The most attractive feature of our vicinity is the beautiful lakes by which we are almost surrounded. These are beautiful clear water lakes – not ponds, swamps or bogs. Beginning at Orlando and with Highland lake the chain continues through Ivanhoe, Foinosa, Rowena, Sue, Virginia, Osecola, Maitland and Howell to Lake Jesup, an enlargement of the St. Johns river. The scenery throughout the entire twenty miles is very picturesque; the lakes themselves are from twenty to sixty feet in average depth, the water clear, pure and wholesome. Said a prominent New York City hotel man to the writer, “If you were to have five story hotels touching each other all around the shores of these lakes (referring more particularly to those at Winter Park), the time will come when they would be crowded full of guests.” The banks are bold and bluffy, not low and wet. There is scarcely a foot of their shores from which a person could not step dry shod from his boat to the bank.”
These beautiful lakes abound in fish, and they yield to our visitors a great deal of sport and pleasure. the kinds usually caught are bass, bream, pickcrel, with an occasional fresh water trout. It is no unusual thing to see a ten or twelve pound bass landed, and those weighing from two to five pounds are plenty and very delicious.
The first and perhaps the strongest objection that a man with a family will have to a new place will be its lack of school facilities. Recognizing this fact the founders of Winter Park made arrangements from almost the first for a good school. This was a public school, held in the hall over what is now Mr. Paul’s store. Rollins College was founded in 1885, and at once became a very popular institution; and in February, 1890, the beautiful edifice known as Knowles Public School was dedicated to the purpose of educating the colored children. In addition to the above ample accommodations, Miss Williamson’s private school has been very successfully conducted, and the Kindergarten and primary branches ably taught.
Rollins College the present school year has an attendance of one hundred and twenty-five, a great many of whom are not able to attend school at the North on account of the severity of the climate. Here they can study in health and comfort through the school year of eight months; have neat, tasty accommodations, good, plain, wholesome living; be surrounded by the very best Christian influences and, in fact, have all the advantages that can be obtained at any first class school, with the added advantage of entire freedom from those dread scourges of Northern schools, diphtheria, pnuemonia, and various throat and lung disorders.
There has just been finished and donated to the College by its big-hearted friend F.W. Lyman, Esq., of Minneapolis, a complete gymnasium, with all the modern appliances. Here are the physical education of pupils is carefully looked after under competent instructors; and while it is not intended that physical culture shall be given under prominence, still there is to be all that is necessary to develop sound minds in sound bodies. A request addressed to Rev. E.P. Hooker, D.D., President of the College, will procure a complete calendar of the school.
Knowles Public School has an attendance of forty, runs eight months in the year, and under the efficient teaching of Miss Dart the pupils are making splendid progress.
Going hand in hand with our liberal and ample school facilities, we feel a great deal of pride in speaking of our libraries. Of these there are two. The R.L. Day library a the Rollins College, which has been liberally supplied with choice literature, books of reference &c., by many friends of the college, and particularly by the well-known Boston banker, R.L. Day, Esq., for whom it is named.
About four years ago in Miss Lamson’s large font hall a few of the ladies of the place organized a circulating library. It has prospered until now we feel confident in saying we have as large and complete a library as any place of our size and age in the country. The ladies’ library as any place of our size and age in the country. The ladies’ library has had many good friends of whom mentioning only a few of them we hope no offence will be taken by others, for almost every lady in Winter Park has contributed more or less to its satisfactory progress. Prominent among them we cannot forbear to mention Mrs. W.C. Comstock, Miss Lamson, Mrs. Cady, Mesdames Hooker, Burke, Paul, Peckham, Hart, MacClallum, Guild, Capen, Lyman, Clark, Henkel, Capen, Reid, Cofield, &c., &c.
Perhaps the greatest advantage that we enjoy over the more remote winters resorts of other States is the facility with which a person can reach here from the centers of population at the North. Thirty-two hours of comfortable riding will land a passenger from New York City in our midst, and the change from cold, disagreeable weather there to the delightful climate here is a gratifying as it is sudden and surprising. Forty-eight to fifty-two hours is all that is necessary to accomplish the journey from nearly every city east of the Missouri river.
Two lines of railroad pass through our town. The South Florida, which is one of the most important parts of the great Plant System, and on which parties may reach us via all through lines from the North and West; also via the St. Johns river, across the Gulf of Mexico from New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, &c.
The Orlando & Winter Park Railway, by which passengers can reach us via the F.C. & P. and L. & N. systems from all parts of the North, West and Northwest, by ocean on Mallory line to Fernandiaa. It is hoped that this line will be completed to New Smyrna by another Spring, thus connecting us with Northern Atlantic seaboards with only a forty mile railroad ride, and putting us within almost hourly connection with the famous Indian River country.
Having, as will be seen, two competing lines, whose connections include about all through lines both by water and rail, we can safely count on quick runs and low rates, both for passengers and freight.
As an example of the progress made in transportation, we will cite an example from seven years ago and from now. A shipment of oranges was made in March, 1884, to Chicago from Jacksonville; they were 34 days on the way, and an average of only 38 good oranges got out of each box. A train load of bananas left Tampa in January last for Chicago, which was only 60 hours on the way, and hardly a spoiled banana in the lot. We think it of almost incalcuable advantage to be so near and so handy to markets and to the great centers of the North, Northwest and West.
The terrors of an isolated life on the frontier are entirely over come here. There is plenty of society for all inclinations. If you wish literary or artistic associates you will find them here. If you wish to talk agricultures, mechanics or science with you neighbor your wish can be gratified here. The prayer meeting, the Christian Endeavor and the Chatauqua are fully attended. A quiet game of whilst or progressive euchre can be quickly gotten up with congenial partners, and any rational and respectable taste gratified. We have been favored with an almost entire absence of vicious classes ; the well understood opinions of our people on saloons and dens of vice making it undesirable for such people to stop here, and a family can be raised here without the temptations and allurements they present.
Three flourishing church societies worship among us. Of these the Congregational is the oldest and largest, they have a little gem of a church building and under the pastorate of Rev. E. P. Hooker, D.D., have been uniformly prosperous and successful.
The Episcopal church is a growing and powerful organization, they worship in a beautiful structure and they, worship in a beautiful structure and they, like the Congregationalists, have no church debt, an unusual thing in as young a place as this.
The Methodist Congregation worship now in Alden Hall. They own two nice lots, however, and hope to build and soon, and as this denomination is noted everywhere for its push and energy we can look for a building that will not suffer in comparison with either of the other churches.
Cost of Building, Etc.
An abundance of first-class lumber grows all around us. We do not have to provide against extreme cold, Florida is exempt from cyclone and food. Our mechanics can work every day in the year with comfort and do not have to make up in the summer for a long winter lay off, all of which is greatly to our advantage. A satisfactory house can be built here for much less than the samke kind of a house can be built at the north. We have skilled contractors, builders and mechanics. They are very seldom idle a day and can do good work as cheaply as it can be done anywhere.
Friends of Winter Park
It has always been our good fortune to have a great many good friends. When Messrs. Chapman and Chase, energetic, earnest, pushing men, came here to found the town, they received great assistance from such good and valuable men as hon. Lewis Lawerence, Dr. J. R. Tantum, Hon. J.F. Welborne, Judge Mizell, Messrs. Rogers, Ergood, White, Lan,e Phelps, Comstock, Davis, Clark, Berry, Ellingwood, Kedney, Stovin, Huntington, Holden Bros., Gen. French, Major Abercrombie and others.
Since that date no lack of warm, earnest friends and supporters has ever been felt, and among them we can point with pride to Fancis B. Knowles, Alonzo W. Rollins, Chester A. Arthur, President Cleveland, John A. Kasson, Major W.C. Beardsley, Col. P. Peckliam, Col. Franklin Fairbanks, L. Lf. Dommerick, F.W. Lyman, Revs. Alden, Hooker, Livingston, Missildine, Cossett, Messrs. Chubb,Richmond, Capn, Russell, Hutchins, Hart, Schutz, Roc, Ronan, Abbott, Ward, Denny, Coan Bros., M. Alcott, Grisworld, Rand, Bethune, Butler, Hunter, Noble, Taylor, LaMay, Dorn, Earl, Thayer, Ladd, Paul, Confield, Lansing, Bear, Maxson, Mark, Cassiday, bonfield, Davids, Smith, Van Sickle, Simons, Jones, Perrins, Jamieson, Waddell, Diffenderfer, Hill, Livingston, Day, Ames, Givin, Adams, Pierce, Matthews, Doctors Henkle, Jones, Eager, Geer, Professors Ford, Hartmann, Munson, Austin, Smith, arrows, Misses Brown, McLure, Morton, Sparrell Abbott, and last in time only but not least by a long ways, Col H. B. Plant, The Plant Investment Company, and Col. Paige. This list might be continued indefinitely. Many, very many, of our best friends have of necessity been left out, and we have not the space here to make the list at all complete or satisfactory.
“There is no Farming Land here South of Macon, Ga.”
Taking the above for a text, copied from a letter from a man at Eastman, Ga., to quite a prominent northern paper, and whose experience was founded on three weeks spent in “doing” Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, we rise to remark that he is very, very much mistaken. His idea of farming is corn and hogs in Central Illinois. But that there is no farming land here is too absurd, and right here we wish to introduce a few figures on this point, and first we can produce nothing to the point than the following about our country.
Orange Statistics – About $800,000 Brought Into Orange Country
Orlando, Fla., Feb. 20. – According to the opinion of orange shippers in all parts of the county carefully collected and compared, the crop this year will amount to 500,000 boxes, nearly half of which are still on the trees. Every month since the shipping began the shippers have increased their estimates over those of the previous month. If these oranges sold on the trees for $1.45 per box, which is the generally considered about the average price, they brought the growers sum of $725,000. Some oranges sold for less and some sold for as much as $2 per box. The buyers are generally citizens of the county, and expect to make a good profit. It is worth about 35 cents per box to pack them; box, paper, hoops and nails will consume half of this, leaving 17 1/2 cents for labor of packing, 5 cents for picking, and at a low estimate 2 1/2 cents for _______ making a total of 25 cents for labor, or a total labor bill of $75,000. Some of the box sides and all the heads are made here, but allowing nothing for these and on profit to the shippers, the crop will bring into Orange county a grand total of $800,000.
The population, according to the census, is, in round numbers, 12,500, and dividing $800,000 by 12,500 gives $65 for every man, woman and child in the country.
We make no pretense in the way of scientific statistics, but we do think that is a pretty good showing for a county that is practically but 10 years old, and that only one of its products.
Well, we can still give a few more which we think interesting reading and certainly go a long way toward answering the question: “How can a person make a living in Florida?”