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Issues and Voices that Matter May 12, 2011

Park Avenue History Alive!

The history of Park Avenue comes alive as Winter Park, FL community leaders portray some of the earliest citizens during the 2011 James Gamble Rodgers Colloquium on Historic Preservation.  As we stroll down Park Ave Avenue we hear Kenneth Murrah, Thad Seymour, Jack Rogers, Alice Bass and Steve Schoene reenact local characters from the 1880’s to 1930’s.


Produced & edited by Desta Horner

Feature #1

Kenneth Murrah as John Ergood first store owner on Park Avenue in the 1880’s
Kenneth Murrah
as John Ergood first store owner on Park Avenue in the 1880’s. (length 10:40)
Play

Feature #2

At left, Thaddeus Seymour as Edward Hooker first president of Rollins College (photo - CMF Public Media)
Thaddeus Seymour
as Edward Hooker first president of Rollins College. (length 10:18)
Play

Feature #3

Jack Rogers as James Gamble Rogers II creative architect of Winter Park in the 1920’s and 30’s
Jack Rogers
as James Gamble Rogers II creative architect of Winter Park in the 1920’s and 30’s. (length 11:29)
Play

Feature #4

At left, Alice Bass as a chambermaid in 1922 at the former Hamilton Hotel located at the site of Park Plaza Gardens (photo - CMF Public Media)
Alice Bass
as a chambermaid in 1922 at the former Hamilton Hotel located at the site of Park Plaza Gardens. (length 8:52)
Play

Feature #5

Steve Schoene as George Kraft banker during the Great Depression and creator of Kraft Azalea Gardens (photo - CMF Public Media)
Steve Schoene
as George Kraft banker during the Great Depression and creator of Kraft Azalea Gardens. (length 9:30)
Play

Pictures

Click on the picture(s) to enlarge.
Renactors for “A stroll down Memory Avenue" Left to right, Thad Seymour, Betsy Owens and Alice Bass at Casa Feliz Left, Steve Schoene presenting the story of George Kraft (photo - CMF Public Media) Site of Rollins College first classes (photo - CMF Public Media)
Site of John Ergood’s store Site of James Gamble Rogers’ office (photo - CMF Public Media) Site of the Hamilton Hotel (photo - CMF Public Media)

The Fifth Annual James Gamble Rogers Colloquium on Historic Preservation” was sponsored by Casa Feliz Historic Home and Museum in Winter Park. The Colloquium focused on the importance of preserving the historic value of Winter Park’s downtown business district. The event took place on Wednesday, April 27, 2011.

The program began at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market with a presentation by Rodney L. Swink sponsored by the Friends of Casa Feliz. Swink is an expert on downtown development and community revitalization. His keynote speech was titled “Downtown Preservation: Key to Community Sustainability.”

After a break for dinner, the participants gathered at various points along Park Ave. and were treated to performances by six community leaders, including Rollins President Emeritus Thaddeus Seymour, attorney Kenneth Murrah, architect Jack Rogers, architect Steve Schoene, actress Alice Bass, historian Ed L’hreux and Allen Trovillion.

Stationed at various stops along Park Avenue, they regaled participants with stories of the early days in downtown Winter Park. The stores along the Avenue had window displays featuring historic photos of the buildings through the ages. Each of the stops was at a building with a relationship to the presenters and the history of Winter Park.

The presenters in top hat, chamber maid’s uniform, coveralls or fake beards shared first-person accounts of the establishment of the first general store, hotels, Rollins College and the challenges of the Great Depression. Each 10 minute presentation was repeated for groups of 10-20 participants during the evening.

Betsy Owens is Executive Director of Casa Feliz, and the many volunteers and “Friends of Casa Feliz” are dedicated to the annual Colloquium as a showcase for the history of Winter Park.

3 Responses to “Park Avenue History Alive!”

  1. Betsy Owens says:

    What a terrific job you did recording this event! We are very fortunate, with the decline of many media outlets, to have an organization such as yours to shine light on local events and news. Good work!

  2. Kathryn Grammer says:

    As a former Disney “cast member”, I was so impressed by the evening’s journey into Winter Park’s past. Every player delivered anaward-winning performance to bring our town’s history to life. This is my second stroll down memory lane with Casa Feliz. I look forward to next year’s though 2011 will be a hard act to follow.

  3. John Rankin says:

    Dear Archivist,

    I hope you can help me with this project.

    I’m trying to obtain a photograph of the old George Kraft Home that was located at 541 Georgia Avenue. Unfortunately, it was demolished around 1960. I have a painting of the house I obtained from Mr. Ken Kraft, Jr., but a photograph is what I am trying to find.

    Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated, and I would be willing to pay whatever cost may be incurred in getting me a copy.

    Sincerely,

    John Rankin
    Longwood, Florida

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