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Central Florida History


The history of Central Florida’s

By Richard Lee Cronin
PART ONE: Traveling Back in Time:

CitrusLAND is a moniker I created to define a developing Central Florida during the second half of the 19th Century. In the first 50 years of its Statehood, years 1845 - 1895, many of the richest and most influential individuals in the world had set their sights on a remote Florida wilderness called Orange County, each one determined to amass new fortunes growing Citrus while simultaneously developing LAND.

Joining these rich and famous were numerous other daring souls, including Union and Confederate Veterans of the Civil War, each one convinced that they too could amass a family fortune in the land dubbed by the locals of that day, as ‘America’s Paradise’.

Audubon Park, in East Orange County, officially came on the scene in 1953. This 20th Century community was first platted by Chicagoans Philip & Clarice HOFFMAN. Residents of nearby Maitland, the Hoffman’s had partnered in developing a subdivision called Lake Maitland Park, and it was there that the Hoffman’s built their residence, on a street still known today as Audubon Road.

Hoffman’s 1953 communities are obviously a half century distant from that of the 19th Century. Audubon Park however, with its streets named for Mother Nature’s birds, has a rich history deeply rooted in yet another era. Platted as occupying land bordering Corrine Drive to the north; Chelsea Avenue to the south; Winter Park Road on the west; and Osprey Avenue on the east, this neighborhood is indeed much like a microcosm for all of America’s 19th Century Paradise.

Across Corrine Drive from Audubon Park today is East End Market, at the corner of East End Avenue. Land where East End Market now sits was not part of Hoffman’s Audubon Park, although the story of one cannot accurately be told without inclusion of the other. 

The platting of Northwood Terrace, this East End Market parcel today, actually occurred one year before the filing of Hoffman’s Audubon Park. Waldo & Mary Auger filed their 1951 Plat of Northwood Terrace.

East End Market, part of a 40 acre parcel upon which the southwestern-most corner is currently East End Avenue at Corrine Drive, is where a fascinating CitrusLAND story truly begins. This parcel, on June 13, 1884, was acquired by a young fellow from Washington, DC. His name, Charles Augustus WIMER.

Adjoining land belonging to Wimer was another 40 acres, acreage that today sits on the south side of Corrine Drive, part of Hoffman’s modern day Audubon Park. That 40 acre parcel, back in 1884, was owned by Julius & S. Kate DREW.

Julius Drew, born in Florida, was the son of Columbus C. Drew, founder of DrewStationery Printing Company of Jacksonville. The Drew family had relocated to Jacksonville Florida, from Washington, DC, around 1852

Wimer and Drew, members of long established District of Columbia families, bought 80 contiguous acres in the ‘boondocks’ of Orange County, land that in 1884 became linked by a consortium of Orlando and Washington, DC investors.

Charles A. Wilmer, in exchange for $2,500, allocated undivided interests in his 40 acres to: William B. TURPIN; W. Redin WOODWARD; Benjamin E. BAKER; Edward J. STELLWAGEN; Albert HARPER and Milton BARNARD, each being an established resident of Washington, DC. Wilmer then issued another 1/10 interest to a Central Florida icon, Benjamin M.ROBINSON.

Julius Drew allocated undivided interests in his 40 acres to the very same individuals.

Next Thursday, December 10, 2015, is the conclusion to this two-part Blog series: A CITRUSLAND LEGACY, the history of Orange County’s Audubon Park & East End Market.


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