Florida Stories


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As the news of Florida's lush tropical foliage, mild climate, and pristine environment made its way throughout the United States and Europe, Florida's tourism industry was born. Many hotels and boarding houses were soon built to meet such visitors' demands. As for wealthy tourists, they built their own "small cottages" to stay in during the winter months. Not only was housing made available for the masses of tourists, but transportation methods including steamships and railroads were expanded to bring the visitors to Central Florida. Just as it is today, tourism during the 19th and 20th centuries contributed greatly to the growth of Central Florida's economy and population.

"…You should see the hotel being built here (all wood of course) with about 3 or 4 hundred rooms in it, all for the northerners who want to come and winter in and they say every room is engage already and this is at present a most out of the way place with just two stores and a station (train)…" – Excerpt from a letter, Helen F. Warner to her Mother dated August 14, 1885, Winter Park, Florida.

"…I arrived in this city about 9A.M. And rented a room at $2.50 per wk – I take meals at Restaurants…We obtained lodgings at a Restaurant paying for a bed room + Parlor well furnished a fire + - 75¢ for the night (37½¢ each) and 25¢/a meal… The cottages are mostly owned by persons in the North who spend their winters here. The cottages are neat and the one main street (New Haven Ave.) is wide leaving spacious lawns in front of cottages. I am writing from Grand View Cottage…H[arry] + I walked up to Sarno + by the landlord were shown...

"…around the plan of Hotel is in cottage style – 1st contains Parlors + other rooms down stairs 2nd contain Dining Room Private Din. Room + 3rd Smoking Room + up stairs over each are sleeping rooms. these cottages are all connected by Porches under Roof – including the above named there are some [4?] cottages belonging to the Hotel built around a vacant square [picture of layout of hotel cottages] in center of square is a pavillion with stone floor chairs tables [illegible] for to sit and enjoy ones self…" – Excerpt from Travel Diary, dated between December 20, 1895 and January 16, 1896.

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