Orlando Heritage Sites
DESCRIPTION: Twenty seven African American men, led by Joe Clarke, carefully planned and built the nation’s first incorporated, town for African Americans in 1887. Though self sufficient with a post office, clean water supply, ranches, a railroad station, Hotel Eatonville and Hungerford Normal & Industrial School, this was not a sleepy industrious town all the time — big name performing artists on the Chitlin’ Circuit played Club Eaton on Apopa Street. The town is most famous as the inspirational home of writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), a true Renaissance sister. Zora, while interpreting life in Eatonville as fiction in her writing, is credited with exposing literary America and Europe to the realities of life for southern rural African Americans. She was also a great influence on Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Toni Cade Bambara. Thanks largely to the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, the town is on the National Register of Historic Places and many original property lines and historic markers are in place allowing you to explore it at a leisurely pace. Thurston House, home to Zora Neale Hurston, located at 851 Lake Ave is now a Bed & Breakfast. The landmark Eatonville Water Tower is easily seen from I-4 Freeway.
ADDRESS: Kennedy Blvd, Eatonville, FL MAP
DESCRIPTION: Began in 1886, it is the oldest African American community in Orlando; civic leaders for the neighborhood led the efforts to restored and a establish historic markers for various sites in this post-Civil War community. In fact, many Black soldiers from the Civil War settled here. How fitting that today the neighborhood center hosts many cultural events year round.
ADDRESS: bounded by Colonial Drive, Central Ave, Division Street and Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL MAP
J.A. Colyer Building
DESCRIPTION: Built 1911 and housed the Colyer and Williams tailor shop, possibly the earliest African American business located among European American businesses in Orlando. It is currently a commercial establishment.
ADDRESS: 27-29 West Church Street, Orlando, FL MAP
Urban League of Orlando
DESCRIPTION: This agency has a long history of advocacy and impact in Orlando’s African American community.
ADDRESS: 2512 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL MAP
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
DESCRIPTION: A large new church serving this historic community.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 7:45a and 11a
ADDRESS: 412 East Kennedy Blvd, Eatonville, FL MAP
St. Lawrence AME Church
DESCRIPTION: The oldest church in Eatonville, named after Lewis Lawrence who co-deeded Eatonville to Joe Clarke and the other Eatonville founders in 1887.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 11a
ADDRESS: 605 East Kennedy Blvd, Eatonville, FL MAP
Greater Refuge Memorial Church
DESCRIPTION: This multi-colored brick edifice was built 1900 by African Americans. It was formerly the home of Old Ebenezer Church.
ADDRESS: 596 West Church Street, Orlando, FL MAP
New Church of Faith
DESCRIPTION: A church whose mission is to win souls, meet needs, heal hurts, and love people. They also have a number of ministies for youths, couples and and men.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 8a and 11a
ADDRESS: 5000 Silver Star Road, Orlando, FL MAP
Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church
DESCRIPTION: This single story brick edifice built in 1920 is the oldest continuously open Baptist church in the region.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 7:30a and 10:45a
ADDRESS: 4077 Prince Hall Blvd, Orlando, FL MAP
New Bethel AME Church
DESCRIPTION: The church history dates back to a one story masonry edifice constructed in 1916 by Lawrence Silas, a prosperous black cattleman who owned about 50 miles of land. The newer church is a modern structure.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 11a
ADDRESS: 4201 Columbia Street, Orlando, FL MAP
Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church
DESCRIPTION: In 1880, the church was organized by the Rev. C. J. Scott. This Orlando Historic Landmark remains vibrant and engaged with community today and includes a nurse.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 7:45a and 10:45a
ADDRESS: 535 West Washington Street, Orlando, FL MAP
Carter Tabernacle CME Church
DESCRIPTION: One of the oldest continuous Black churches in central Florida.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 10:45a
ADDRESS: 1 South Cottage Hill Road, Orlando, FL MAP