Posts Tagged With: Orlando

A Grand Cathedral in Downtown Orlando

Magnolia Avenue looking towards Jefferson Avenue.  Cathedral Church of St. Luke's built in the 1920's is partially covered today by the trees lining downtown's streets.

Magnolia Avenue looking towards Jefferson Avenue. Cathedral Church of St. Luke built in the 1920’s is partially covered today by the trees lining downtown’s streets.  Top: 1960’s Bottom: 2014

Little has changed on the corner of Jefferson and Magnolia in the last 93 years. A distinguished example of Gothic Revival architecture in downtown, the Cathedral Church of Saint Luke was built here in 1922. The architects of the Washington Cathedral designed the church for Orlando.

The history of Episcopalians in Orlando goes back 30 years earlier. Francis Eppes, the grandson of Thomas Jefferson, moved to Orlando in 1867. He arrived from Tallahassee having been one of the founders of the West Florida Seminary (later to become Florida State). The first Episcopal services in Orlando were held in his home, an estate named Pine Hill, located on Lake Pinelock.

An example of Gothic Revival Architecture

An example of Gothic Revival Architecture

By the 1870’s, services were held downtown in the “free school” building — a shared site for churches and education.

In January 1882, the Episcopal Church bought the property where today’s cathedral stands at the corner of Main Street (now Magnolia) and Jefferson Street. Francis Eppes had died the year before his church moved to a street named after his grandfather.

They built a small church on the property that needed to be enlarged two years later and again in 1892. The first building was moved by 1922 to make room for today’s Cathedral Church. The cornerstone was laid in 1925 and the first services held in the cathedral on Easter 1926. The depression quickly followed, and the economic troubles caused portions of the building to remained unfinished. After 60 years, in 1986 the church was finally completed to the original plans.

Cathedral Church of Saint Luke is one of downtown’s most impressive structures. It’s a rare link to old Orlando as a site where Episcopalians have worshipped for over 90 of their nearly 150-year history.


The cathedral was not fully completed until 1987.  [image source]

The cathedral was not fully completed until 1987.  image source

Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Since 1876: First Presbyterian Church of Orlando

Top:  First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, circa 1920-40 Bottom: Yowell Hall on Presbyterian church campus, 2014

Then & Now: Corner of Magnolia Ave and Church St
Top: First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, circa 1920-40
Bottom: Yowell Hall on the Presbyterian church campus, 2014

Very few organizations in Orlando date back to the 1800s.  Many of the ones that do are places of worship.  Several local churches’ roots date back to the years between the Civil War and Grover Cleveland’s presidency.  The Orlando churches on the 100+ year list include St. Luke’s Cathedral (1892),  First Baptist (1856), United First Methodist (1859), St. James Cathedral (1885), Mount Zion Missionary Baptist (1880),  and First Presbyterian (1876) pictured above.

Wooden frame sanctuary in the early 1900's

Wooden frame sanctuary in the early 1900’s

In the 1870’s local school was held during the week and several churches met on Sundays in a facility called the “free school” or “free church” building.  This is where 11 Presbyterians began meeting in 1876, before building their first church on Central Avenue around 1884.  About 5 years later, the new church was lost to a fire.  The displaced church group met in the county courthouse and at the opera house for a few years.

With over 100 members, they bought land and built a new sanctuary at the corner of Church and Main (now Magnolia) in 1889.  Now 125 years later, they are on the same property.

From the 1914 Morning Sentinel "Visitors and strangers" were welcomed to all services.

From the 1914 Morning Sentinel “Visitors and strangers” were welcomed to all services.

As Orlando grow, the wooden sanctuary needed to grow.  They remodeled and added stucco to the structure in 1915.   Within 40 years, the congregation again outgrew their space.  A new sanctuary opened facing Church Street in 1955, which stands today.

Today's sanctuary built in 1955

Today’s sanctuary; Built in 1955

The church built Yowell Hall on the spot of the original 1889 building.  The hall is named for Newton Yowell.  Mr. Yowell was an important business figure in early Orlando.  He grew his dry goods store into the 4-story department store at 1 South Orange Ave in the Yowell-Duckworth Building.  Later he served on the boards of Rollins College and Orange Memorial Hospital.  Mr. Yowell taught the young men’s class for over 40 years at the First Presbyterian.

The church website sums up their history nicely, “Our church family has seen it all: trains cut through Florida’s jungle, miles of orange groves, the opening of Disney World, and now the advent of SunRail (back to trains!). Things may change, but the Word of God endures for ever.”



Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Commuter Rail Before SunRail

Orlando Street Railway Company - Street Railway down Church Street toward Orange Avenue.  Brick building in the back ground was Bumby Hardware (Now Hamburger Mary’s).

Orlando Street Railway Company – Street Railway down Church Street toward Orange Avenue. Brick building in the back ground was Bumby Hardware (Now Hamburger Mary’s).

Commuter Rail Before SunRail

SunRail will arrive in Central Florida before long.  With high-tech and environmentally friendly trains, commuter rail will seem like a new transportation solution for Orlando.   But, it won’t be the first time residents have travelled locally on tracks.  We’ve done this before many years ago and for very different reasons.
Our first attempts at what could be called commuter rail was about 125 years ago at a time when the automobile was just being invented.
Orlando Street Railway Company
Orlando started to grow once the railroad was completed in 1880.  Citrus was developing as an industry and now had a way to ship in quantity outside of the area.  Six years after the railroad, the Orlando Street Railway Company was established for residents to have way to move around town.  Tracks were laid down Church Street from the train depot to and along Orange Avenue.   A trolley pulled by two mules carried Orlandoans up to Lake Ivanhoe.
Service on the railway was haphazard.  The conductor, Ernest Mills, for the single trolley followed a schedule perhaps unknown to his passengers.  Historian Eve Bacon wrote that Ernest gave his friends free rides and would often stop at the end of line on Marks Street for a game of marbles.  These unplanned stops caused service delays.  Sometimes they would catch snakes in the woods, tie the live snakes to the back of the trolly, and drag them back to West Church Street to sell to the local taxidermist.  Orlando life was a bit more rustic in the 1880s.
In 1893, the unreliable service led to the city to revoke the Orlando Street Railway Company’s franchise, and later ordered the tracks removed.
Dinky Station -  Winter Park train station for the Dinky Line located on Lake Virginia in late 1800’s.

Dinky Station – Winter Park train station for the Dinky Line located on Lake Virginia in late 1800’s.

Dinky Line

A few years after the mule powered street railway, another commuter rail began.  This one proved to have longevity.  In 1889, the Orlando and Winter Park Railroad started running from downtown Orlando winding by Lake Highland and Lake Formosa up to Rollins College.  Now part of Rollins’ heritage, it was nicknamed the “Dinky Line” by students that for 15 cents commuted between Orlando and the Winter Park campus.
Traveling at speeds of 6 1/2 miles per hour, the train easily derailed because the tracks were laid on sand.  Much of the route between Orlando and Winter Park was wooded and undeveloped.  If service was not interrupted by derailment, stray cattle blocked the tracks and delayed service until the conductor stopped to shoo the cows away.
In addition to passengers, the Dinky Line carried freight especially later when automobiles became the norm.  The line ran for over 70 years.  By the 1960s, the wooded areas along Lake Highland and Lake Estelle had become prime real estate lined with upscale homes.   Its last route ran in 1967 and the tracks were removed a year later.
Today, we have reminders of the Dinky Line with portions of the route making up the Orlando Urban Trail.  In Winter Park, the train station once stood on Lake Virginia at Dinky Dock Park.
This post originally appeared in Bungalower.

orlando retro blog is updated a few times a month.

Follow on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

Categories: orlando retro | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Colorful Tale of the Carolina Moon Trailer Camp

Remnants of the Carolina Moon Trailer Park sit along Orange Blossom Trail, a stretch of road that was once a travel destination in itself.

Remnants of the Carolina Moon Trailer Park sit along Orange Blossom Trail, a stretch of road that was once a travel destination in itself.

For over 80 years, the Carolina Moon Trailer Camp was located on a plot of land between Orange Blossom Trail and Rock Lake.  It has seen life as an early Central Florida tourist attraction, a residential trailer park, and a lakeside timeshare resort.  It had such a colorful history it was even the subject of a comedy theatrical production.

Orange groves were south of Rock Lake in the late 1800’s.  Postcards as early as 1906 featured a scenic palm tree-lined lakeshore.  As Orlando developed, Kentucky Avenue soon ran adjacent to the eastern shore, where in 1935 a man named Jonathan Moon purchased 10 acres on Rock Lake.  Kentucky Avenue would later be called Orange Blossom Trail, a more descriptive and appealing name to Central Florida travelers.

Aerial View of the Carolina Moon property

Aerial View of the Carolina Moon property

On his new property Mr. Moon opened Moon’s Tourist Camp making it one of a couple of tourist camps in the area.  People visited to enjoy the Central Florida sun along the beaches of the inland freshwater lake.  Entertainment during the early days of the Carolina Moon included a dance hall and roller skating.

While the tourist camps may have been popular with visitors, residents of the nearby Spring Lake Terrace neighborhood were not as welcoming.   In 1937, over 50 home owners from one of Orlando’s early prominent neighborhoods fought city hall to rid the area of the camps.  Likely in response, the city ordered the trailer camps to close or relocate.   Mr. Moon was alleged to have opened his camp without proper permits and this lead to a lengthy legal battle.  However, the trailer camp survived and remained with Moon as owner until 1945.

For the decades to come, a neon sign along Orange Blossom Trail identified the property as the “Carolina Moon Cottages.”   In 1963 when motor lodges were still a draw, the Parliament House chain built a large hotel next door.  The Carolina Moon was left to age beside a new modern facility.

An advertisement in late 1936 in the Rollins College paper "Sandspur" invited students to the Carolina Moon for roller skating.

An advertisement in late 1936 in the Rollins College paper “Sandspur” invited students to the Carolina Moon for roller skating.

However, only a few years later Walt Disney made his famous announcement (Retro Link: Walt’s Announcement) and tourists’ interest quickly shifted away from scenic Rock Lake.

By 1975, Parliament House was in decline and no longer part of a national chain.  That year it reinvented itself as gay hotel and entertainment complex.  With virtually nothing else like it in the country it brought new traffic and flavor to the area.

By this time, the Carolina Moon Trailer Park was residential.   Full Moon Saloon later opened on the northern side of the Carolina Moon.  Residents made up a cast of characters that didn’t mind the traffic of late-night bar hoppers making their way across the property.

The 80s and 90s were slightly seedier years for the Carolina Moon, the rooms of the original motel hosted a variety of tenants and merchants.  Shops like Twisted Palms sold leather wear and specialty clothing while other stores offered everything from adult video rentals to gay-themed tchotchkes.  In 1990 Boca Raton News told the story of a makeshift clinic operating in one of the rooms.  During the peak of the AIDS crisis, this rogue clinic provided experimental therapies for the disease.

The Gardens timeshare resort today

The Gardens timeshare resort today

In the 2000’s, new owners of the Parliament House removed the trailer homes to develop the property into a gay timeshare resort, The Gardens.   This unlikely end to the Carolina Moon’s story was the basis for local playwright Michael Wanzie’s, “Carolina Moon: A Campy Trailer Trash Tragedy.”  His comedy production told the story of the displaced “eclectic mix of residents at Carolina Moon, ranging from old-time southern crackers and Tupperware ladies to leather daddies and disco twinks.

Only one of several planned buildings were constructed since The Gardens’ 2005 opening.  Much of the land between it and the Parliament House is vacant.   Today, a single stretch of rooms along Orange Blossom Trail is the last remnant of the Carolina Moon.  

It’s quite unlikely in the 1930’s Mr. Moon had any idea the colorful history that Moon’s Tourist Camp would create.

Slideshow of the Carolina Moon Trailer Camp:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Orlando, A Centennial History, Eve Bacon, 1975
A Guide to Historic Orlando, Steve Rajtar, 2006
Wanzie Presents
GLBT History Museum of Central Florida
Sandspur, 12-3-1936
Boca Raton News, 1-8-1990

Orlando Retro Blog is updated a few times monthly.  Follow on Twitter or Facebook for updates.

Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Grand Theatre

Top: Grand Theatre - circa 1915 Bottom: The site today is mostly a parking lot - 2013

Top: Grand Theatre circa 1915
Bottom: Mostly a Parking Lot Today 2013

The Grand Theatre

Orlando residents have enjoyed attending live performances and movies in the comfort of a theater since 1884. The first major theatre was an opera house downtown. It was housed in a large wooden frame building with a stage lit by kerosene lamps (This was roughly where the Solaire high-rise apartment building is today).   The Grand Theatre came along in 1912. By this time, Orlando had other theaters, but the growing popularity of motion pictures seemed like a good opportunity for Orlando businessman, Colonel T.J. Watkins. He began constructing the Grand Theatre and Grand Hotel at the Nashville Block located between Central and Pine.

The Grand Theatre opened as a silent movie house, when motion pictures were a draw even without sound. The film projectors were hand-cranked.  Musicians played music live for the films. Popular musicians were even billed along with the movie. A few years after opening, the theatre was one of the first locally to use a photoplayer, which was a sort of automated orchestra for silent films.   In 1915, the theatre introduced a new policy that included partitioning half of the balcony for use by African-American film goers.

"A Romance at Orlando"

“A Romance at Orlando”

“Romance at Orlando”

Today Orlando is better known for movie studios than movies filmed here. Although Universal Studios and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are mostly theme parks, some movies have been filmed here. The list includes Parenthood (1989), The Waterboy (1998), and admit it or not Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006).  When did we get our start in the movie business?  In 1914 with the silent film Romance in Orlando.

Filming made front page news of The Morning Sentinel on December 11, 1913.  Scenes were filmed around Orlando at businesses and the home of city pioneer Braxton Beacham (You might recognize the name from the Beacham Theatre).   The newspaper described a scene in the moving involving a political rally and being filmed at the bandstand.  It mentioned when the camera panned around who among the locals could be seen in the crowd.  The story noted screen time was given to Fire Chief William Dean, City Alderman W.P. Watson, and in terms that seem crass today, “even the old negro Garey, whom everybody knows.”

Romance at Orlando opened at The Grand Theatre January 13 & 14, 1914 just one month after filming.  The Grand seated about 750 people and every seat must have been filled as 3000 people watched the film on those two days.  The Morning Sentinel describing the film as a, “pleasing picture made popular by the appearance of local characters.”

Astor Theatre

Silent films gave way to movies with sound.  Gone With The Wind was such a hit after its 1939 release that The Grand was sold out for two months straight.  In the decade to follow the building began to age and was in need of updating in order to stay relevant.   In 1954, the theatre was completely redecorated, refurbished, and rebranded as the Astor Theatre.  Newer technology — including a sound system and air conditioning — were added.   Two rows of seats were removed from the back to make room for concessions and the women’s room was outfitted with a powder bar.   Now, the ladies could freshen up during intermission.

Ushers await outside the Grand Theatre - Around 1930

Ushers await outside the Grand Theatre – Around 1930

The new name and remodel were not enough to save the Grand.  The screen went dark in the early sixties and the theatre was torn down about 1965.  In the post card scene above, the brick building seen to the right of the theatre still stands (where Backbooth bar is currently located).  Nothing is really left of the Grand Theatre today, but memories of the silver screens golden age.

Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

One Last Stop at the Cherry Plaza Hotel

Top: Cherry Plaza Hotel in the 1950 Bottom: Post Parkside Aparments in 2013

Top: Cherry Plaza Hotel in the 1950
Bottom: Post Parkside Aparments in 2013

Previous posts on the Cherry Plaza Hotel:

Cherry Plaza Hotel, Part 3

Today the former Lee's Lakeside site is under renovations for a World of Beer

Today the former Lee’s Lakeside site is under renovations for a World of Beer

After originally opening in the fifties as an apartment hotel, Eola Plaza, and converted into a hotel by the end of the decade, the Cherry Plaza Hotel came full circle and converted back to apartments.  It operates today as Post Parkside apartments.

Before the boom of apartment and condo life in Downtown Orlando, this was one of the few somewhat urban style apartment buildings in the area.   Especially in the 1990’s, the proximity to Lake Eola and the reasonable rents made it a sort of funky, eclectic place to live.  In fact in 1992, the Orlando Sentinel referred to it as “Downtown’s Tower of Funkiness”.    Today, it looks like a small player surrounded by new condominium and highrise apartments.  

On the ground level facing the lake, Lee’s Lakeside operated as one of Orlando’s most popular restaurants from the 1980’s until it closed in 2005.  The space has been an unsuccessful restaurant or two since then, and is currently being remoded for World of Beer’s newest location.

Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

McNamara Signs Go The Way Of The Pontiac


Two vintage signs were removed from the old McNamara Pontiac building in the last few weeks.   I am not sure when the came down, but I had just taken an Instagram of one of them in the last month or so.   The dealership has long been closed, but I loved these old signs.


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

French Fried Jumbo Shrimp at Gary’s Duck Inn

Gary's Postcard

Top: Gary’s Duck Inn and
the hovering platter of shrimp
Bottom: Gary’s is long

Gary’s Duck Inn Gary's Napkin

The postcard features one of the six remodeled versions of Gary’s Duck Inn. Above it, hovers a platter of fried shrimp. For very close to 50 years, Gary’s Duck Inn was an Orlando restaurant institution and served up their popular fried shrimp on Orange Blossom Trail. It would be an understatement to say that Orange Blossom Trail was a very different stretch of road when Gary’s Duck Inn opened in 1945.
At the time, this was a scenic stretch of road for those traveling north and south through Orlando. For many, a motor inn on Highway 441 was a destination itself. When the restaurant opened, it opened small with seating for 15 people.   The popularity of the restaurant over the decades led to 6 different remodels,grew to a capacity of 400 seats, employed 90 people, and served celebrities such as Dolly Parton and Bob Hope.

Gary Starling started the restaurant and operated it for about 20 years. It catered to a loyal customer base of locals and tourists. The menu of reasonable priced seafood was a hit during the era before chain restaurants were common. In 1963, Mr. Starling sold Gary’s Duck Inn to investors that included Bill Darden and Charlie Woodsby. Five year’s later, Gary’s Duck Inn was the
inspiration Darden and Woodsby used to create Red Lobster restaurants. After inspiring a national chain restaurant, Gary’s Duck Inn continued to operate for another three decades.

As the years went by, fewer and fewer tourist (and locals for that matter) traveled down the Orange Blossom Trail. The area was in decline and became better known for stripper bars than a good plate of fried seafood. David Siegel of timeshare and “Queen of Versailles” fame made an attempt to purchase the restaurant for $375,000 and even attempted to recreate Gary’s by opening a restaurant called Fisherman’s Cove with some of the managers from Gary’s. Neither was successful, Gary’s Duck Inn shut its doors in 1994. Along OBT, there are still several weathered reminders of its past days as a tourist destination.  Sadly, Gary’s Duck Inn is not one of them. Demolished long ago, on the site today sits a 7-11 and a Dollar General.

Gary's Duck Inn as it looked in the 90's

Gary’s Duck Inn as it looked in the 90’s

Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

The Round Building, Orange Ave and South St

Looking North on Orange Avenue at South Street Intersection 1960's and 2013

Looking North on Orange Avenue at South Street Intersection
1960’s and 2013

The Postcard

The view looking north up Orange Avenue is framed by city hall on the left and the mid-century modern American Federal Savings and Loan building (AKA The Round Building). Tall palm trees center the postcard, behind them are the Downtown Motor Inn, Sun Bank and the American Fire & Casualty Insurance buildings.

The view today looks similar to the 1960’s postcard even though all but one of the buildings in the postcard have been demolished. City hall was replaced with our current city hall. SunBank – now SunTrust – rebuilt near the same spot. The Downtowner and the American Fire & Casualty buildings are long gone. Now the Grand Bohemian sits on the corner. And at least for today, the former American Federal Savings is the only remaining building.

The Round Building (American Federal Savings and Loan Association)

Today: Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center under construction behind the Round Building.

Today: Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center under construction behind the Round Building.

In 1961, American Federal Savings and Loan Association purchased 60,000 square feet of property across from City Hall for $400,000. At the time, there were still some homes along this stretch of Orange Ave. A few houses and a four-unit apartment building were on the site when the bank bought the land. The close proximity to Lake Lucerne probably made this a very livable area, which would not be true today with the 408 Express overhead.

Robert Murphy, a local Harvard educated architect who later founded HuntonBrady Architects, designed the building. HuntonBrady continues to design buildings today. Their credits include Team Disney, The Mennello Museum of American Art, and the Orange County Convention Center expansion. Mr. Murphy designed the bank as a round building encircled in decorative concrete panels (the bris de soleil). It was originally built at only two stories. With equally important east and west entrances, the round design helped keep an even traffic flow. A head teller from the bank had the idea for a semi circular teller counter being the most efficient way to serve customers. A skylight in the center added natural light to the bank lobby. When it first opened, the bank created further attraction by putting $1 million in bills on display in the lobby.

American Federal Savings and Loan

American Federal Savings and Loan in the early 1960’s before the additional floors were added.

In the early 70’s, additional glass enclosed stories were added to the building. This changed the appearance to a sort of office tower rising from the decorative concrete. Visual Ephemera recently quoted Mr. Murphy’s wife as stating he was not fond of the added floors.

Left: Bris de Soleil panels being installed in 1960's. Right: First panel being removed in 2013

Left: Bris de Soleil panels being installed in 1960’s.
Right: First panel being removed in 2013

The days are numbered for The Round Building. Today, three old palms tower over the dry fountain at the west entrance. It will be demolished to make room for the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center currently under construction. There are efforts underway to remove and repurpose the exterior panels. One section of the bris de soleil panels has already been removed. If the efforts are successful, the familiar design will live elsewhere in Orlando as a reminder of this unique landmark.


Central Florida Modern
Visual Ephemera
Orlando Sentinel, Florida Magazine 1961
Orlando, A Centennial History; Eve Bacon 1975
Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Rutland’s and Orange Avenue in the 1940’s.

Orange Avenue and Washington 1940's/2013

Orange Avenue and Washington 1940’s/2013

The Postcard

The caption of the postcard reads “Orange Avenue looking North”.  However, north is the other direction and this postcard view is looking south.  The Angebilt and San Juan Hotels provide the backdrop to a time when Orange Ave was lined with department stores like Sears and Rutland’s.

Rutland’s and the Corner of Orange & Washington

Birdseye View Orlando Map 1884  Click to Enlarge

Birdseye View Orlando Map 1884
Click to Enlarge

In the heart of downtown, Orange Avenue and Washington Street are among the oldest streets in the city.    A 129 year old map shows at least a two-story building in the southwest corner of the intersection. (Near the red arrow in the thumbnail)  This building may be the county jail as some books reference a jail being built on the corner in 1884*.  Braxton Beacham bought the jail in 1917 and later built the Beacham Theater and a few stores on the property.

By the 1930’s the horse traveled dirt roads were brick covered and lined with businesses.  The St. Charles Hotel was built in the vicinity.  On the southeast corner, where Rutland’s would go, was a gas station and an Economy Cab taxi stand.

In 1940, Joseph Rutland, a Winter Park businessman, bought this lot for $78,000 to build and open his menswear store.   Rutland’s had a wide selection of menswear brands and custom tailored suits.  In its 30 years of doing business at this location, Rutland’s built a large customer base by selling the better brands of men’s clothes and providing well-known customer service.  Future U.S. senator Mel Martinez at one time was among the service staff having sold shoes at this location.

The building is Art Moderne style and was built by F. Earl Deloe.   Deloe was a local architect who started his career in Orlando at 19 working as draftsman for an architect.   He served in World War I also as a draftsman, and later worked for the Army in World War II as an architect.  In fact, before he went to work for the Army, some of the construction for the Rutland’s building took place during World War II.  Other buildings to his credit are the College Park Baptist Church (1945), Church of Our Lady of Lourdes (1931) in Melbourne, and an art moderne remodel in 1949 of the Sun-Ray Cinema in Jacksonville.   He continued with a long career as an architect in Orlando until his retirement in 1965 and lived out his years in College Park.  The Rutland’s building is perhaps his most recognizable work and one of the few remaining buildings representing this era.

Originally two stories, three more floors were added to the building in the 1950’s for added retail and office space.  In the years to come, shopping shifted from downtown and moved to the malls.  In the 60’s, Rutland’s moved its business from this location to a few malls in the area.  The last Rutland’s location remained in business until 1998.  When its last store closed at the Fashion Square Mall, the Orlando Business Journal wrote that Rutland’s $500 to $2000 suits (in 1998 prices) could not compete with the lower prices of places like Mens Wearhouse.  Rutland’s was another local company unable to compete with the low cost products of national chain.

Orange and Washington Today

Most of the buildings still stand in the southeast and southwest corners of Orange Avenue and Washington Streets that are in the postcard.  The Rutland’s building now houses Seacoast National Bank on the lower level.  Across Orange Avenue, the buildings built by Baxter Beacham in the 1920’s are today an assortment of bars, such as Independent Bar, and entertainment venues, like The Social.   The Sears seen in the foreground is long gone and the 20 floor Regions Bank Tower was constructed on the site in 1986.


*”From Florida Sand to the City Beautiful, A Historical Record of Orlando, FL” E.H. Gore 1949
Orlando Business Journal, April 27th 1998
Orlando: In Vintage Postcards, Lynn M. Homan, Thomas Reill 2001
Categories: Post Card Stories | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: