There’s a superb sector of hidden history surrounding historic buildings in Orlando to thrill native residents and travellers alike. Legends of long-forgotten mysterious treasures and haunted happenings have been known for decades in these buildings in Orlando, all waiting to be discovered by intrepid visitors.
The Veranda Bed and Breakfast
The Veranda B and B is close to well-known and significant Thornton Park. More than a few Victorian buildings have been restored to their original European style glory from the bygone days of the early 1900’s. The B&B rooms all have unique themes with private baths. A private cottage offers quiet privacy where visitors can enjoy the handsomely landscaped Victorian-era style gardens and atmosphere. Ghostly apparitions of a young Victorian girl are rumored to roam the gardens after dark.
Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens
Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens has an extensively fascinating history going all the way back to 1855, with the first of its four owners. Successful entrepreneur Harry P. Leu bought the simple, columned-white house picturesquely overlooking Lake Rowena in 1936. He deeded the house with its almost 40 surrounding acres of landscaped gardens featuring winding trails of exotic and indigenous plants to Orlando in 1961. This treasure is now noted on the National Register of Historical Places. Harry Leu and his other half Mary, now rumored to haunt the gardens, frigthen visitors with unaccountable chilled spots in warm rooms, and make occasional surprise visual appearances.
The Citrus Center
The Citrus Center a. K. A the Republic Bank on Orange Avenue is rumored to have both apparitions and lost treasure long lost and forgotten. Multitudes of visitors and former staff have reported strange occurrences of mysterious vapors floating by, doors mysteriously opening and shutting by themselves, resounding footsteps stepping on and off the elevators or on empty floors.
The typically overlooked Kress Building at 15 West Church in central Orlando is a sight to behold. The national chain of nickel and dime stores were controlled by the Samuel H. Kress Establishment. Mr. Samuel Kress wanted the building to be artistic as well as a functional part of the community in which it resided and served. He fired the initial selected architectural designer George Mackay to hire the more flamboyantly creative architect Edward Sibbert. Architect and designer Edward Sibbert utilised the Art Deco style with terra cotta and pastel-colored embellishments in the construction of the Kress building in 1935. The store speedily opened in 1936 to become a unique domestically known distinguished landmark.
The Angebilt Hotel
The Angebilt Hotel built by Joseph Ange at a whopping $1 million bucks in 1923. The Angebilt was Mr. Ange’s response to the Vanderbilt’s glamorous hotels and architectural designs. Situated on 37 North Orange Avenue in Orlando’s historic downtown district, this unique structure is a shining example of the 20th Century “commercial architecture” style pioneered by architect Murray King in 1923. He was also Florida’s very first officially registered architect and designer in the state.
Orlando Bank & Trust Company
Also created in the 20th Century commercial style is the infamous skyscraper Orlando Bank & Trust Company. This large skyscraper is found at 100 South Orange Avenue still stand encircled by its modern architecturally symmetrical counterparts. It is not hard to see the stark contrast in the clean modern lines versus the more artist decorations on the Orlando Bank and Trust. Walking tours conducted by the Orlando Downtown Historic Society grant up close accounts of other buildings in Orlando of historical fascination.
Mellanie Hermin has been interested in historic buildings in Orlando for several years. She has written op-eds and editorial pieces for many online publications. For some more info, please click here.