I was thrilled to attempt my 5th Annual Freedom Ride, a custom in which I love the freedom of operating my bike without agenda apart from taking photos of whatever hits my fancy. My odyssey began at an industrial area between the renovated Orlando Train Station and I-4 newly, a location normally too active to trip a bike. This day On, however it was such as a ghost town therefore I felt absolve to ride around and investigate the textures and colors created by the processes of manufacturing and recycling. Looking for the red, white, and blue at a recycling flower.
I kept in mind that nearby Kuhl Street intersected Gore and headed in that direction because the initial path of the Dixie Highway through Orlando implemented Kuhl Avenue briefly before rejoining Orange Avenue further south. The Dixie Highway was a system of highways that linked the South to the Midwest in the first days of the auto, before condition and Federal streets used a numbering system to recognize their routes.
The Western alignment of the Dixie Highway proceeded to go from Chicago to Miami, heading north and south through Orlando, by way of Edgewater Drive and Orange Avenue mostly. I have already been working with the Polk County History Focus on an exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Dixie Highway Association, so I’ve been driving as much of the original road as you can.
I was delighted to find the short stretch between Gore and Lake Lucerne still paved in bricks, possibly the original bricks driven over by Model Ts and Stanley Steamers almost a century ago. This unexpected discovery was the first of many with this Independence Day and I realized there is a connection between the Dixie Highway and freedom.
The age of the auto brought more independence to Americans than previously, as a vacation in Florida was possible to a whole new class of individuals now. Whereas before train and steamboats cars brought the American elite to places of leisure like Palm Beach, the advent of the auto and the Dixie Highway opened just how for the middle class to go to sunlight State. And they are arriving in cars by the large numbers ever since. Could these bricks date back again to the times of the Dixie Highway?
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Wonderful Midcentury structures on Lake Lucerne. I headed to downtown where I had formed worked for nearly ten years – a location where I’d witnessed enormous change. WHILE I started working there soon after I relocated to Central Florida, the soul of old Orlando still lingered. Places like Mac Meiner’s BBQ, Chastains, and the beloved Ronnie’s Restaurant was still serving Orlando natives.
Even Sam Behr’s Shoe Store still been around on Church Street. But downtown was fairly humble outside of the Church Street Station attraction where I worked. To find relics of the last age feels like being an urban archaeologist, discovering pieces of a bygone age group. Just by the looks of the new building near downtown, the great recession is apparently ending.
Citrus icon Dr. Phillip Phillips’ legacy lives on in Orlando through the philanthropic business of the same name. My wish is that this building bearing his name someday finds new lease of life. It might be sad to see this wonderful Art Deco building fall by the wayside. I rode to a Mediterranean Revival property I understood was vulnerable to being torn down to make method for a higher rise on Lake Eola.
The captivating home turned office building is a relic of an earlier age when private houses have been around on the shores of Orlando’s favorite park. Historic preservation is on my mind nowadays as neighborhoods in Florida are faced with difficult questions of development, and property rights versus quality of life and community personality.