Walking tour for historic Downtown Orlando
The following walking tour is approximately 2.5 miles in total, feel free to randomly explore the district or a building that is of particular interest to you. Please remember that some of these properties are private residences today. A good place to start is close to the Amway Centre, there should be plenty of parking locally either close to Amway or on the east side of the I-4. The first part of the tour is about 1.2 miles.
Starting at 511 West South Street you will find Well'sbuilt Hotel - built in 1926. This provided lodging to African Americans and many atheletes and entertainers stayed here, handy for the South Street Casino next door. Today it houses the Museum of African American History.
Further down the street at no. 519 is Dr William Wells House, he was a long practicing Doctor in Orlando. At 541 West South Street you will find the Victorian House and Cottage. This is the only remaining Folk Victorian structures left in the city. Admire the level of detail in the original turned columns, railings and carved fretwork that cannot be seen in any other building in Orlando.
A bit of a walk now heading east around the north entrance of the Amway Centre, towards the I-4, obviously passing underneath it on the path (side walk). You should now be at 129 West Church Street and the grand entrance to Church Street Station. This area has now been modernised but if you look closely at the building you can see the original names . Here you will see Slemons Department Store which was a dry goods store constructed in 1924 for William Slemons. He came to Orlando in 1886 and owned a number of stores in Orlando. Further down on the same side of the street you will see Bumaby Hardware Building. in 1873 Joseph Bumby arrived from England and started to sell hay and grain from this store when the railroad came in 1880.
Safely cross the rail road and at 76 West Church Street old meets new. Here is the Old Orlando Railroad Depot. The rail road came to Orlando from Sanford in 1880 with the first depot attached to the Bumbay store. The South Florida Railroad constructed this station in 1890 due to the expanding citrus commerce. The small older buildings are dwarfed by the modern high rised offices and condominiums.
At 29 West Church Street you will seethe Nicholson-Clyer Building, built in 1911 for Canadians JA Colyer, a tailor and JE Nicholson, a baker. This one of the few traditional African American properties outside of the traditional area. At no.15 is the Kress Building. Built in 1930 it adopted a new architectural model, using terra cotta and Art Deco styling. This is on the other side of the street but the name can clearly be seen.
Turn left at the corner near Valencia College onto South Orange Avenue and the First National Bank is located at no. 190. It was founded in 1920 and before the Great Depression, the bank planned a new building which was opened in 1930, soon after the bank failed. At 100 South Orange Avenue is the Orlando Bank & Trust Company building, a very modern building for its time, built in 1924. It was later purchased by invester HW Metcalf at the height of the Depression.