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Winter Park is a city in Orange Countymarker, Floridamarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 24,090 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 estimates, the city had a population of 28,083. It is part of the OrlandomarkerKissimmeemarker Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is home to Rollins Collegemarker, Full Sail Universitymarker and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Artmarker, which houses the largest collection of Tiffany glass on Earth. Winter Park enjoys more parkspace per capita than any other city in Florida.

Winter Park was founded as a resort destination by wealthy New Englandmarker industrialists before the turn of the 20th century. It is recognized as the first centrally planned community in Florida; its main street includes not only public civic buildings and retail, but also art galleries, a private liberal arts college, museums, a park, a train station, a golf course country club, a historic cemetery, and a beach and boat launch. Winter Park is celebrated for a sense of place and history, uncommon to many parts of Central Floridamarker. Many structures are more than 100 years old. The scenic Olde Winter Park area is punctuated by small, winding brick streets, and a canopy of old Southern Live Oak and Camphor trees, draped with Spanish Moss. The city draws thousands of visitors to annual festivals including the Bach Festival, the nationally ranked Sidewalk Art Festival, and the Winter Park Concours d'Elegance.


Lake Osceola in c.
The site was first inhabited by European in 1858, when David Mizell Jr. bought an homestead between Lakes Virginia, Mizell and Berry. A settlement, called Lake View by the inhabitants, grew up around Mizell's plot. It got a post office and a new name—Osceola—in 1870.

The area did not develop rapidly until 1880, when a South Florida Railroad track connecting Orlandomarker and Sanfordmarker was laid a few miles west of Osceola. Shortly afterwards, Loring Chase came to Orange County from Chicagomarker to recuperate from a lung disease. In his travels, he discovered the pretty group of lakes just east of the railbed. He enlisted a wealthy New Englandermarker, Oliver E. Chapman, and they assembled a very large tract of land, upon which they planned the town of Winter Park. Over the next four years they plotted the town, opened streets, built a town hall and a store, planted orange trees, and required all buildings to meet stylistic and architectural standards. They promoted it heavily. During this time, the railroad constructed a depot (1882), connected to Osceola by a dirt road.

In 1885, a group of businessmen started the Winter Park Company and incorporated it with the Florida Legislature, Chase and Chapman sold the town to the new company. In a land bubble characteristic of Florida history, land prices soared from less than $2 per acre to over $200, with at least one sale recorded at $300 per acre.
The Hotel Alabama in c.

In 1885, the Congregational Assembly of Florida started Rollins Collegemarker, the state's first four-year college. The following year saw the opening of The Seminole Hotel on Lake Osceola, a grand resort complete with the luxuries of the day: gas lights, steam heating, a string orchestra, a formal dining room, a bowling alley, and long covered porches.

Presidential Visits

The first president to visit was Chester A. Arthur he reported to the papers that Winter Park was "the prettiest place I have seen in Florida" President Grover Cleveland visited the area and was given a huge reception at the Seminole Hotel on February 23 of 1888. He enjoyed the Bounding Horse Cart ride and stated that it was the most pleasant diversion of his Florida Trip. The New York Times reported on his visit and stated that, " The Philadelphian and Bostonian founders had done a good job with the town". The following four years both hotel and the town became a fashionable winter resort for Northern visitors. The next President to visit the area was Franklin D. Roosevelt in March 1936. He was conferred an honorary degree in literature at Rollins Collegemarker.

The Winter Park Sinkhole

In May 1981, during a period of record-low water levels in Florida's limestone aquifer, a massive sinkhole opened up near the corner of Denning Drive and Fairbanks Avenue. In a single day the hole widened to and to a depth of , destroying an import car dealership, a public pool, and large portions of Denning Drive. In addition, the sinkhole "ate" an entire two-story home. The deepest part of the limestone cavern must have been directly under the house as not even the peak of its roof could be seen after the sinkhole stabilized. Fortunately, no one was in the house at the time the cavern roof collapsed. City engineers managed to stabilize the sinkhole, which drew national attention and became a popular tourist attraction during the summer of 1981. A carnival-like atmosphere arose around the area, with vendors selling food, balloons, and t-shirts to visitors. Eventually the novelty wore off as the city repaired the damage and turned the sinkhole into man-made Lake Rose, seen in this aerial view.

The Langford Resort Hotel

The Langford Hotel served as a gateway to 'Old Florida' attractions in Central Florida and a community social hub for decades.

Famous guests included Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Larry King, Hugh Hefner, John Denver, Langford winter resident Lady Bird Johnson, and President Ronald Reagan and his wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan who celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary there.

The Langford was celebrated in a party late 1999, closed, and was demolished. A portion of the former Langford Property (as of mid 2009) has been developed into luxury mid-rise condominiums. The remaining parcel is now vacant and is the future site of a hotel to be owned and operated by Rollins College.

The Temple Grove

An orange grove, known as The Temple Grove, stood on the south side of Palmer Avenue just east of Temple Drive. The temple orange was grown on the old Wyeth grove on Palmer Avenue (later Temple Grove) owned at the time by Louis A. Hakes, whose son was the first to notify Temple of the different quality of the new orange. The orange was introduced and cataloged by Buckeye Nursery in 1917, the year W. C. Temple died. Myron E. Gillett and his son D. Collins Gillett later went on to plant the largest orange grove in the world in the 1920s ( ) in Temple Terracemarker, Florida.

The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival

The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most prestigious juried outdoor art festivals, consistently rated among the top shows by Sunshine Artist and American Style magazines. Each year more than 350,000 visitors enjoy the show. This year about 1,200 artists from around the world applied for entry and an independent panel of judges selected 225 national and international artists to attend the show.The National Endowment for the Arts, The White House, Congress and many others have lauded the Festival for promoting art and art education in Central Florida. An all volunteer board of directors runs the annual Festival, now celebrating its 50th year.


The city is northeast of and adjacent to Orlandomarker. Elevation ranges between 66 and above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.4 km² (8.6 mi²). 19.0 km² (7.3 mi²) of it is land and 3.4 km² (1.3 mi²) of it (15.14%) is water. It is nestled among the Winter Park Chain of Lakes, a series of aquifer fed lakes interconnected by a series of navigable canals, which were originally created for flood control and to run log to a sawmill on present day Lake Virginia. The lakes are popular for boating, watersports, fishing and swimming.

The city is traversed by the old Orlando-Oviedo ("Dinky Line") railroad bed, which until the 1960s had a stop at Lake Virginia/Rollins College at the city park now known as Dinky Dock. Much of this right of way has been converted to a rail-to-trail pedestrian/biking path - in the form of the Cady Way Trail, which leads from Cady Way Park toward the Baldwin Park neighborhood and downtown Orlando, and in the opposite direction to Oviedo and beyond (via the Florida trail), thanks to a new pedestrian bridge spanning Semoran Boulevard (SR 436) in Orange County.

Currently, CSX operates a rail line through Winter Park on the former Atlantic Coast Line, with an Amtrak Station in downtown's historic Central Park.

Due to its close proximity of Orlando, Winter Park is a city which many commuters traverse to access downtown Orlando. These commuters come from outlying suburban areas such as, Oviedomarker, Winter Springsmarker, Maitlandmarker, Altamonte Springsmarker and Casselberrymarker. Winter Park's municipal government has combated speeding and aggressive driving in its downtown core and residential areas by lowering speed limits to 20 MPH in some areas, adding textured traffic-calming brick roads, and aggressively enforcing the law within the city limits. These measures have contributed to some traffic congestion, but preserve the quality of life for residents and encourage pass-thru commuters to seek alternate, more appropriate high-speed routes to downtown (such as SR436/Semoran Blvd, Lake Howell Road, US17-92/Orlando Ave, Interstate 4, and the 408/East West Expressway and 417/Greeneway toll roads).


As of the census of 2000, there were 24,090 people, 10,722 households, and 5,864 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,267.2/km² (3,281.6/mi²). There were 11,431 housing units at an average density of 601.3/km² (1,557.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.90% White, 10.52% African American, 0.16% Native American, 1.32% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.94% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.31% of the population.

There were 10,722 households out of which 21.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.3% were non-families. 38.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.80.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.5% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 22.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,884, and the median income for a family was $73,697. Males had a median income of $50,975 versus $32,066 for females. The per capita income for the city was $38,791. About 5.0% of families and 7.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.0% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.

Due to its heavy emphasis on the arts and its scenic charm, Winter Park has traditionally attracted an eclectic mix of residents - wealthy Northerners, patrons of the arts, Old Florida families, artists, students, vacationers and idealists.

Notable natives and residents

Educational institutions

Sites of interest

Woman's Club of Winter Park


See also


  1. Facts taken from a copy of the original Seminole Hotel promotional brochure.
  2. [1]
  3. Facts taken from original Langford Hotel property promotional material.
  4. Langford Hotel History
  5. Aloma Elementary School
  6. Brookshire Elementary School
  7. Crealde School of Art
  8. Geneva School
  9. Lakemont Elementary School
  10. Winter Park Tech
  11. Fleet Peeples Park
  12. Mead Garden
  13. Winter Park Historical Association & Museum
  14. Winter Park Public Library
  15. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival

External links

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