Celebrates 125th anniversary
In celebration of the city’s 125th anniversary, for the rest of October, the Winter Park Welcome Center is welcoming residents and visitors to explore present and past versions of the city.
On Thursday, Oct. 5, the city, chamber and historical society kicked off celebrations of Winter Park’s big 1-2-5 with an opening reception and photo gallery unveiling, which gives residents the ability to take a trek through time with pictures documenting Winter Park’s evolution from 1887 to the present.
“This is awesome isn’t it?” Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley said, as he took a closer look at a photo of the Winter Park Summer Golf Club in 1916 – the women in full-length dresses and men in button downs and bowties. “What a neat walk down memory lane. Can you believe they dressed like this?”
The photos document Winter Park’s history from its founding on 600 acres of nothing to the gradual development and redevelopment of Park Avenue’s cobblestone street, all the way to Mayor Bradley himself making an appearance in a photo from the City Hall grand re-opening ceremony following renovations in August.
Remarks of remembrance and astonishment of times past filled the small conference room-turned-gallery.
“Oh, that’s that place?” “I know where that is!” “Wait, that’s Park Avenue?”
One woman, Rose Charlton Bynum, finds a familiar face among the primarily black-and-white documented photo display. Dated 1948, three girls sit in long dresses, bouquets in hand during Hungerford High School’s homecoming parade. In the middle is a young Bynum, the year’s homecoming queen.
Surprised and delighted by her appearance in the historical display, the photo brings back a flood of memories of the time she spent growing up in Winter Park, as well as ones passed down from parents, also born in the city.
“We lived on Canton (Avenue) when it was just a dirt road. We used to play ball right on the street,” she said. Her father built their home, and, she said, also helped build the original elementary school that stood on Park Avenue.
The city of Winter Park will celebrate the city’s 125th anniversary on Friday, Oct. 12. The festivities begin at 7:45 a.m. with a breakfast and prayer service at First Congregational Church of Winter Park; 225 S. Interlachen Ave. The breakfast, for which tickets must be purchased, begins at 7:45 a.m., with the free prayer service beginning at 9 a.m.
At 2 p.m., the city will reenact the meeting of incorporation for the town of Winter Park at what once was Ergood Hall, and is now Penzeys Spices; 102 N. Park Ave.
For more information on all city sponsored anniversary events, visit cityofwinterpark.org
This photo exhibition, as well the rest of the 125th anniversary events scheduled this week, are all about city partners coming together to celebrate the past and connect it with the present, said Clarissa Howard, communications director for the city of Winter Park.
On Friday, Oct. 12, the city is hosting a reenactment of the vote and following meeting in 1887 that led to the incorporation of the city, including family members of those actually in attendance 125 years ago. The great-great-grandson of Gus Henderson, who led Hannibal Square residents in parade fashion to Ergood Hall – now Penzeys Spices on Park Avenue – to vote in favor of incorporation, will reenact the walk, drummers, banners and all, leading into a reenactment of the first city meeting at Penzeys at 2 p.m.
“It’s a neat kind of reenactment of what happened 125 years ago with the same family members … it’s going to be very commemorative,” Howard said.
The reenactment will lead into the Winter Park Historical Society’s annual Peacock Ball, this year held in Central Park’s West Meadow under the tent set up for the following week’s Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week Runway Show beginning at 6 p.m. Then, beginning Saturday, the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival will kick off continuing through the weekend.
“All the big city partners have really teamed up for this anniversary,” Chamber President Patrick Chapin said. “It’s going to be a really great weekend.”