After the Second Seminole War ended homesteads were granted in 1870 and a community south of Sanford began. Settler Edward Henck of Boston named Longwood after one of his hometown’s most attractive suburbs and in 1876 he founded the first post office and became the first postmaster.Read More
If you haven't ventured south to Melbourne, Florida you need to put it on your day-trip list. It's about an hour and a half south of Orlando on the Atlantic Coast and I was amazed by what I found there. First, let's talk about a visit to Green Gables.
Green Gables was the winter home of William T. Wells and his family. Wells was a metallurgist who was known for his patent on the manufacturing of rustless iron. In 1894 Wells and his wife Nora, sons Stanford and Prescott, and daughter Gladys traveled from New York to find a healthier climate for Nora's health issues.
Melbourne was the perfect mix of friendly neighbors, great fishing, and outdoor activities. In 1896 Green Gables was completed on the high bluff facing the river just north of town.
This Queen Anne style house was the first of its kind and unique to a property like this, the house has remained family-owned to this day. However, after the 2004 hurricane season it was deemed uninhabitable.
The house is now used for events and parties but needs extensive repairs and restoration. You'll see some damage in the photos.
The Wells family contributed to the expansion of Melbourne both architecturally and culturally. Mrs. Wells built the first auditorium in the region and stage boasted perfect acoustics. She arranged the Chautauqua of the Tropics and had musicians, actors, poets, and lecturers come to visit and perform. The Wells' dedicated a portion of their land to the public which became Wells Park and the main branch of the Melbourne Public Library. They also provided the means for the first pubic high school. They were generous and progressive and left a legacy that remains today.
This 122 year old structure is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has an unparalleled view of the Indian River. What a spot to experience the beauty and history of Brevard County.
To arrange a tour or visit, reach out by email at the address below.
Mail: P.O. Box 1086, Melbourne, FL 32902
Click below to watch the Townie Tourist walk through Green Gables. 👇👇
Greenwood Cemetery is one of the most unique places to visit in Orlando. It's close to downtown and in a neighborhood full of brick streets and historic residential homes. The area is loaded with trees and wetlands and the air here is thick and humid. Bring bug spray and sunscreen. (I should just add that in my bio since I say it all the time.)
If you're looking for history and a tour like no other, then add Greenwood to your list of places to visit in Central Florida. Never have I experienced a more informative, unique, and humorous walk through a city's history.
Don Price is Orlando's Sexton. Historically, a sexton is someone who looked after a church graveyard. The meaning has changed a bit and this cemetery isn't affiliated with one specific church. Don is a record-keeper, a historian, the story-saver of our region.
His tour covers Orlando history from the beginning up to modern day. We got him out on a Saturday morning to share an abbreviated tour with us. You can walk along with us at the bottom of this post.
History of Greenwood Cemetery Up until the 1880s, the people of Orlando had no permanent burial location, leading to many lost graves and confusion. After a heady newspaper campaign, by publisher Mahlon Gore, eight Orlando residents pulled together $1,800 to buy 26 acres of land and the cemetery was created.
The original layout of Greenwood Cemetery was designed by Samuel A. Robinson and is laid out in a unique circular pattern. It's true that you can't get lost. Just keep going left and you'll end up at the beginning.
There are free walking tours available throughout the year, but your best bet is to send an email or call Don's office at the number below to be sure you can secure a date/time. In October he hosts night time haunted tours that are a hoot! Also kind of creepy. Be ready to walk about a mile and wear sturdy shoes. Maybe consider bringing a flashlight to that one.
Directions to Greenwood Cemetery
Coming from 408 East (Oviedo/UCF area):
Travel west on 408
Exit on 11B toward East South Street
Merge onto East South Street
Turn left on Mills Avenue
Take 3rd left onto Greenwood Street
Coming from 408 West (I-4/Downtown):
Travel east on 408 to exit 11B toward Mills Avenue
Merge onto East Anderson Street
Turn right on Mills Avenue
Take 3rd left onto Greenwood Street
Watch the Townie Tourist tour with Brendan from Bungalower and Don Price.👇
Lake Eola was originally part of a 200 acre plot of land purchased by the 'Cattle King of Florida' Jacob Summerlin. On the south side of that land was a sinkhole, combined with the aquifer underneath, the body of water that formed was Lake Eola.
In 1888 Lake Eola was recognized as a park after being donated to the public in 1883.
There are five types of swans you'll see: Black Neck swans, Whooper swans, Royal Mute swans, Trumpeter swans, and Australian Black swans. There's an annual round-up each year where they're checked out by a swan veterinarian, vaccinated, catalogued and returned to the lake.
Swan Tip: Remember to only feed the swans spinach, lettuces, or duck pellets.
The Linton E. Allen fountain spews out 6500 gallons of water every minute. It was built in 1957 and patterned after fountains of Europe. Struck by lightning in 2009, it underwent a renovation and has been completely restored. Did you know you can actually go INSIDE the fountain? Maybe we could do that for Townie Tourist. Wouldn't that be cool?
The Sperry Fountain is actually the second fountain. The original is now located in Greenwood Cemetery. The fountain is made of wrought iron and has a duck base and water flows from an acanthus leaf.
The Band Shell was built in 1886 and originally placed on the south side of the lake. It was completely moved and reconstructed on the west side and now sits at the foot of Washington Street near the main entrance to the park.
So last year, Brendan and I went on the Winter Park Boat Tour. We also made a game out of it. We passed a Corkcicle mimosa back and forth each time the boat captain said the word 'Rollins.'
See, Rollins College is on the shore of Lake Virginia and it's been a big part of Winter Park history since 1886. The boat tour is splendid and an amazing way to get some sun and feel a breeze, especially when it's topping one hundred on the thermometer.
Watch and be entertained. Or, go on the tour yourself.
I used to live in Sarasota and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite places to wander. Named for Marie Selby who lived on the property with her husband, William, for over 50 years. She loved nature and when she passed in 1971, she left her home and gardens to the community "for the enjoyment of the general public."
Selby Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to epiphytes. They research, study, display, and conserve these plants that live on other plants. Like air plants, they don't harm the host plant but rather just hang around as pals. Some of the best examples are orchids, bromeliads, and gesneriads. (Say that three times fast!)
It's a place of research and the scientific staff here have discovered more than 2,000 plant species. The collections on property include an herbarium of more than 110,000 dried and pressed specimens and over 30,000 preserved in fluids with some of the rarest dating back to the 1700s.
If you're in Sarasota, take a couple hours to visit Selby Gardens. The LIVE video below takes you on a walking tour through this living museum and shows the unique Warhol: Flower in the Factory works all over the property. The exhibit is open from February to June 30, 2018 and "explores the surprising, and little known, role of nature in Warhol's art and life."