African American Landmarks in Eatonville, Orlando & Winter Park
The Well's Built Museum of African American History and Culture holds authentic 1930s furnishings, famous artifacts and slave records.
Florida has a rich and diverse history. African American landmarks and legacies exist in various locations throughout the state. The following historical sites can be found in Orange County. While some of these sites can be visited, other listings are marked "private" and are not open to the public.
The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts and Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community Inc. (PEC)
227 East Kennedy Boulevard
From the 1880s to the 1930s, hundreds of communities founded by and for African Americans were established throughout the southern U.S. Few have survived, but Eatonville is an exception. In 1887 it was the first of these communities to incorporate with an all black government. This 20-acre historic district includes buildings constructed between 1882 and 1946. The museum provides information on the community and displays the works of artists of African descent. Quarterly exhibitions feature the works of emerging and legendary artists. Eatonville’s Zora Neale Hurston Trail correlates 16 historic sites and 10 markers with Hurston’s writings. A walking/ driving tour brochure is available at the Museum. The Zora Neale Hurston trail is continued with the “Dust Tracks Heritage Trail” in Ft. Pierce. (407) 647-3307.
Bounded by Colonial Drive, Central Avenue, Division Street and Orange Blossom Trail
This is one of Orlando’s oldest black communities, originating in 1886. The district includes Callahan Neighborhood Center, the former old Jones High School, established in 1895. Though the educational group was founded in 1895, the building that housed Jones High (now the Callahan Neighborhood Center) was built in 1921. (407) 246-4442.
Dr. I.S. Hankins House
219 Lime Street (Private)
This Mediterranean Revival style residence was built in 1935 as the home of Orlando’s pioneer black physician who campaigned for improved race relations and black home ownership.
647 West South Street (Private)
Dr. I.S. Hankins constructed this Art Deco commercial building in 1947. Hankins was an African American physician, civic leader and active participant in the Washington Shores development, which provided opportunities for new home ownership for Orlando’s African American residents.
29 West Church Street
This Commercial Style structure was built in 1911 for J.A. Colyer, an African American tailor and J.E. Nicholson, a Canadian baker. It was one of few properties outside the traditional African American neighborhoods that was owned and operated by African Americans.
Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist
701 West South Street
The congregation first met in a shed in 1919, and erected this stone church in 1920. This Gothic Revival style building now houses the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church. (407) 841-3658.
Wells’ Built Museum of African American History & Culture
511 West South Street
Dr. William Monroe Wells, an African American physician, built this hotel in 1926 to provide lodging to African Americans visiting the Orlando area. Second-floor hotel rooms complemented three first-floor store fronts. The adjacent South Street Casino attracted many famous entertainers, and the hotel became their favorite stopping place. Today, with authentic furnishings of the 1930s, the museum, features artifacts that include official hotel documents, an original Negro League baseball jersey and slave records. Fully restored by The Trust for Public Land and the Association to Preserve African American Society, History and Tradition, Inc. (PAST), the Museum focuses on African American contributions to jazz and entertainment. (407) 245-7535.
Hannibal Square Historic Neighborhood
Pennsylvania and Morse Boulevard
From its beginning in 1881, African Americans played an integral part of Winter Park’s development. The original town plan designated the Hannibal Square neighborhood for homes of African Americans who worked in the groves, hotels, homes, and as carpenters and farmers. Landmark buildings include Mount Moriah Church, Bethel Baptist Church, Flowers Temple, Grant Chapel, the Early Rising Lodge and Lake Hall Lodge.