The city of Winter Garden, in collaboration with the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, has received a grant of $20,000 from the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Resources to conduct a resurvey of structures located within downtown Winter Garden’s commercial and residential historic districts. A selection of sites located outside the designated districts also will be included.
PaleoWest, the nationwide archeological consulting firm, is undertaking this project, which will be completed by May. PaleoWest has extensive experience with structure documentation, including completing numerous cultural resource undertakings in compliance with both federal and state regulations.
“The strong focus on preserving the city’s rich heritage is one of the main reasons why Winter Garden is the vibrant, dynamic community that exists to this day,” said Kelly Carson, urban designer for the city of Winter Garden. “This historic survey is one of the ways the City is taking a proactive approach to preservation, ensuring important historic structures are maintained and newer development is harmonious with the unique architectural traditions that have been established over time.”
The city and the WGHF are working with the firm to chronicle and photograph the process. When completed, the survey will be presented in a public meeting to the city’s Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board.
A photo exhibit will be created and displayed in the lobby of Winter Garden City Hall that will showcase the process and the contributing structures, along with historic images picturing the region’s pioneer beginnings. While the exhibit is displayed, the city and the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation plan to host programs featuring industry experts presenting topics related to architectural history and historic preservation.
Growth and development plans for the area necessitate the need for this resurvey to update the information documented in a similar project completed in 1994. That initial survey of historic resources led to the creation of the Winter Garden Downtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Incorporated in 1908, Winter Garden spans 12.1 miles and is home to nearly 48,000 residents and more than 2,000 businesses. Its appeal and desirability have been recognized nationally, including a 2019 ranking by Money Magazine as one of the best places to live in America.