swimming pool cracked and its deep end crumbled and disappeared. The hole expanded eastward, swallowing part of Denning Drive, and southward, creeping uncomfortably close to the back walls of several buildings along Fairbanks Avenue. There were no injuries, although five Porsches and a travel trailer behind German Car Service were devoured. City Planner Jeff Briggs, recalling the scene years later to a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel, said, “Where else do you get to see Porches in a sinkhole except Winter Park?” No one knew how big the hole would get, and no one knew how to stop it from getting bigger. Within a few days, however, the ground appeared to stabilize and onlookers could only marvel at how, in such a densely developed urban area, the abyss had formed only on land that was largely vacant. In the coming days, a circus atmosphere developed as vendors sold food, T-shirts and other souvenirs. One Fairbanks Avenue business charged admission to view the gaping maw, which measured 335 feet wide and 110 feet deep, from a rear balcony. Adding to the absurdity, a pawnbroker sued Winter Park for unfair


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

competition after the city began selling sinkhole photos from a tent, which was set up as a shelter for security police, while refusing to issue him a permit to operate a similar enterprise nearby. Local geotechnical engineer Jim Jammal described the phenomenon, which garnered national news coverage, as “the largest sinkhole event witnessed by man as a result of natural geological reasons or conditions.” Today, it’s simply Lake Rose. In the 1980s, Winter Park became synonymous with the so-called quality revolution when Philip Crosby, an author and a retired ITT executive, opened the Quality College in offices on New England Avenue and later Morse Boulevard. For more than a decade, the college hosted as many as 6,000 corporate executives from around the U.S. for weeklong seminars on quality management. Quality College attendees filled rooms at the Mt. Vernon Inn on U.S. 17-92, the only hotel in the city large enough to accommodate them all, and dined in a different Park Avenue restaurant every day. The economic impact on local businesses was tremendous. But more important, the Quality College regularly showcased Winter Park to captive audiences of influential movers and shakers.


In recent years, as it approached its 125th anniversary, Winter Park has seemed even more cognizant of its heritage. Because the city is largely built out, its population inched up only slightly, from 24,000 to 27,000, between 2000 and 2010. Unlike most Central Florida cities, it is less concerned with growth than with preservation and enhancement. In 2007, the Hannibal Square Heritage Center opened to honor the history and culture of the neighborhood, where the business district has been redeveloped to encompass trendy restaurants and upscale boutiques. The center was founded by the Crealde School of Art in partnership with the City of Winter Park. And in 2011 the entire Downtown Winter Park Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Would Chase, Chapman and other Winter Park founders be pleased with how their city has developed? Almost certainly, they would be impressed at how today’s Winter Park has adhered to their original vision of a beautiful, peaceful, culturally sophisticated community. Late in life, Chapman wrote: “Starting Winter Park was probably the most important event in my life.” Important to a lot of us, Mr. Chapman.




W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012




W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012




W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012



The Rollins campus in the l890s was built around what is now Mills Lawn. An early catalog touted the college’s studious environment, describing Winter Park as “a community of unusual culture, being without saloons and other places of doubtful amusement.”


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

An Institution of

Achievement and Promise


hen Thaddeus Seymour Insists that Rollins College is the oldest institution of higher learning in Florida, few argue. First of all, Seymour stands 6-foot-6 and, despite his 82 years, remains an imposing presence. Apart from that, Seymour, a gentle giant who was president of Rollins from 1978 to 1990, has done his homework. When Rollins celebrated its centennial in 1985, Seymour was surprised to learn that Stetson University had marked its 100th year in 1983, which would have made Rollins the state’s second-oldest college. Seymour was having none of it. “I discovered that Stetson was founded as the DeLand Academy in 1883,” says Seymour, now a president emeritus of the college and a beloved campus and community icon. “I found an advertisement that specifically said Stetson was an academy, not a college,” he adds. “In fact, they didn’t offer their first collegiate course until 1887. So I began to jokingly tell my Stetson friends, ‘I don’t dispute for a minute that you’re the oldest high school in Florida but you are not the oldest college in Florida.’” By randy noles One of the most unusual nicknames in college sports belongs to Rollins. Quite simply, a “Tar” is a sailor. Centuries ago, during the age of tall sailing ships, British sailors were known as “Tars.” Rollins’ connection with the Tars began in World War I, when a small Navy vessel was stationed on Lake Virginia, which borders the campus. With the war leaving only 10 male students on campus, females began ogling the uniformed trainees and referring to them as Tars. The inventive coed who actually dredged up and first used this arcane term remains unknown. Nonetheless, the moniker stuck. Soon the college’s varsity teams, which had previously been called the Blue and Gold, were called the Tars. Rollins is the only collegiate institution in the United States with the Tars as its sports nickname. W INTE R 2 0 1 2 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E


That distinction goes to Rollins, and in 2010, the 1,773-student, liberal-arts college celebrated it with events marking its 125th anniversary. The year-long commemoration offered local residents, especially Winter Parkers, a chance to reflect on the impact Rollins has had on the community and to learn about the quirky visionaries who founded and nurtured it. “Rollins is such a fundamental part of our city,” says Winter Park Mayor Kenneth Bradley. “If there was no Rollins in Winter Park, we would be Winter something else.” Few colleges are as entwined in every respect with the cities in which they’re located. The lushly landscaped, 70-acre campus, with its elaborately detailed Mediterranean buildings and such offbeat attractions as the Walk of Fame and the Beale Maltibe Shell Museum, hugs the shores of Lake Virginia at the southern terminus of the posh Park Avenue retail district. There was some talk of the city just letting the celebration go because of current economic conditions,” Bradley says. “But we decided it was just too important.” During an old-fashioned anniversary parade that included city officials, Bradley recalls, he “walked with my chest a little further out than usual. It was one of my proudest moments to be a part of an event that honored excellence and education.” To Park Avenue’s retailers and restaurateurs, the economic impact of Rollins is profound. Peter Moore, the assistant director of economic development for Winter Park and a Rollins graduate — he earned his MBA from the college’s renowned Crummer School of Business in 2004 — sees this symbiotic relationship reinforced daily in his role as liaison between the college, the city and the local business community. “The way we look at it, we have a 2,000-person hotel at the end of our commercial district,” says Moore. “The students and their parents are a huge driver of business. The merchants, during the summer when school is out, are always asking us, ‘When are the students coming back?’” Just as important as the college’s impact on the city’s business environment has been its impact on the city’s cultural and intellectual life. Plays, lectures, exhibitions and concerts have for generations brought prominent politicians, artists and intellectuals to campus.

Knowles Memorial Chapel, completed in 1933, was given to Rollins by Frances Knowles Warren in memory of her father, Francis Knowles, a civic leader and one of the college’s founders. It was designed by noted church and collegiate architect Ralph Adams Cram.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Muriel Fox

Fred Rogers

Buddy Ebsen

Anthony Perkins

ROLLINS ALUMNI INCLUDE SOME NAMES YOU’LL KNOW As a particularly shy and thoughtful student scurried across the Rollins campus on a spring day in 1951, he stopped to look at a plaque that he later remembered as having a profound influence on his philosophy and career. It simply read: “Life is for Service.” The student was Fred Rogers, who would become one of the nation’s most beloved figures as creator and host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. But Rogers is far from the only famous Rollins alumni. Many notables from all walks of life have earned Rollins degrees, or at least wandered through its hallways for a semester or two. Writers include Rex Beech (The Spoilers), Robert Newton Peck (A Day No Pigs Would Die) and Jess Gregg (Baby Boy) while actors include Buddy Ebsen (The Beverly Hillbillies), Anthony Perkins (Psycho) and Dana Ivey (Legally Blonde). Pro tennis players include Jack Kramer, Ted Schroeder, Shirley Frye, Betty Rosenquest Pratt, Gigi Fernandez, Marlene Streit, Pauline Betz Addie, Dorothy Cheney and Nancy Reed. Pro golfers include Mike Nicolette and Jane Blaylock while famed golf-course architect Pete Dye was also a Rollins grad. In baseball, John Castino was a first-baseman and Rookie of the Year for the Minnesota Twins, Ryan Hannigan was a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds and Clay Bellinger, a former New York Yankees outfielder, played in the 1999 World Series. Local leaders such as former Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood, President of Worldwide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Al Weiss and Walt Disney Resort President Meg Crofton also attended Rollins. There is even a Nobel Prize winner in the bunch: Donald J. Cram, who was honored in 1987 for his work in chemistry. There are ambassadors, television producers, playwrights, artists, singers and activists such as Muriel Fox, co-founder of the National Organization for Women. And there is at least one Rollins graduate who is more infamous than famous: Deborah Palfrey, who became known as the “D.C. Madam” during a Capitol Hill sex scandal.




W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012



Two views from the 1930s showcase the beauty of the Rollins campus. From Lake Virginia (top) the buildings look particularly warm and welcoming. From the air (above) lovely Mediterranean buildings dot a heavily wooded landscape.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

From Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings to Maya Angelou; from H.G. Wells to Salman Rushdie; from Franklin Roosevelt to Justice William O. Douglas; visitors to Rollins have included figures of historic importance. In Stockholm accepting his Nobel Prize in literature, journalist Sinclair Lewis listed Rollins as first among all colleges in the U.S. doing the most to encourage creative work in contemporary literature. Rollins has three academic divisions: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Crummer Graduate School of Business and the Hamilton Holt School. The College of Arts and Sciences offers 28 undergraduate majors and a variety of interdisciplinary programs that allow students to design their own courses of study. The Crummer Graduate School of Business offers an MBA through four different programs, including three designed specifically for working professionals. The Hamilton Holt School focuses on the non-traditional student and holds most of its classes in the evening. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered. The five most popular majors for Rollins undergraduates in 2010 were: social sciences (32 percent), psychology (15 percent), business management, marketing and related support services, (12 percent), visual and performing arts (10 percent) and biological and biomedical sciences (6 percent). Former Rollins President Hamilton Holt once described the college he led from 1925-1949 as “an institution of achievement and promise.” Six decades after his retirement, the description is still apt. Rollins ranks No. 1 among 118 regional universities in the South in the annual rankings of “America’s Best Colleges,” released by U.S. News & World Report. It’s the seventh consecutive year that Rollins has been named to the top spot in this category. For 10 consecutive years prior, it had held down the No. 2 position. Rollins was also ranked first in the South in the Best



Value Colleges category, which relates academic quality with the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. In the category of Best Undergraduate Teaching, Rollins ranked second in the South. “We’re especially pleased that Rollins has been recognized for our dedication to providing higher education of the highest quality,” says Rollins President Lewis Duncan. “We continue to rise in national prominence in applied liberal learning, international programs and community engagement.” Janis Hirsch, a sitcom writer who graduated from Rollins with a degree in theater arts in 1972 and now lives in Beverly Hills, was invited to speak during the college’s anniversary celebration as part of a panel of alumni discussing the value of a liberal-arts education. “The theater department at Rollins prepared me for everything in my life,” Hirsch says. “When I was young, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just knew how I wanted to feel. And where I felt the most alive was in the theater.” Hirsch’s theater experience taught her to listen , a skill that’s particularly important, she says, to “a writer in a collaborative environment, feeding off the thing that the last person said, not stuck in your own head.” Like many Rollins students over the decades, Hirsch came to Winter Park from the Northeast. She says she remembers trudging through slush in Trenton, N.J., and telling her mother, “The next time I fall in this stuff, don’t pick me up, just shoot me.” Being able to learn and grow in such a beautiful school while enjoying the fringe benefits of the Florida weather was something she came to relish. “I can remember saying to a classmate: “Boy , are we lucky. Our parents did us a big favor.’”

English-born stage actress Annie Russell (above), whose professional heyday was in the 1890s, retired to Winter Park in 1918 and became a professor of theater arts, teaching and directing student performances. The campus theater bearing her name was completed in 1932, four years before her death.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012




The 1908 Rollins Blue and Gold earned a state championship.


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Rollins has long been known as an NCAA Division II powerhouse in such sports as basketball, baseball, tennis, golf and crew. But few remember that it once fielded a football team whose opponents included the University of Florida and the University of Miami. The first Rollins football team took the field in 1904, and quickly became a force to be reckoned with. In addition to the Gators and the Hurricanes, the squad played other small-college teams such as the Florida Southern Moccasins and the University of Tampa Spartans. The Tars, then known as the Blue and Gold, won the unofficial small college state championship in 1908 and continued to rack up winning seasons, notching the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship in 1940. Football was dropped in 1949 after costs proved to be prohibitive. In 2011, however, it made a comeback as a club sport. The new-look Tars joined the National Club Football Association (NCFA), which includes club teams from the University of North Carolina, Clemson University, University of Vermont and Miami (Ohio) University, among others. Membership in the NCFA allows Rollins to play in regional conferences as well as the NCFA’s annual national championship game.



MCKEAN’S FOX DAY SHOWED AN ARTIST’S WHIMSICAL SPIRIT Hugh McKean was a Rollins art instructor when he was tapped for the school’s presidency in 1951. So you’d expect his leadership style to incorporate a considerable degree of whimsy. One of the many ways McKean’s decidedly offbeat but gentle personality manifested itself was through his establishment of Fox Day in 1956. By placing a statue of a fox on Mills Lawn, which he did in the spring of every year, the unconventional administrator declared a campus holiday. Fox Day remains an eagerly anticipated event on the Rollins campus. McKean, in an oral history of the college, said: “Fox Day is one result of students telling me they wanted ‘to do something as a college.’ I thought they had a point. Living in a nice little community dedicated to learning is an important part of a Rollins education. But it is not easy to plan something hundreds of young people will enjoy doing together.” The proclamations McKean wrote commemorating Fox Day became as eagerly anticipated as the day itself. The missive below, written in 1968 as McKean prepared to retire, is reflective of his poetic sensibilities: “Whereas the mockingbirds are singing in the midnight, and jasmine stars are falling in the garden and the dogwood blossoms in the woods, and mallard ducks are trailing soft flotillas, and the oak trees are green-green-green, and spring is here... Now, therefore, I The Fox, do proclaim the fourteenth day of May (1968) to be that special day when no classes will convene in the college, this being the day when we are free...”


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012




W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012




At 76, a prominent Winter Parker took pen and brush in hand and recreated the city as he knew it.

Trovillion’s Pharmacy (foreground) was operated by Jerry Trovillion. His son, Ray (inset), became a local civic leader. Jerry and Mary Trovillion moved to Winter Park in 1908 with their son, Ray, then 16. The Trovillions bought what is now Taylor’s Pharmacy, located in the building that had once housed Ergood & White’s mercantile store, and began buying investment property. Ray, meanwhile, enrolled in the Rollins Academy and then Rollins College. After a stint in the shoe business, he joined the Equitable Life Insurance Company. “Things were tough,” Trovillion told the Winter Park Sun-Herald in a 1978 interview. “I would crawl across the street to sell $1,000 worth of life insurance. Out in Slavia (in Seminole County) I would trade vegetables and strawberries for insurance policies.” But Trovillion became a highly successful businessperson and civic leader, serving as president of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Orange County School Board. In his later years, he was known as one of Winter Park’s most knowledgeable, and colorful, historians. In 1968, at age 76, he used a crow-quill pen and a set of watercolor paint to create, from his remarkable memory, a map of Winter Park as he knew it in 1908. In 1993, nine years after Trovillion’s death, the Winter Park Historical Association produced a limited edition of 500 prints of the map and sold them to raise funds for its fledgling museum in a portion of the old railroad depot at New York and Lyman avenues. The map lists every commercial building and shows the location of homes, schools, roads, groves and lakes with amazing accuracy. Although this historic gem has been out of circulation for a number of years, Winter Park Magazine, in conjunction with Panera Bread’s Park Avenue location, is pleased to present it here. Trovillion’s son, Allen, a former Winter Park mayor and state legislator, generously loaned us the original document for reproduction purposes. We are also grateful to Barbara Trovillion Rushing, Trovillion’s granddaughter and also a former member of the Orange County School Board, for her assistance in locating this unique treasure.

Sponsored by

Dining Restaurants of Winter Park

Pillar on Park Long before there was a Restaurant Row, Park Avenue was considered the region’s premier dining destination. But while individual eateries have come and gone, Park Plaza Gardens has remained at or near the top of its game for more than 30 years. Located adjacent to the historic Park Plaza Hotel, this Winter Park institution boasts a clubby, cozy bar and sidewalk café for leisurely drinks, casual meals and unparalleled people watching. Café specialties include appetizers, soups, sandwiches, burgers and a lovely array of salads. At the rear of the building is the elegant atrium dining room, a posh, patio-style space where you are surrounded by large trees and lush vegetation beneath a soaring ceiling of glass. The food is worthy of the setting, melding American, European and Asian flavors and cooking techniques. Specialties of the house include beef carpaccio, filet of beef tenderloin, chicken curry salad and crab-stuffed grouper. Bananas foster is a showy but delightful dessert. You can visit Park Plaza Gardens for no reason at all other than a desire to enjoy creative cuisine in a unique setting. But if you’re planning to mark an anniversary, celebrate a holiday or pop the proverbial question, the atrium area offers an ideal ambience for memory making. Open for lunch and dinner daily. 319 Park Ave. S., 407-645-2475, parkplazagardens.com $$$-$$$$



Dining THE KEY $ Cheap eats, most entrees under $10 $$ Moderate, dinner entrees $15-20 $$$ Pricey, most entrees over $30 $$$$ Many entrees over $30


The Bistro on Park Avenue 348 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-2313 / bistroonparkavenue. com. Located in the Hidden Gardens, this low-key eatery’s glass-enclosed garden room offers one of the prettiest settings on Park Avenue. Specialties include chef crab cakes, shrimp or crawfish étouffée and bistro-style pot roast. Breakfast is served on Saturdays with an excellent brunch featuring a variety of eggs Benedict made with salmon and soft-shell crab. It’s German Night on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. $$-$$ Briarpatch Restaurant 252 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-8651. This Park Avenue institution is crowded during breakfast and lunch — and on Sunday for brunch — and incredibly noisy. Fare includes fancy burgers, such as the Grafton white cheddar and sugar-cured bacon burger, as well as sandwiches, salads and omelets. But most patrons are particularly fond of the oversized homemade desserts, including an array of ice creams and such super-rich treats as chocolate layer cake. A bit of trivia: The restaurant’s marble counter once topped the soda fountain at Irvine’s Pharmacy, an even more venerable Park Avenue institution that operated from 1925 to 1973. $$-$$$ The Cask & Larder 656 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-2333/caskandlarder.com. From the folks who brought us Ravenous Pig comes this “Southern Public House” in the former Harper’s Tavern location. “Cask” is for the beer that will be brewed on site and “larder” is an arcane term for a pantry used primarily in the South, so the cuisine is Southern-inspired, locally sourced and will encompass the general categories of oysters; sausage and country hams; snacks; vegetables and grains; fish and other meats. Beer will be available on tap, and customers can purchase kegs or two-liter “growlers.” $$$ Dexter’s 558 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407-629-1150 / dexwine.com. Central Florida has three Dexter’s locations, each of which has become a neighborhood hangout, drawing diners of all ages for hearty portions of creative American fare (at fair prices), good wine and, in some cases, live music. Casual dress is the rule. The brunches, and the pressed duck sandwiches, are especially popular. For dinner, country-fried lamb — yes, lamb — is an unexpected but tasty choice. $$-$$$ Hillstone215S.OrlandoAve.,WinterPark,407-7404005 / hillstone.com/hillstone. Formerly known as Houston’s, this Winter Park mainstay is part of a high-end chain. Still, it grows its own herbs, bakes its own bread, grinds its own meat, cuts its


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

own fish and whips its own cream. In nice weather, guests relax with a cocktail in Adirondack chairs overlooking Lake Killarney. Many have popped the proverbial question during romantic dinners for two on the boat dock. $$$ Keke’s Breakfast Café 345 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-629-1400 / kekesbreakfastcafe. com. Keke’s serves up a solid lunch, but this place is really all about breakfast, more specifically the waffles, French toast and oversized pancakes, offered with fruit, granola and chocolate chips. You may encounter a wait on weekend mornings, but be patient — it’s worth it. $$ Linda’s Winter Park Diner 1700 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-2343. Not every restaurant in Winter Park is fancy or precious. This old-fashioned diner specializes in homey breakfasts and meat-plus-three blue-plate specials, none of which will ever win any culinary awards but all of which satisfy the eclectic hoard of blue-collar, white-collar and no-collar regulars. It’s a cash-only operation, so avoid embarrassment and visit the ATM before dining. $ Mellow Mushroom 2015 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-657-7755 / mellowmushroom.com/winterpark. This Atlanta-based pizza chain, with more than 100 locations around the country, also serves up hoagies, salads, calzones and a wide variety of draft, craft and bottled beers. But it’s the pizza that really delivers, and boomers enjoy the laidback, summer-of-love vibe. $-$$ 310 Park South 310 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-7277 / 310parksouth.net. New American cuisine featuring fresh seafood, beef, pasta dishes, signature salads and sandwiches. Dine outside along the Avenue and enjoy daily lunch and dinner specials, a children’s menu or Sunday brunch. Steak, chicken and pasta entrées dominate the menu, but there’s a very nice, slowly roasted half duck finished with a plum demi-glace. If you prefer to dine at home, call ahead and pick up your favorite dish. $$-$$$ The Coach Room 110 S. Orlando Ave. Winter Park, 407-647-1166 / bestwestern.com. This small restaurant at Winter Park’s venerable Best Western/Mt. Vernon Inn is not flashy. But longtime locals know that The Coach Room, renowned for roasting turkeys daily, offers hearty lunches and tasty breakfasts. Still, the biggest draw is the adjacent Red Fox Lounge, a refreshingly retro watering hole where dapper elders and college hipsters alike enjoy strong drinks and campy but sincere lounge acts. Until recently, the octogenarian husband-and-wife duo of Mark Wayne and Laura Lambey packed the house with singalongs and old-school show-biz shtick. Wayne died in February, the night after his last gig. $-$$ Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen 2203 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-672-5753 / tibbysneworleanskitchen.com. If you’re looking for a quiet, intimate dining experience, this is not the place for you. Tibby’s is loud, raucous and fun, with Crescent City favorites like shrimp Creole, crawfish

pie and, for dessert, powdered beignets. Tibby’s was named for the late Walter “Tibby” Tabony, a Big Easy native and great-uncle of restaurateur Brian Wheeler, who also founded Tijuana Flats. The old man, whose colorful biography is on the menu, would certainly have approved of the shrimp and andouille cheddar grits and the hand-battered fried pickle slices, which are expertly fried and served with a rich rémoulade sauce. $$


Orchid Thai Cuisine 305 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-331-1400. Enjoy authentic Thai food — with orchids (what else?) garnishing many dishes — in a primo Park Avenue location. Traditional offerings include green curry highlighted by coconut gravy infused with kaffir lime and Thai basil, larb chicken, tom yum soup and curry puffs. For a light and refreshing dessert, try the Thai doughnuts, sweetened by a peanut-sprinkled dip of condensed milk. The cozy restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating. $$-$$$ P.F. Chang’s China Bistro 436 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-0188 / pfchangs. com. The popular restaurant chain, with more than 200 locations in North America, offers upscale Chinese classics artfully presented, with many sauces made tableside by servers. Signature entrées include diced chicken wrapped in lettuce leaves, orange-peel beef with chili peppers and wok-fried scallops with lemon sauce. The busy Winter Park Village venue features an outdoor patio. $$


4 Rivers Smokehouse 1600 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-474-8377 / 4rsmokehouse.com. A diverse menu of barbecue specialties — from Texas-style brisket to pulled pork, smoked turley and bacon-wrapped jalapenos — has gained this homegrown concept a huge following. The new and expanded Winter Park location also features scrumptous desserts created in the Longwood store’s in-house bakery. The Missisippi mud cake, in particular, is to die for. $


Panera Bread 329 N. Park Ave., Ste. 107, Winter Park, FL  32789/panerabread.com On the south end of Park Avenue sits a Starbucks; on the north end a Panera holds sway. But while Starbucks is pretty much strictly a place for coffee, Panera offers amazing bakery items and its signature fresh-and-healthy soups, salads and sandwiches. So we consider it to be as much a restaurant as a coffeehouse, as do most of its partons. This particular location is a large space, conveniently located next to a parking garage, and offers abundant outside seating to facilitate people-watching. $


BurgerFi 538 Park Ave. S., Winter Park, 407-6222010/burgerfi.com. This Delray Beach-based chain, which has just opened a Park Avenue outpost, joins Five Guys and Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries in Central Florida’s suddenly sizzling burger



Dining cateogory. You order at the counter and a server brings your food. The burger buns, interestingly, are branded with the name of the restaurant while the burgers themselves are fashioned from grassfed, steroid-free beef. The fries are thick cut and house made and there are some 120 beverages from which to choose, including tea, wine, soft drinks and craft beer. Frozen custard is a nice treat on a hot day. $-$$

friendly, low-key little restaurant where French expat Vincent Vallée will brew you a cappuccino, warm up a slice of quiche Lorraine or indulge you with a peanut-butter filled lava cake — dark chocolate or white. Be sure to try the “salted” pound cake, a savory snack made with goat cheese, walnuts and raisins stirred in, or the bacon quiche, a light, fluffy delight with a delicate and flaky crust. $


Chez Vincent 533 W. New England Ave, Winter Park, 407-599-2929 / chezvincent.com. Orlandoans have headed to chef Vincent Gagliano’s Hannibal Square hideaway for 15 years, dressing up for formal evenings made even more special with trout in lemon-butter and pork tenderloin slathered with Dijon sauce. The intimate space has two sister enterprises: a below-ground wine cellar that hosts private meals for up to 30, and a lounge known as Hannibal’s that dishes up American and French favorites. $$-$$$

Luma on Park 290 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-599-4111 / lumaonpark.com. If there’s pancetta in your salad, the salumi was made in the kitchen, by hand, starting with a whole pig. Most herbs are from local farms, fish from sustainable sources, pickled vegetables jarred in-house and desserts built around seasonal ingredients. Luma’s progressive menu, which changes daily, is served in a sleek and stylish dining room in the heart of Winter Park, under the passionate direction of Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery, Chef de Cuisine Derek Perez and Pastry Chef Brian Cernell. $$$ Park Plaza Gardens 319 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-2475 / parkplazagardens.com. After 30-plus years, Park Plaza Gardens is a Park Avenue institution. People-watchers gather at the small bar and sidewalk tables to linger over casual meals and cold beers, while those looking for an indulgent experience dine in the garden-like back room, which boasts atrium windows and plush décor. The menu features a melding of American, European and Asian flavors and cooking techniques. $$$-$$$$ Ravenous Pig 1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-2333 / theravenouspig.com. After leaving their hometown for serious culinary training, Winter Park natives James and Julie Petrakis returned to open the region’s first genuine gastropub. Dinner reservations have been tough to snag ever since. The ambitious menu changes daily based on the fish, meat and produce that’s available, and it’s executed by a dedicated team that abhors shortcuts. Besides daily specials, The Pig always serves up an excellent burger, soft pretzels, shrimp and grits and a donut-esque dessert called Pig Tails. $$$


Café de France 526 Park Ave. S., Winter Park, 407-647-1869 / lecafedefrance.com. Dominique Gutierrez, who’s from Vendée, on the Atlantic coast of France, still greets Café de France diners as if they’re old friends. At this point, many are. Despite a kitchen staffed with chefs, she still prepares the house-made pâtés the way her mother taught her years ago. Look for classics such as garlicky escargot and au courant entrées such as rack of lamb with mint, eggplant purée and crisp wild mushrooms. $$-$$$ Café 906 906 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-975-0600 / cafe906.blogspot.com. Within this nondescript freestanding building is a


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012

Croissant Gourmet 120 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-622-7753 / croissantgourmet.com. Discreetly tucked onto a side street behind simple glass walls, Croissant Gourmet is so small you might not notice it. Seek it out. Under the expert guidance of pastry chef François Cahagne, this simple spot turns out tray after tray of the region’s finest croissants and pastries. Quiches are superb here, as are the grilled croque monsieur and madame sandwiches. $-$$ Dylan’s Deli 1198 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-7578 / dylansdeli.net. In a disjointed little space featuring warm fresco colors and distinctive touches such as arched doorways, Dylan’s Deli offers not only the pastrami sandwiches you’d expect but also a wondrous assortment of French fare. Crêpes and paninis filled with an array of Gallic and international flavors make for satisfying lunches, while montaditos (platters of meats, cheeses, nuts and more) and charcuterie plates pair well with French wines and beers after dark. $$-$$$ Green Lemon Café 1945 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-673-0225 / greenlemoncafe.com. Squeezed in among a row of restaurants in a single Winter Park strip center, this unpretentious little spot serves up crêpes, paninis, salads and smoothies in a counter-service format. Of the plethora of crêpe offerings, the whole-wheat Norwegian was by far the most adventurous, garnished with a dusting of paprika and highlighted by a mélange of red onions, capers and salmon. $

is Bistro is a restaurant divided: Some seats are tucked away behind Park Avenue’s Shops on Park building, past a koi pond. The others beckon along a bustling stretch of sidewalk. Wherever you choose to indulge, you’ll find French classics (coq au vin, beef burgundy) plus a slew of daily specials (roasted rack of lamb flambéed with brandy and topped with a porcini mushroom sauce) created by chef and co-owner Sebastian Colce. $$-$$$ Sweet Traditions 212 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-2232. After developing a robust business in downtown Winter Garden, proprietors Christine and Stephan Crocher snuggled a second café next to Paris Gourmet. Sweet Traditions offers breads, pastries, crêpes, sandwiches and quiches. The fruit tart is the ideal go-to dessert when you’re having company. Unlike the Winter Garden location, the Winter Park outlet offers crunchy and steamy pressed sandwiches, and breakfast is served all day. $


Antonio’s 611 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407645-5523 / antoniosonline.com. Fine Italian fare comes at reasonable prices at Antonio’s, proprietor Greg Gentile’s culinary homage to his ancestors. The upstairs restaurant, recently remodeled and expanded with a balcony overlooking Lake Lily, is somewhat formal, although the open kitchen provides peeks of the chefs in action. Its downstairs counterpart, Antonio’s Café, is a more casual spot that doubles as a market and wine shop. It’s easy to fill up on fresh, crusty bread and olive oil, but don’t — you’ll want to leave room for such staples as wood-grilled salmon, rigatoni with chicken, fettuccine Alfredo, pollo Marsala, veal picatta and many more. $$$ Brio Tuscan Grille 480 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-5611 / brioitalian.com. Located in Winter Park Village, Brio is a Tuscan treasure. Try the roasted lamb chops, a full rack, or the filletto di manzo toscana, an 8-ounce, center-cut filet. Lunch features paninis and sandwiches as well as lunch-sized servings of popular dinner dishes. Pastas are made inhouse and breads are baked fresh in an Italian oven. The ambience is upscale, but kids have their own menu. $$

Le Macaron French Pastries 216 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 321-295-7958 / lemacaron-us.com. Le Macaron serves up 16 flavors of petite pastel cookies, each made primarily with frothy meringue and ground almonds. The noshes are delicate yet filling, and come in varieties such as black currant, pistachio and chestnutginger-chocolate. These are nothing like similarly named macaroons, made with coconut. $

Buca di Beppo 1351 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-622-7663 / bucadibeppo.com. This national chain is owned by Orlando resident (and Planet Hollywood founder) Robert Earl, who has remade it onto a fun, kitschy place for family dining. The portions are humongous, and the food is served family style. A standout entrée is linguine fruitti di mari, a large portion of pasta served in a lasagna pan and filled with mussels, calamari, clams and shrimp drizzled with an olive oil sauce. The pizzas are excellent, too. $$$

Paris Bistro 216 N. Park Ave., 407-671-4424, Winter Park / parisbistroparkavenue.com. Par-

Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant 216 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-629-7270 / pannullos.

com. Housed in one of Park Avenue’s oldest buildings, Pannullo’s is approaching its 20th anniversary and has become something of a fixture itself. The menu features everything from pizza to classic pasta dishes, but you can’t go wrong with the lobster ravioli or the chicken gorgonzola. And check out the veggie-heavy salad bar. $$ Prato 124 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-2620050 / prato-wp.com. This is one of Orlando’s very best Italian restaurants, but don’t expect a classic lasagna or chicken parmigiana. Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery and Chef di Cucina Matthew Cargo oversee an open kitchen in which pastas are made from scratch, pizzas are rolled to order, sausages are stuffed by hand and the olive oil is a luscious organic pour from Italy. Try the chicken liver Toscana, a satisfying salad Campagna with cubes of sizzling pancetta tesa, shrimp tortellini and citrusy rabbit cacciatore. Begin with a Negroni cocktail; it’s possibly the best around. $$-$$$ Rocco’s 400 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-7770 / roccositaliangrille.com. Calabria native Rocco Potami oversees this romantic Italian eatery, where fine authentic fare is presented in an intimate dining room and on a secluded brick patio. Classics include carpaccio (raw, thinly sliced beef with white truffle oil and arugula), ricotta gnocchi and a breaded veal chop topped with a lightly dressed salad. It’s easy to miss, tucked away in a Winter Park strip center, but once you find it, you’ll be back. $$$ Tolla’s Italian Deli & Café 240 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-0068 / tollasitalianrestaurant.com. Chef-owner Gary Tolla cooks up authentic home-style Italian fare in this small café in a quieter part of Winter Park. The offerings range from hot subs and pizzas to antipasto and veal saltimbocca. Be sure to try the bruschetta. $$


Mi Tomatina 433 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 321-972-4317 / mitomatina.com. This eatery bills itself as a paella bar, and indeed guests share a half-dozen varieties of the signature Spanish rice dish. Yet others come for a mellow meal over tapas (garlic shrimp, potato omelet, croquettes) and sangria, enjoyed while seated within a small contemporary dining room or outdoors overlooking Hannibal Square. $$-$$$


Bosphorous 108 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407644-8609 / bosphorousrestaurant.com. This is the place for flavorful Turkish fare in either a white-tablecloth setting or alfresco along Park Avenue. Many couples fill up on the appetizer sampler with oversized lavash bread. For a heartier meal, try the ground lamb “Turkish

pastry,” a shish kebab or a tender lamb shank. Outdoor diners can end their meals by smoking from a hookah. Or not. $$


Cocina 214 151 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park, 407-790-7997 / cocina214.com. Tex-Mex food is top quality here (214 is the Dallas area code), with salsa, savories and even margarita flavorings made from scratch. The spinachmushroom quesadilla and braised pork tacos with “orange dust” are especially noteworthy, as is the pescado rico, a large serving of mahi-mahi, small shrimp, wilted spinach and roasted poblano drenched in a rich tequila cream sauce. $$


Fiddler’s Green 544 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-2050 / fiddlersgreenorlando.com. This is as authentically Irish as you’ll find in Orlando, with a menu featuring bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, hen in a pot, Irish stew and, of course, fish and chips as well as a wide selection of Irish beers. The ambience is enhanced by dark wood, cozy clutter and rowdy groups of “footballers” cheering televised matches. $-$$ Orlando Ale House 101 University Park Drive, Winter Park, 407-671-1011 / millersalehouse.com. Part of the Miller’s Ale House regional chain of casual-dining restaurants, most of which are in Florida, the Winter Park location offers daily lunch and dinner specials. Along with a huge beer selection, the Ale House features signature boneless chicken wings and “Captain Jack’s Buried Treasure,” a layered ice cream cake. $-$$ Shipyard Brew Pub 200 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 321-274-4045 / shipyardemporium. com. This ultra-casual brewpub has been packed night and day since it opened in 2011, and not just because it pours a great lager. To complement suds brewed both in-house and elsewhere, a from-scratch menu offers Buffalo chicken dip, amazing white-bean hummus, sandwiches, flatbreads and entrées, including étouffée and pot roast. Stop in any time to pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread. $-$$


Mitchell’s Fish Market 460 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-339-3474 / mitchellsfishmarket.com. A high-end seafood chain that prides itself on being “absolutely, positively obsessed with freshness,” the family-friendly restaurant also offers a gluten-free menu and special meals for kids. Signature dishes include charbroiled oysters, Maine lobster bisque and a “Fish Market Trio” of blackened salmon, broiled salmon and sea scallops. $$-$$$ Winter Park Fish Co. 761 Orange Ave. Winter Park, 407-622-6112 / thewinterparkfishco.com. Fish and seafood dishes are fresh and well

prepared at this humble Winter Park spot, where a counter-service format helps keep prices reasonable. Crab cakes, lobster rolls, mahi-mahi sandwiches and more ambitious dishes such as grouper cheeks in parchment and stuffed grouper are among a typical day’s offerings. $$


Christner’s DelFrisco’s Prime Steak & Lobster 729 Lee Rd., Orlando, 407-645-4443 / christnersprimesteakandlobster.com. Locals have been choosing this prototypically masculine, dark-wood-and-red-leather enclave for business dinners and family celebrations for more than a decade. Family-owned since 1993, Christner’s features USDA Prime, corn-fed Midwestern beef or Australian cold-water lobster tails with a slice of the restaurant’s legendary mandarin orange cake. And there’s a loooong wine list (6,500 bottles). On select nights, Kostya Kimlat hosts magic shows along with a prix-fixe menu in a private dining room. $$$$ Fleming’s 933 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-699-9463 / flemingssteakhouse.com. Fleming’s puts a younger spin on the stately steakhouse concept, featuring sleek décor and 100 wines by the glass along with its prime steaks and chops. The tempura lobster “small plate” with soy-ginger dipping sauce is a worthy pre-entrée splurge. For a taste of the oldfashioned, visit on Sunday, when prime rib is served. $$$$ Nelore Churrascaria 115 E. Lyman Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-1112 / neloresteakhouse.com. This is one of two Nelore Brazilian all-you-can-eat steakhouses — the other one is in Houston — where the servers, or “gauchos,” come to your table as often as you’d like bearing skewers of premier beef, chicken or pork. There’s a worldclass salad bar and Brazilian cheese bread to keep you happy between meat courses. $$$$ Ruth’s Chris 610 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-2444 / ruthschris.com. With three oldschool steakhouses and its corporate headquarters near Winter Park Village, Ruth’s Chris, a native of New Orleans, has become an Orlando special-occasion mainstay. Its service-oriented restaurants specialize in massive corn-fed Midwestern steaks served sizzling and topped with butter. Most side dishes are more than ample for two. $$$$


Café 118 153 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407389-2233 / cafe118.com. Raw foods — none cooked past 118 degrees — are the focus of this health-conscious niche café, which attracts raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians. The spinach and beet ravioli stuffed with cashew ricotta is an impressive imitation of the Italian staple. Thirsty Park Avenue shoppers might stop by for a healthful smoothie. $$





W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012


Growing Up Wildcat Alma mater, Winter Park, Loud our voices raising, Unto thee with praising, We sing a hymn to thee. Honoring thy noble name, Through all time to be, Alma mater, alma mater, Praise to thee! If the old Winter Park High School alma mater still evokes even a twinge of nostalgia, then you are still, and ever shall remain, a Wildcat. As WPHS celebrates its 90th birthday, the Winter Park Historical Association is marking the occasion with a new exhibition, Growing up Wildcat: Winter Park High School through the Years. The grand opening is set for Jan. 25 at the Winter Park Historical Museum, 200 W. New England Ave. (in the old railroad depot where the Winter Park Farmers Market is held). The exhibit will be free and open to the public. The association is still gathering memorabilia, including old yearbooks, photographs and videos, but the idea is to showcase the school decade by decade and to trace changing fashions and fads. “This exhibit will be an interactive experience for all of those who attended Winter Park High School and anyone who has been a teenager anywhere,” says Susan Skolfield, the association’s executive director and a member of the WPHS Class of 1975. “We want everyone who attends the show to feel a visceral connection to their high school days, whether it was in Winter Park or elsewhere.” If you would like to loan an item to display, call the association at 407-647-2330. For more information about the museum’s current exhibit, The Way We Were: Park Avenue in the ‘60s and ‘70s, visit wphistory.org. Among the attenedees at the 1958 Winter Park High School Junior Prom were Lee Gartside and Dorothy Brooks MacMillan, who now goes by Bonnie Cornell. w inte r 2 0 1 2 | WINTER PAR K MAGAZ INE


Events Blvd., and at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, 642 W. New England Ave. On display beginning Sunday, Jan. 20 at the Heritage Center is The Art of Missionary Mary Proctor, who operated a junk store in North Florida and began creating art, much of it spiritually oriented, from found objects. Also, continuing through Dec. 11 is The Sage Project: Hannibal Square Elders Tell Their Stories, which features photographs and oral histories related to Winter Park’s primarily African American west side. Admission is free at both locations. 407-671-1886. crealde.org.

SPOTLIGHT The Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor. But it also stages frequent exhibitions from internationally renowned artists working in all mediums. Currently on display: Life in the Fast Lane: The Art of David Delong, the American realist whose subject matter focuses mainly on the culture of motorcycle racing, through April 14. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. The museum also hosts a concert series. Upcoming presentations include: Mozart Violin Sonata, Bach Concert for Oboe and Violin, with guest performer Jamie Strefeler, Orlando Philharmonic principal oboist, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2 p.m.; Corelli Sonata Opus 5 Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano, with guest performer Mark Fischer, French horn, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m.; and Mendelssohn Violin Sonata, Vivaldi Concerto for Four Violins, with guest performers Tristan Rhodeside, Victoria Senko and Julia Hossain, violins, Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m. Admission is $30 per concert or $80 for all three. 633 Osceola Ave. 407-647-6294. polasek.org.


Art & History Museums-Maitland. The Maitland Art Center at 231 W. Packwood Ave., was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect André Smith (1880-1959). The center, which offers exhibits and classes, is one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Upcoming events at the center include Culture & Cocktails, slated for Friday, Nov. 9, from 6-9 p.m. The event features displays by local artists, music by Performing Arts of Maitland and refreshments from an assortment of food trucks. Literary readings by local poets and writers will be presented in the Chapel Courtyard while sketch artists will demonstrate their skills outside the garden. Culture & Cocktails guests may also tour the center’s Main Gallery and shop in the Museum Store. Admission is $5, which includes one drink ticket. Other components of the Art & History Museums-Maitland complex include the Maitland Historical Museum and Telephone Museum, 221 W. Packwood Ave., which features a new permanent exhibit, Maitland Legacies: Creativity and Innovation; and


WINTER P A R K M A GAZINE | wi n ter 2012

the Waterhouse Residence and Carpentry Shop Museum, 820 Lake Lily Dr., Maitland. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. The museum at Rollins College houses one of the oldest art collections in Florida. Currently on display: The Prints of Gustave Baumann, whose subject matter focuses on Southwestern landscapes and the traditions of New Mexico; and The Mysterious Content of Softness, which explores the transformative power of fiber and its connection to the human body through knitting, embroidery and loom weaving as well as new uses of traditional textiles. Both exhibitions will run through Dec. 30. Admission is $5 for the public and free to museum members, children, college faculty and staff and other college students with a valid ID. 1000 Holt Ave. 407-646-2000. rollins.edu/cfam. Crealde School of Art. Established in 1975, this not-for-profit arts organization features year-round visual arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. The school stages exhibits at two Winter Park locations: the main campus at 600 St. Andrews

36th Annual Maitland Rotary Art Festival. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 5-7. A boutique event with only 150 artists vying for  $26,000 in awards, this show is the state’s only art festival with nighttime hours, hence its moniker, “Art Under the Stars.” Performing Arts Maitland provides continuous live entertainment, including  the Maitland Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night and the Maitland Stage Band on Friday night. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a serene boardwalk, jogging trails and a playground as well as picnic areas. Admission is free. 701 Lake Lily Dr., Maitland. 407263-5218. maitlandrotaryartfestival.com. Morse Museum of American Art. The museum houses the world’s most extensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and the entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Currently on display: Watercolors by Otto Heinigke — A Glass Artist’s Palette, which runs through Feb. 3. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than 12. 445 N. Park Ave. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. 39th Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 13-14. The only juried fine art festival that features Florida artists exclusively offers more than 150 exhibits as well as live entertainment, children’s art activities and more. It’s not quite as big as its sister festival in March, but the scale is comfortable and encourages leisurely browsing. Co-sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, the City of Winter Park and Crealdé School of Art. Admission is free. Central Park, Park Avenue. 407-644-8281. autumnartfestival.com.


Popcorn Flicks in Central Park. You can’t beat this bargain: a free movie — and free popcorn! — under the stars in Central Park, Park Avenue. Features, shown on the second Thursday of each month, include Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, on Oct. 11 (rain date Oct. 25), and Viva Las Vegas, starring Elvis Presley, on Nov. 8 (rain date Nov. 21). An additional, holiday-themed Popcorn Flick, Elf starring Will Ferrell, will be screened on Nov. 30 (rain

date Dec. 3) to coincide with the city’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. Flicks start when it’s dark or at 8 p.m., whichever is earlier. 251 S. Park Ave. 407-629-0054. enzian.org.


Festival Singers of Florida. Saturday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m. Consisting of choral directors, music teachers and music graduate students from throughout Florida, the Festival Singers celebrate the choral arts and perform throughout the Southeast. The group’s annual local concert is scheduled for the Winter Park Presbyterian Church, 400 S. Lakemont Ave. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students. fsof.org. Fete at Feliz. Thursday, Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m. The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park kicks off its 77th season at Casa Feliz with an evening of music, food and wine featuring the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra under the direction of Dr. John V. Sinclair. Attendees may also tour the historic home and bid on auction and raffle items. Admission is $40 per person, $70 per couple. 656 Park Ave. N. 407-646-2182. The society’s 2012-2013 season will present a variety of performances, including a number of renowned guest artists, at either the Tiedtke Concert Hall or the Knowles Memorial Chapel, both on the Rollins College campus. For the entire season’s schedule, visit bachfestivalflorida.org.


Annie Russell Theatre 2012-2013 Season. The historic theater on the campus of Rollins College has announced the productions slated for its 80th season: The Miss Firecracker Contest, Sept. 21-29; The Drowsy Chaperone, Nov. 9-17; Anna in the Tropics, Feb. 8-16; Rollins Dance XXVII, March 15-16; and She Stoops to Conquer, April 19-27. 1000 Holt Ave. To purchase tickets or to become a season subscriber, call the box office at 407-646-2145. rollins. edu/annierussell. Winter Park Playhouse. Central Florida’s only professional musical theater has several shows remaining in its Mainstage series, including Pete ’N’ Keely, Sept 13-Oct. 6; and Steppin’ Out with Irving Berlin, Nov. 8-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 15. 711 Orange Ave. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org.


Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida. The center, dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice through education, features a permanent exhibit of artwork, artifacts, photographs and short films. There is also a research library onsite. Rotating exhibits as well as lectures, films and other programs related to the Holocaust are presented throughout the year. Admission is free. 851 N. Maitland Ave. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu.org.

w inte r 2 0 1 2 | WINTER PAR K MAGAZ INE


Events Winter Park Historical Museum. The museum, an outreach project of the Winter Park Historical Association, preserves, promotes and researches the history of Winter Park and its surrounding area. The current exhibit is The Way We Were; Park Avenue in the ’60s and ’70s, which runs through Jan. 12. The following exhibit, which opens later that month, is Growing Up Wildcat: Winter Park High School Through the Years. Ongoing displays include historical artifacts reflecting Winter Park from its beginnings as an upscale tourist resort in the 1880s through today. Admission is free. 200 W. New England Ave. (the old railroad depot where the Winter Park Farmers Market is held). 407-647-8010. wphistory.org. Winter Park Historical Association Speaker Series and Friends of Casa Feliz Parlor Series. Wednesday, Nov. 14. Dr. Gary Mormino, professor of history at University of South Florida, will present a program entitled What Florida Was Like in the 1800s at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at Casa Feliz, the historic hometurned-community-center originally designed by prominent architect James Gamble Rogers II. Guests are encouraged to bring a brownbag lunch for the morning event; the evening event will feature a wine bar and light hors d’oeuvres. Admission to both lectures is free, although donations for wine are accepted in the evening. 656 N. Park Ave. 407-647-2330.


Business After Hours. Sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings offer members and prospective members a chance to network with one another. Events are held the third Thursday of each month at a member business or organization. Appetizers and beverages are served. Upcoming dates are Oct. 18 and Dec. 13 at locations to be determined. Hours are usually 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for members; $15 for non-members. 407-6448281. winterpark.org. Good Morning, Winter Park. Sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract chamber members, local residents and community leaders who listen to speakers discuss an array of community issues. Events are held the second Friday of each month at the city’s Welcome Center at the Chamber of Commerce. Upcoming dates are Oct. 12, Nov. 9 and Dec. 14, with speakers to be determined. Networking begins at 7:45 a.m. and the program begins at 8:15 a.m. Admission is free, and a complimentary continental breakfast is served. 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.


City Blood Drive. Civic-minded locals will have several convenient opportunities to donate blood at Winter Park City Hall, 401 S. Park Ave. Florida Blood Centers will have a blood-


WINTER P A R K M A GAZINE | wi n ter 2012

mobile parked out front from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, and Monday, Dec. 17. To donate blood, you must be at least 16 years old, weigh 110 pounds and be in good health. All donors must bring a photo ID. 407-5993506. floridabloodcenters.org. CoffeeTalk. Are you compelled to espresso your thoughts? This monthly series offers residents the chance to chat informally over morning coffee with Winter Park’s political leaders at the city’s Welcome Center at the Chamber of Commerce. The series continues on Thursday, Oct. 18, with Commissioner Carolyn Cooper; and Thursday, Nov. 15, with Commissioner Tom McMacken. The free, hourlong sessions begin at 8 a.m., with coffee provided by Palmano’s Café, Coffee & Wine Bar. 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-599-3428. cityofwinterpark.org.


Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week. Sunday, Oct. 14-Saturday, Oct. 20. The big event, named for indefatigable philanthropist and noted fashionista Harriett Lake, celebrates the local fashion and design community with designer meet-and-greets, trunk shows, VIP parties and a fabulous runway show featuring the latest offerings from Park Avenue and Hannibal Square boutiques. The runway show (Oct. 20) is held in the Central Park West Meadow, at the corner of Morse Boulevard and New York Avenue, while individual events are slated throughout the week at participating shops. Ticket prices vary. 407-644-8281. parkavenuefashionweek.com.


Winter Park Farmers Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers market is held every Saturday from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m. at 200 West New England Ave. (the old railroad depot). There you’ll find fine baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items for sale. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. cityofwinterpark.org. Maitland Farmers Market. This year-round, open-air market features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses along with plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music provided by the Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a serene boardwalk, jogging trails and a playground as well as picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Dr., Maitland. itsmymaitland.com.


Champagne Thursdays. Sponsored by the Hannibal Square Association on the second Thursday of each month from 6-10 p.m., the event features displays from award-winning artists, continuous entertainment, live musical performances, food

w inte r 2 0 1 2 | WINTER PAR K MAGAZ INE


Events from local restaurants and, of course, $1 bubbly at select restaurants. New England Avenue in the Hannibal Square commercial district is blocked off and shops are open late. Admission is free. hannibalsquare.com. Halloween Howl. Saturday, Oct. 27, 2-5 p.m. Why wait until Halloween to start celebrating? Rollins College’s Office of Community Engagement offers a family-friendly afternoon of spooky activities — including a haunted house, carnival games and a costume contest — on the school’s Mills Lawn. The event is free, although candy donations are accepted. 407-691-1250. rollins.edu. Concours d’Elegance. Sunday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Now in its 11th year, the annual event draws tens of thousands of car lovers to downtown Winter Park to view 130 or more of the world’s most exotic specialty-marquee vehicles. Eight blocks of Park Avenue will be closed and converted into what will temporarily be the world’s most exclusive parking lot. Nationallyrecognized automobile judges spend the day carefully examining each entrant until a final group of winners are determined. The event also includes dozens of vendors showcasing high-end, auto-related products and services. 407-649-9190. winterparkconcours.com. Winter Park Harvest Festival. Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 17-18. Celebrate local farmers, gardeners and foodie-oriented nonprofits. Saturday’s festivities, at Mead Botanical Garden, feature a Harvest Conference during the day and an evening “farm-to-table dinner” from local top chefs. On Sunday, festivities move to the Central Park West Meadow, at the corner of Morse Boulevard and New York Avenue, for an all-day salute to homegrown cuisine and those who produce it. Ticket prices for the weekend’s activities had not been established at presstime. winterparkharvestfestival.com.


Winter in the Park. Thursday, Nov. 29-Sunday, Jan. 6. There aren’t many opportunities to ice skate in Central Florida. But in Winter Park, each holiday season brings construction of a makeshift ice-skating rink in the Central Park West Meadow, at the corner of Morse Boulevard and New York Avenue. Hours are Mondays-Thursdays, 3 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-8 p.m. You can skate all day for just $10 — and skate rental is included. winterpark.org. Christmas Vespers. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 30 -Dec. 1, both at 6:15 p.m. Celebrating its 80th year as an annual event, the service in the beautiful Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus, features classical songs and traditional Scripture readings performed by the Rollins Choir and Orchestra and members of the Rollins community. 1000 Holt Ave. Admission is $10. 407-646-2115. rollins.edu/chapel.


WINTER P A R K M A GAZINE | wi n ter 2012

Events Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. Friday, Nov. 30, 5 p.m. Bring the family and celebrate the season with the lighting of the city’s official holiday tree and performances by local children’s choirs. It’s all broadcast live on WFTV-Channel 9. Admission is free. Central Park, Park Avenue. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. 60th Annual Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade. Saturday, Dec. 1, 9 a.m. Central Florida’s longest-running Christmas parade returns with more than 100 marching units and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Get up early and enjoy Leadership Winter Park’s Pancake Breakfast (7-10 a.m.). Proceeds benefit local elementary schools. Admission to the parade, which traverses Park Avenue, is free; tickets to the breakfast, held at the Central Park Stage, range from $5-$10. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.


Ballroom Dance Lessons. Because it’s never too late to learn how to trip the light fantastic, Keep Winter Park Beautiful offers reasonably priced, eight-week sessions for beginners and intermediates. The Tuesday evening classes, held at 200 W. New England Ave. (the old railroad depot where the Winter Park Farmers Market is held), are 90 minutes for beginners and 1 hour for intermediates. The cost is $80. Upcoming classes begin on Oct. 23 and Dec. 11, with beginner classes at 7 p.m. and intermediate classes at 8:45 p.m. Please arrive a halfhour early for the first lesson in order to register. 407-599-3364. kwpb.org/programs.html.


Writing Workshop with Patricia Charpentier. Thursday, Nov. 15, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Get a jump start writing your life story through this workshop-style class, sponsored by the Winter Park Public Library’s Lifelong Learning Institute and held every third Thursday through December. Once the sessions are complete, you’ll have the beginnings of 10 or more stories based on your recollections. You can complete them at your leisure and compile them as a keepsake for friends and family members. $25 pre-paid, $35 at the door if there is space available. 460 E. New England Ave. 407-623-3279. wppl.org.


WINTER P A R K M A GAZINE | wi n ter 2012


Winter Park and Rollins College: 125 Years of Memories. Thursday, Oct. 4, 5-7 p.m. The city’s Welcome Center at the Chamber of Commerce will host the opening reception for an exhibit that pays tribute to the city’s 125th anniversary and its close ties with Rollins College, which celebrated its own 125th anniversary last year. Beverages and refreshments will be served. 151 W. Lyman Ave. Admission is free. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. 125th Anniversary Prayer Service. Friday, Oct. 12, 9-10 a.m. This service, hosted by the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, one of the city’s oldest churches and an institutional founder of Rollins College, celebrates the city’s 125th anniversary. 225 S. Interlachen Ave. 407647-2416. fccwp.org 1887 Ergood Hall Town Meeting. Friday, Oct. 12, 2 p.m. A ceremony marking the city’s incorporation will take place at the site of the original town meeting in 1887. The event will include music by performers from Rollins College and the cutting of the city’s official birthday cake. 102 N. Park Ave., at the corner of Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard, outside Penzy’s Spice. 407-599-3428. winterpark.org. The Peacock Ball. Friday, Oct. 12. The sixth annual event, sponsored by the Winter Park Historical Association, takes on added significance this year as it celebrates the 125th anniversary of the city’s incorporation. Enjoy a four-course dinner and dance to the retro big-band stylings of Michael Andrew and Swingerhead. Individual tickets are $175. Central Park West Meadow, at the corner of Morse Boulevard and New York Avenue. 407-647-2330. wphistory.org. Winter Park Historical Association Annual Holiday Party. Thursday, Dec. 13, 5-8 p.m. This annual event will also be themed to the 125th anniversary of the city’s incorporation. Admission is free for members and $10 for nonmembers; you may purchase a discounted annual membership at the door. Winter Park Country Club, 761 Old England Ave. 407-6472330. wphistory.org.

Parting Shot

This 1947 painting by Jeanette Genius McKean was of North Center Street, an alley that runs parallel to Park Avenue. This would have been Mrs. McKean’s view from the entrance to the Center Street Gallery, which she owned and operated from 1945 to 1994.

If a couple can be said to exemplify what is best about Winter Park, it would have to be Hugh F. McKean (1908-1995) and Jeannette Genius McKean (1909-1989). Hugh, artist, educator, collector and writer, was the 10th president of Rollins College, serving from 1951 through 1969. He then became the college’s chancellor and chairman of its Board of Trustees. In 1945, while still an art professor at the college, he married Jeannette Morse Genius, granddaughter of Charles Hosmer Morse, the Chicago industrialist and philanthropist who helped to shape modern Winter Park. In 1942, Jeannette built and donated the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins campus. Hugh became the gallery’s director in 1945, a position he held until his death, just months prior to the opening of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, the facility’s spectacular new home on Park Avenue North. The museum displays the world’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s works, many of which the McKeans salvaged from the artist’s ruined Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall. Hugh also served as trustee of the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota and of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in New York. Jeanette, an acclaimed artist in her own right, was also a successful businesswoman, working as an interior designer, owning and operating the Center Street Gallery on Park Avenue and managing her grandfather’s properties as president of the Winter Park Land Company. Both McKeans were lovers of nature and cultivated a preserve filled with peacocks around Wind Song, the lakefront estate that Jeanette and her brother, Richard Genius, inherited from Morse. Genius Drive, the dirt road leading through the preserve and to the estate, was open to the public until the 1990s. The property is now known as the Genius Reserve and is part of a restoration project by the Department of Environmental Studies at Rollins. It includes the largest remaining orange grove within Winter Park and several structures, including the family home. Jeanette was named Winter Park’s Citizen of the Year in 1987 while Hugh was posthumously named the Orlando Sentinel’s Floridian of the Year in 1996.

randy noles


W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2012


Heart and Soul

Profile for Orlando Life

WInter Park Magazine Winter 2012  

Winter Park Magazine

WInter Park Magazine Winter 2012  

Winter Park Magazine