Posts Tagged With: Angebilt Hotel

Checking Back into The Angebilt

Click to access the PDF of The Angebilt Hotel brochure.

Click to access the PDF of The Angebilt Hotel brochure.

The first post on Orlando Retro Blog was about the Angebilt Hotel.  We are checking back into the Angebilt with a circa 1940’s travel brochure and a restaurant menu from 1957.   (You can download a PDF of the brochure by clicking on brochure image to the left.)

This brochure is from a time when the highlights for Orlando travelers were:

  • Fishing and Swimming
  • Tangerine Bowl
  • The Washington Nationals Winter Home
  • Eastern Airlines
  • Rollins College
  • Ben White Raceway

The air condition dining room provided table de hote service.  (A Google search tells me we call that prix fixe today.)   From this 1957 menu, the restaurant offered a wide variety of seafood appetizers (Blue Point Oysters on the half shell $1, Crab Meat Cocktails Supreme $1.25), salads (a 20 cents up charge for Roquefort cheese dressing), and sides like Lyonaisse Potatoes (25 cents) and French Fried Onion Rings (30 cents).  Highlighted was the Deluxe Plantation Planked Burger: Our Specialty from the Plantation Lounge (Choice Western Beef, ground daily in our own Kitchen, Broiled on an Oak Plank with Ripe Tomato, Julienne Green Beans and Bordure of Whipped Potatoes) ($1.65).  An oak planked burger sounds rather culinary forward for 1957 Orlando.

Atop the Angebilt was a Sky Room or the “Top of the Town” for conventions and banquets.  Also a solarium where bathing beauties in the modest swimwear of the era could enjoy the “benefits of Mother Nature’s greatest helper ‘the sun'” as well as therapies and massages.  On the mezzanine was a lounge decorated in what looks like tropical prints on wicker furniture.

Untitled

The text of the brochure speaks highly of our City Beautiful, “Nowhere else in this whole wide world has nature smiled so lavishly.”  The staff is described as, “young in years” but “old in service.”  Guests are invited to stay a night, a week, or as a permanent resident.

Below I created a “then and now” of the hotel lobby with the picture from the brochure and a current shot.   The lobby has been restored and is in great shape today, and looks very much like it did in brochure.   No longer a hotel lobby but a business entrance now.  The front desk staff and the elevator operators are long gone, but it is reassuring that some of the charm remains in this once grand hotel.

The Angebilt Lobby in the 1940's and Today

The Angebilt Lobby in the 1940’s and Today

Categories: Advertising | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Orange County Court House and Annex, Orlando, FL 1960’s

Orange County Courthouse Annex

Orange County Courthouse Annex in 1960’s, and the same view today looking at Heritage Square

The Postcard

The postcard depicts the Court House Annex.  The two colors of exterior tile made it look modern for the era.  Across the street is a 5 cents parking lot, which is the property where the library stands today.   If you’ve been downtown recently, 5 cents won’t get you 5 minutes on the meter.

Orange County Court House and Annex

The property on which the Orange County Courthouse Annex stood has been significant since Orlando’s earliest days.  A log cabin on this site in 1857 served as the first courthouse.  Orlando’s original city limits were set to be one mile to the north, south, east, and west of this spot.

Several courthouse came and went as the community grew.  In 1892, a large red brick Victorian Style courthouse with a clock tower stood here.  That Victorian style courthouse was replaced by this structure in 1959.  The modern-for-its-time annex was built next to the 1927 courthouse.  While the aqua exterior may have been more Miami Beach than Orlando, the building brought a contemporary edge to downtown.

On the fifth floor was a jail featuring a progressive kitchen where meals were prepared by prisoners for the 165 inmates in the facility.  This is also the building where Ted Bundy’s trial was held in the 80’s.

During construction in 1959, a time capsule was buried in the courthouse.  It contained artifacts from the decade such as a rubber stamp from Christmas, FL and 50 pennies.  (Today that time capsule awaits its 2059 opening at the History Center).

Although the annex was constructed to last for a century, it barely lasted 40 years.  Asbestos made the building unsafe.  In 1989, the county moved 300 employees and 200 inmates out of the annex.  Some courtrooms were temporarily moved to the Angebilt Hotel.  The cost of removing the asbestos was high.  It was an estimated $30 million to make it safe enough to use again.  In the end, only the first three floors were cleaned up and used again while the current courthouse was under construction.

The annex was demolished and the site was converted into Orlando Heritage Park by the early 2000’s.

Heritage Square today on the site of the 1959 Courthouse Annex

Heritage Square today on the site of the 1959 Courthouse Annex

Sources:

Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
Orlando Sentinel, 11/26/1998, 10/25/1990
Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Angebilt Hotel

Click to read the reverse

Click to read the reverse

The Postcard

In 1933 (or maybe it reads ’38), our postcard writers were in Orlando to attend a graduation at Rollins College.  They stayed a few nights at the top floor of the Angebilt Hotel. The afternoon before the graduation they wrote the postcard to Kay in South Euclid, OH about their stay.  It was signed “oceans of love, Daddy and Mary.

Angebilt Hotel

Ange

The Angebilt is a great place to start this blog about Orlando’s past. An Orange Avenue landmark for 90 years, and for decades the premier hotel in Orlando. When it opened in 1923, it was a near skyscraper as the tallest building in the city at 11 floors.

A sign in the front advertised the 10th floor dining room as “The Height of Hospitality.” Aside from 250 rooms, guests could enjoy a beauty salon/barber shop, a drug store, and a cocktail lounge.  With no other buildings as tall to block the view, the roof-top sky deck provided great views of Lake Eola and the area. The hotel hosted the University Club and at one time housed two radio stations.

Great Americans walked through the lobby doors during its long history. Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison, all stayed once at the Angebilt during a trip to Edison’s home in Fort Myers. In the early 60’s, Joan Crawford was on the board of Pepsi and attended a reception held in the ballroom for the soda company.

The hotel faced hardship at times. The early owner filed bankruptcy within months of the hotel opening and it changed hands within its first year. Decades later in the forties, a hurricane destroyed the top floor ballroom. By the ’70s, the elegance was long gone and it attracted a less upscale clientele.

In the 1990’s with the hotel no longer in operation, the building was converted into a temporary courthouse.  This was while the new Orange County Courthouse was under construction.

The Angebilt Hotel in the 1930's and the building today.

The Angebilt Hotel in the 1930’s and the building today.

What’s There Today

The Angebilt still stands on Orange Avenue looking much like it did 90 years ago. The decorative “A” can still be found on the entry way. The lobby has been restored to its original style and is often decorated with fresh flowers. CoLab Orlando, which provides shared office space for creative and technical professionals, is based here. Two business on the ground floor generate business at lunch and in the evenings. Finnhenry’s is on one corner and a Subway on the other.

Although it would be more appealing to see something other than a sandwich chain at the base, The Angebilt is a great example of a landmark building being redefined to keep its place in the community and remain part of its heritage.

Angebilt A

Sources:

A Guide to Historic Orlando; Steve Rajtar, The History Press, 2006
Orlando Magazine, March 2007

Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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