“Wish You Were Here: Hotels & Motels of Winter Park”
Mark your calendar – Thursday, June 7, 5:00 to 8:00 pm – The Winter Park History Museum will open its new exhibit, “Wish You Were Here: The Hotels and Motels of Winter Park.” This is a family friendly event that will feature food, friends and the music of Frank Sinatra.
Hotels and Rollins Built Winter Park
The vision Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman had for Winter Park consisted of two key elements. One was Rollins, established 1885, and the other was luxury hotels that would appeal to the wealthy ‘carriage trade’ from the northeast. To that end, they set aside three elevated five-acre lakefront lots for the large luxury hotels that became the Virginia Inn, the Seminole Hotel and the Alabama.
Every Hotel Lobby Had a Land Sales Office
The purpose of the hotels was to appeal to the type of guest who was wealthy enough to invest in the town and intellectually liberal enough to create a community that would be attractive to the academics who would create Rollins.
The lobby of every luxury hotel featured a land sales office offering land for homesteads, commercial development and citrus production. Tours of citrus groves were a central feature of the sales presentations.
Hotels at Center of Community Life
As time passed, Winter Park became more established and the large hotels became centers of local community activity. Residents could buy memberships to use the hotels’ recreational facilities. The hotels provided a place for larger business and social events. It is fitting that Rollins has come full circle with the Alfond Inn, which serves as a watering hole for locals and as the repository for the Alfond family’s extensive collection of contemporary art – in addition to accommodating visitors from around the world.
Motels and Boarding Houses
The show will include a study of smaller boarding houses and hotels that accommodated the working class tourists and staff who traveled with the wealthy luxury hotel patrons. There will also be a section devoted to the classic Florida motels that grew up around Lake Kilarney and 17-92, which became popular tourist destinations in the 1940s.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.wphistory.org
Guest Columnists Dr. Leslie Poole and Charley Williams
Think globally, act locally. So, Winter Park, for the moment, Think Locally.
A Garbage Patch the Size of Texas
You may have been reading about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch–an area the size of Texas (or France, your choice). It’s located between California and Hawaii and contains an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. This is the planet’s largest mass of plastic. The crisis is reflected in the photos you see of dying marine life – birds, sea turtles, whales and sharks, trapped in this plastic grip of death. They ingest tiny pieces of plastic that interfere with their digestive systems. Humans are not exempt. Scientists are finding plastic microfibers in the very water we drink.
Plastic Straws – One Culprit
Surprisingly those thin plastic straws in bars and restaurants – through which we sip without giving it a second thought — play a culpable role. And it’s something we can control.
According to the U.S. National Park Service, Americans use 500 million straws a day. Most never make it to the recycling bin.
WP Is Making Progress
Don’t get us wrong — Winter Park is making progress in fighting the plastic plague. Barnies is eliminating styrofoam carryout containers in favor of cardboard. Starbucks has devised a sippy-cup container with a wider mouth for its cold drinks, which negates the need for a straw. Many Winter Park establishments have a policy that if you bring your own reusable container – like a coffee cup — they will give you a discount. That’s progress. Be sure and thank them.
But at countless other establishments, plastic straws come with the territory. It’s a habit.
Just Say No
What to do? Change that habit! We have the power. It’s simple. Just say “No”.
Instruct the bartender or server not to bring you a straw and suggest the establishment abandon the use of plastic straws altogether. You have to do it up front when you sit down or are placing your order. Once that straw goes into the glass or is brought to the table, even if it is wrapped, it goes straight from the table into the trash. Nothing gained.
Leave It to Beaver?
The global good news: This year, scientists are prepared to launch the world’s first machine to clean up this mess. It was designed by a teenager no less. More at www.theoceancleanup.com
All Boats Rise on this Tide
Kudos to those Winter Park businesses which are leading the way. If you have new information or an experience, please share with the Voice. We’d all like to know. Awareness is the brightest path to long-term solutions.
Lead by example, learn by observing. All boats rise on this tide.
Lurline Fletcher - October 4, 1943 – March 24, 2018
Winter Park Has Lost a Treasure
Winter Park lost one of its own when Lurline Daniels Fletcher passed away the night of Saturday, March 24, 2018. Ms. Fletcher, who died of natural causes, was surrounded by her family. She was 74.
Born October 4, 1943, to Hurley Daniels and Hattie Magee Daniels in Foxworth, Mississippi, Lurline moved with her family to Winter Park at the age of five. She was married to Robert Lloyd Fletcher, who died in 1978. She is survived by two sisters, Arzolia MacDonald and Hurley Mae Donaldson and a brother-in-law, James Donaldson. A step brother, Arthur Hall, predeceased her.
Lurline is also survived by three children, Kem Fletcher Jones, Nanette Walthour and Vanallen Berry. She also had nine grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Lurline worked for many years at the Welbourne Avenue Nursery and Kindergarten as a teacher’s aide. She then attended nursing school, which she completed in the late 1970s, and subsequently went to work the Central Florida Kidney Center as a transporter.
Lurline was an active member of Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church for more than 50 years. She loved to travel and particularly enjoyed cruises. She traveled to Hawaii and the Caribbean, among many other places. Lurline’s daughter Nanette said, “After her children were grown, her life consisted of helping others and traveling.”
Her children describe her as a wicked, exacting card player. “She loved to play cards,” said daughter Kem. “She always knew every card that had been played, and she never let us get away with anything.”
Most Winter Parkers will remember Lurline as a strong voice at City Hall, speaking out for the preservation of the character of Winter Park’s West Side. “Commission meetings will never be the same,” said Sally Flynn. “There never will be another Lurline Fletcher.”
Charley Williams observed that when Lurline was asked to quiet down, she just spoke louder. “I hope Winter Parkers will honor Lurline’s memory by always showing up, like she did,” said Williams, “wearing shades and their very best hat.”
Services will be held Monday, April 2, at 11:00 a.m. at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church at the corner of Pennsylvania and Lyman. The service will be conducted by Pastor Weaver Blondin. There will be a viewing at the church from 9:00 until 10:30 a.m. Lurline will be laid to rest at Washington Park Cemetery on Brewton Blvd. in Orlando. Tillman Funeral Home, 620 E. York St., Monticello FL 32344, is handling arrangements.
When asked for a word that described Lurline’s life, her children responded.
Vanallen: “Loving and caring”
Lurline’s legacy of civic engagement is as much a hallmark of Winter Park as are the live oaks that shelter the city she loved.
Have Our Elected Reps in Tallahassee Gone Off the Rails?
There is a group of bills making its way through the Florida legislature that would take away Home Rule from local governments and concentrate it at the state level. Leaders in Florida’s 410 municipalities and 67 counties are united in their opposition to the state legislature’s “one size fits all” approach to regulation of such things as short-term vacation rentals, Community Redevelopment Agencies and. . . trees? That’s right: trees.
Maitland Mayor Dale McDonald and Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole attended the February 12 Commission meeting to show their solidarity with Winter Park and to urge all residents to demand that our representatives in Tallahassee oppose legislation that will preempt home rule.
Maitland Mayor Deplores ‘Arrogance’ of Elected State Reps
Speaking before the Commission, Mayor McDonald expressed his disillusionment with the “condescending arrogance” of our elected State representatives, “people we’ve known well – elected officials and legislators . . . who can pretend to be acting in your best interests, but who are not . . . .”
“The fear of leadership, the adversarial tones of the last couple of sessions, have been palpable,” said McDonald. “They will all remark on that. Our representatives in Tallahassee will tell you, ’Sorry, we can’t do anything, it’s the leadership. To get something, we’ve got to go along.’”
Whose Money Buys the Message?
McDonald noted, “It’s a whole lot easier to persuade one-hundred-odd legislators than it is 400 cities and 67 counties. But that’s their job. It’s not their job to make it easier for them to get paid – by the PACs and campaign contributions and so forth.” (The reader is encouraged to view Mayor McDonald’s complete remarks.)
A letter to Winter Park citizens from City Manager Randy Knight describes three bills that are particularly problematic.
HB 773 prohibits cities from establishing ordinances specific to short-term vacation rentals. Online vacation rental sites like VRBO and Airbnb have generated brisk business in short-term, hotel-like rentals in residential neighborhoods. Problems include inadequate parking, noise and the presence of strangers in neighborhoods. Passage of HB 773 would prevent the City from locally regulating these businesses.
Community Redevelopment Agencies – CRAs
HB 17 and SB 432 would allow a CRA to be phased out if it is not reauthorized by a super majority vote of the body that created it. Winter Park’s CRA was created in the mid-90s and has been the catalyst for the renovation of the Hannibal Square commercial area, the Park Avenue street scape, construction of the Winter Park Community Center, numerous affordable housing and housing rehab projects and after-school programs.
With a school system that has dropped to 28th position nationally, according to Education Week, aging infrastructure and a fragile, over-taxed supply of fresh water, one would think our elected representatives in Tallahassee could find a better way to spend their time than developing tree-trimming regulations for cities like Winter Park and Eatonville.
Call to Action — It’s Not Too Late
Right Now — Email or phone your senators and representatives and tell them to oppose these bills and any others that prevent local government from maintaining the high standards that sustain the charm and character of Winter Park. Note — phone calls work as well as emails. They are recorded and they carry a lot of weight.
The vote is Thursday, Feb. 22, so there’s not a lot of time. It only takes a minute to Act Now. It’s time for Tallahassee to get back on track.
The weekend of Friday, February 16, through Monday, February 19, will mark the inauguration of Winter Park’s city-wide Weekend of the Arts Celebration.
Grab your Valentine and bring the kids – there will be something for everyone. The four-day weekend arts extravaganza will feature three dozen events at museums, galleries, theaters, public venues and outdoor spaces.
More than just a “Thing” in Central Park.
Events are taking place all over the city. There will be live musical and theatrical performances and one-of-a-kind art exhibits. Mead Botanical Garden and the Winter Park History Museum are sponsoring events especially for children. Central Park has plenty going on, too, but this celebration showcases the City’s organizations in their own venues.
Micronesian Art at the Polasek
The Polasek Museum has an extraordinary show of Micronesian Art collected by local anthropologist Barbara Wavell. Entitled Island Objects: Art and Adaptation in Micronesia, the show features Wavell’s private collection from the Pacific Islands of Micronesia. The objects, which date from the 1800s to the present, illustrate ways in which traditional culture has adapted to external societal forces through periods of Spanish, German, Japanese, and American influence. The exhibit includes a broad range of objects such as carved wooden figures and storyboards, intricately patterned fans, navigation charts, and woven clothing and adornments. http://polasek.org/exhibitions/current/
Bierstadt at the Morse
The Morse Museum will unveil The Domes of Yosemite, the largest existing painting by Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902), which is on loan from the St. Johnsbury Athanaeum in Vermont. The 1867 painting, measuring 10 by 15 feet, has not been shown outside the Athanaeum since its installation there in 1873. Charles Hosmer Morse was a St. Johnsbury native and a student at the St. Johnsbury Academy. “[His] connection to St. Johnsbury is the reason the Athanaeum offered the painting for temporary display at the Morse Museum,” said Athanaeum Director Bob Joly. “We are delighted to share this national treasure with the Central Florida community, where Morse’s legacy has meant so much.”
Museums Open to the Public
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, the Crealde School of Art and the Hannibal Square Heritage Center will all be open to the public. There are live theatrical performances at Rollins College’s Annie Russell Theatre and the Winter Park Playhouse. Tickets and reservations are required for the theatrical events.
Music All Over Town
If music is your thing, there are three Bach Festival concerts, live music at Casa Feliz and a Winter Park Institute 10th Anniversary celebration concert in Central Park. The Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts will feature jazz on closing night, February 19 (tickets required).
The nine square miles that are Winter Park are home to 21 arts organizations, 18 of which are taking part in this inaugural celebration. According to a 2015 study by Arts & Economic Prosperity, while Winter Park represents just 2 percent of the population of Orange County, 27 percent of all cultural spending in the county happens here. More than 1 million people annually attend arts events in Winter Park. Arts and culture in Winter Park created 1,649 full-time jobs and generated $46 million annually in economic activity.
That’s a lot to brag about, so be sure you take full advantage of this weekend-long opportunity to enjoy our WP Bragging Rights.