Park Avenue & Central Park
The founders of Winter Park Oliver Chapman and his friend Loring A. Chase purchased 600 acres bordering Lakes Maitland, Osceola, Virginia and Killarney in 1881. Their goal was to develop a residential community of winter homes for wealthy Northerners and call it “Winter Park”. Their design centered around a Central Park and its main street, Park Avenue, and they designate home sites, a hotel, churches, schools and parks and marketed their Florida lifestyle to northerners fleeing harsh winters. Shortly thereafter the trains pull into Central Park on Park Avenue with loads of affluent northerners who stroll down Park Avenue, and still do. Park Avenue, or “Park Ave” as many the locals call it, is the focal point and considered the Main Street of downtown Winter Park and serves as the main shopping district for the area. Boutique shops and gourmet restaurants line the sidewalks of downtown Park Avenue.
Central Park was deeded to the city by one of its most influential early citizens – Charles Hosmer Morse. The park, located in the center of downtown Winter Park, is a large, open park featuring towering majestic trees, beautiful plants and flowers, and perfectly situated park benches. Central Park also has beautiful fountains, landscaped planters and glorious oak tree canopies that bring thousands of visitors annually to admire its stunning beauty. The Rose Garden located on the southern border of the park, with its beauty and splendor, is often seen being rented out for small wedding ceremonies of fewer than 20 guests, keeping it a very quaint and local venue.