The City of Orlando has designated six specific Historic Preservation Districts. The criteria for the designations are citizen involvement, architecturally significant buildings and the contribution the districts have made to the cultural heritage of the City.
The Historic Districts are as follows:
- Downtown designated in 1980
- Lake Cherokee designated in 1981
- Lake Copeland designated in 1984
- Lake Eola Heights designated in 1989
- Lake Lawsona designated in 1994
- Colonialtown South designated in 2000
Downtown Historic District
The first Historic District to be recognized by the city is Downtown. 80 contributing buildings built in the 1980s dot the eight square block district and are interspersed with modern buildings and skyscrapers. The Historic buildings were constructed between the 1880 and the early 1940s.
The earliest buildings are reflective of the Victorian Era. Other architectural styles evident in this District include classic Mediterranean, Art Deco and streamlined modern styles. In the early 1920s taller buildings began being built, probably due to better elevator technology and design.
In 1982, many of the buildings were included in the National Register of Historic Places, they include the Rogers Kiene Building (1886) located at 37-39 South Magnolia Avenue, the Old Orlando Railroad Depot (1889) at 76-78 West Church Street and the Tinker Building (1925) at 18 West Pine Street.
For a walking tour of Historic Downtown Orlando go here!
Lake Cherokee Historic District
Lake Cherokee District is made up of 186 homes, 160 of which are considered contributing structures. The district is made up of 6 square blocks of residences with two schools. Building around the lake, which was formerly known as Lake Minnie, began in the late 1870s. A number of Victorian era homes still exist in the District, dating from the late 1880s and 1890s. And the early 20th century is well represented, as well. Specifically, 536 Lake Avenue with its traditional southern center hall design, broad sweeping pyramid roof and wrap-around porch.
Cherokee School at 525 S. Eola, built in 1926, is archetecturally significant. Built in the Mediterranean Revival style, the school is still in use today and is decorated with colorful terra cotta ornamentation.
Lake Copeland Historic District
The Lake Copeland Historic Neighborhood is situated just south of Downtown and boast about 100 contributing homes in styles ranging from Colonial to Mediterranean and Tudor Revival. Many among the approximately 100 residences. James Gamble Rogers II, one of the area’s most beloved and prolific architects built many of the homes in the Lake Copeland Neighborhood in the early 1900s. His most impressive build is the Claybaugh House (1927). Located at 205 East Copeland, its tiled roof of varying pitches, decorative windows, and mock bell tower create a charming variation of the Mediterranean Revival style.
The neighborhood grew up out of the desire for residents to escape the city and by the Great Depression, the area was largely built-up. The oldest remaining house in the District is the McRae-Raehn House at 414 East Miller Street which dates to the 1880s and was originally a farm house.
The City Historic Preservation Board oversees any exterior changes to properties in the Historic Districts.
Lake Eola Heights Historic District
Considered one of Orlando’s oldest and most architecturally diverse neighborhoods, Lake Eola Heights is home to about 570 contributing structures. Styles include Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Mediterranean Revival, Mission Revival, Art Deco, and Minimal Traditional.
The neighborhood was originally home to Jacob Summerlin, who purchased 200 acres a round Lake Eola most of the land was inhabited by orange trees. When the great freeze of 1895 killed off most of the groves, the land was subdivided for residential use.
Among the houses in the District are many beautiful houses of worship, which add their own brand of architectural style. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (1926), at 123 East Livingston Street, exhibits Gothic Revival design and form. The Broadway United Methodist Church (1922), at 406 East Amelia Street, reflects the Neoclassical Revival style. The St. James Cathedral School (1928), at 505 Ridgewood Street, is one of several Mediterranean Revival schools built in Orlando in the 1920s and is one of the best examples with its bell tower, ornate entrance, and embellished friezes.
Lake Lawsona Historic District
Lake Lawsona Historical District is the quintessential walkable neighborhood with a great mix of homes, schools and commercial buildings. Developed between 1911 and the 1950s, the district contains approximately 500 buildings and is a great representation of the growth patterns that developed in the early part of the 20th century.
Exploring the streets of this neighborhood, you will find bungalows and houses in the Craftsman, Minimal Traditional and Colonial, Mediterranean, Mission, Neoclassical, and Tudor revival styles. The most prominent style of home in this District is bungalows.
There are three designated historic landmarks in the Lake Lawsona Historic District, and they are H.H. Dickson Azalea Park (1935), the Washington Street Bridge (1926) and Orlando High School, now Howard Middle School (1927).
Azalea Park, named for co-founder of one of Orlando’s first department stores, H.H. Dixon, encompasses 5 acres of lush vegitation along the Fern Creek. The park features rustic stairs and walls, a 1940s era Girl Scout house, which served as a club house for more than 50 years and the charming Beaux Arts-influenced Washington Street Bridge which traverses the park and Fern Creek.
Colonialtown South Historic District
The majority of the housing in Colonialtown South was built during the 1920s Florida land boom, comprised mostly of modest middle-class small to medium sized houses. The Great Depression and service members returning from WWII had a great impact on this neighborhood. The house was scaled for the financial constraints of the times and the great needs of the burgeoning population. Many of the homes were build by a single builder.
Regardless of the seeming conformity of the structures in the neighborhood, there was always an eye towards architectural integrity and aesthetically pleasing surroundings. Brick streets and plenty of shade trees contribute to this charming, historically significant district.
For any questions, call or text Carol at 216-832-3123.