PhotoBike Tour 6: Winter Park in Black and White

Today was SO hot that I knew I should have started biking way earlier than I did. But I left the house at 11:45 and it was like walking into a wall of soup– and not gazpacho. More like boiling pea soup. So you go slow– two-wheeled ambling rather than racing, which is impossible to do in this town anyway what with the traffic and the thousands of parked landscaping and delivery trucks crowding the streets during the day. “How nice and quiet it must be when you bike ride,” people say to me. Wrong. I am serenaded by an orchestra composed of lawnmowers and those damned exhaust-belching, shrieking leaf blowers.

Today wasn’t so bad. I went west into Winter Park, mostly along the Aloma-Osceloa-Brewer-Fairbanks route, and then the little streets over in Hannibal Square. Here are some shots which I decided to post in black and white, just to see what some of my the sites look like when the hot sun bleaches all the color out of them. And then, some things still with us from the past are made to be seen in black and white…

This very old house is on Aloma Avenue, built in 1901. I hope I don’t jinx it by showing it because it seems like the sort of house that the town likes to tear down to replace with a little cement palazzo. (There are no historic districts in Winter Park.)


 I’ve always loved this house on the Aloma-Brewer curve. Built in 1926, it’s being gutted by the current owners; only a few exterior walls are standing.


 Here’s another ancient beauty. It’s at the south end of Bonita Drive. Originally called Eastbank, it was built in 1883– one of the oldest homes in town.

The central areas of Winter Park are laced with canals connecting the big lakes. The boat tour takes you along some of them.

A tiny gem from 1935 on Osceola Court.

All Saints Episcopal (1925).

A church in Hannibal Square, the traditionallyAfrican-American west side of Winter Park.

A house in Hannibal Square, from 1902.

Looking out across Lake Virginia from Dinky Dock at the south end of Ollie Avenue.

On Osceola Avenue, just near the end of the bike ramp that plunges off Brewer hill. From 1935.

Much more respectable these days, this beauty from 1899 was owned by a tax evader / drug smuggler sometime in the 1970s. To get this photo, one has to bike down a short stretch now marked “Private Drive.” One of these days I am going to be set upon by the hounds!

A view toward the chapel at Rollins College, from Lake Virginia.

When I returned home and started looking up the facts on some of these houses, I found a lot of brochures I’d been saving. A little booklet that the Junior League produced in 1980 features a lot of historical buildings that are no longer around. While I realize that the bulldozers of progress roll inexorably on, I also lament the permanent, irretrievable loss of those beautiful structures.


20 responses

  1. I love the black and whites! Perfect for these treasures.

    The gutted house is (was?) one of my favorites, too. Makes me sad to see it now. Much of what is being built new is so out of proportion — houses on steroids. Ack.

  2. i love that in your recent posts you’ve so lovingly captured the two places I grew up – Brooklyn, then Winter Park and so elegantly. You should do the Vias! xox

  3. Lovely all around. Larry Tackett is the one who first got me to love “driving for the sake of driving”, often going around many of these places in Winter Park just to see the sights and enjoy the weather. (Not so much around this time of year!)

  4. That house where the drug smuggler-tax evaderlived? That is how I pictured the home that the old lady lived in in Stephen King’s “Duma Keys”. Enjoyed the black and whites, Jimmyboi2!

  5. Love these B&W photos. Have never been to Winter Park. Will have to plan a trip in fall or winter to avoid the heat.
    So I am assuming you got back from Brooklyn safely?

    • Thanks! And yes, the ride back was safe and uneventful; I’d posted photos in my “Preview” post of DC, Baltimore, and Fredericksburg… but haven’t gotten around to writing a “back hom” post– seems anti-climactic, but I may try yet!
      Thanks again !!

  6. Jim ~~ I love your posts . . having worked for the City of Winter Park my last three years in Central Florida, this one was particularly delightful. I’m living in the Keys now, so if you’re ever passing through, give a shout.

  7. Tis funny how as kids growing up here in Orlando, the mansions of the past are just small houses today. Todays “McMansions” have guest quarters bigger than the mansions of the middle part of the 1900s. Even magnificant villas of the early part of the last century such as Ca d’Zan in Sarasota would not be acceptable for todays standards as a mansion. “Theres no prep island in the middle of the kitchen!”

  8. Just discovered your blog when looking up photos of Winter Park, where I grew up. The first old house at the top of this post is the house of my grandmother’s best friend Francis Waddell, who later became Francis Davis. They were both born here in WP, and the camphor tree behind the house (planted right next to the back door) was planted by Francis’s father in honor of her birth. She lived there until her death, just a few years ago, and the house then went to her niece, the Winklers who live in Indiana. The Winklers come down every so often, and to their credit, they have not been tempted to sell the house to investors. They did sell the lots on either side of the house and you can see gargantuan stuccos on either side now. Thanks so much for your beautiful photography!

  9. Just enjoyed your pictures of WP.It is like a second home to me. We spent our honeymoon there (51 years ago). Hope our daughters can hang on to the hourse. POW

  10. Pingback: PhotoBike Tour 13: Leu Gardens and Winter Park « What Can I Say ?

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