There’s always something happening in South Eola. From new buildings to new businesses, South Eola is truly one of Orlando’s most modern neighborhoods and offers the most urban living environment in the entire city. However, hidden behind the glitzy exterior of our luxury high-rise and townhome buildings and the booming social atmosphere or our amazing businesses, there is a depth of history that is not only one of the richest in all of Orlando, but also incredibly influential in the development of all of Central Florida.
Jacob Summerlin and Family
From Humble Starts to a World-Class City
As the area prospered financially, the city moved toward incorporation. On June 3, 1875 a group of individuals met to begin a plan that was later voted for on July 21 by a mere 22 voters. The city consisted of an area of 1 mile in each direction from the location of the courthouse at the time, forming a square. The area we all know and love as South Eola is one of the original areas of Orlando.
In and Around Lake Eola Park
The Cherry Plaza Hotel and the Day that Forever Changed Central Florida’s Future
The property currently known to everyone as Post Parkside changed the history of Orlando and Central Florida altogether. This site housed the original band shell and later the Ann Lisbeth Seese Private School.
Later in 1952 the Park Plaza Hotel was built for $1,000,000 and became the most expensive building in Orlando’s history. In 1957 it was sold to Cherry and Associates for twice that price and was renamed the Cherry Plaza. On October 25, 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson became the first sitting president to spend the night in Orlando, at this very hotel.
The most important event in this time occurred on November 15, 1965 at 2 PM. Walt and Roy Disney, together with Governor Haydon Burns, held a press conference in the Egyptian Room of the Cherry Hotel and officially announced the plan for Walt Disney World. This would be Walt Disney’s only public appearance in Orlando before his death shortly thereafter. Governor Burns commented “I have made the appraisal that this is the most important day in the progress and the future development of this state. I know of no single thing in history that could have made the impact that the establishment of the Disney facility here will make.”
The name later changed to the Park Plaza. The hotel was again purchased in 1972 by the First Baptist Church of Pompano Beach, but lost during a bankruptcy just a few years later in 1975. It would eventually become The Plaza Apartments before changing to its current name.
In the 1990’s when The Plaza became Post Parkside, the addition of low-rise apartments along both sides of Central Blvd created a ‘Main Street’ feel to the area adding ground floor retail spaces, foreshadowing the multiple mixed-use buildings that make up the neighborhood today and influence designs all around the city.