By Design: The Architecture of Winter Park

October 29, 2020

By Design: The Architecture of Winter Park

Welcome to part four of “By Design,” The Mayflower’s blog series on art, architecture, and the ways they impact us. Previously, we discussed how our surroundings can shape our health, happiness, and relationships in a behind-the-scenes tour of our upcoming Club House and Bistro. (Check our blog for parts one, two and three!) Today, we’re diving into the broader context of architecture and community in Winter Park.

What makes a city, a city? There are plenty of answers – community, enterprise, creative expression – but one that shouldn’t be left out is architecture.

“When we refer to architecture – old buildings – as cultural heritage, it means we’re not merely valuing these places as culture for culture’s sake (though that’s fine too, and shouldn’t be sneered at), but because these living symbols give meaning – identity, continuity, memory and inspiration—to our lives today,” says Tom Mayes, a historical preservationist and the author of Why Do Old Places Matter.

There’s no doubt that Winter Park’s cultural heritage is rooted in its architecture, from the white chapel of Rollins College to the shady lawns of the Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden. Throughout the community’s history, residents have come together time and again to preserve and protect buildings from the past.

Take, for example, Casa Feliz. Sometimes called the “crown jewel” of Winter Park’s lovely downtown district, this restored Andalusian-style masonry farmhouse, designed by architect James Gamble Rogers II, is close to the hearts of locals. In 2000, when the site was at risk of demolition, citizens banded together to relocate it to its current area. In recent years, Casa Feliz has held open-house music nights, lectures, and historical tours.

A similar story can be told about the Capen House, which was built in 1885 on the shores of Lake Osceola. In 2013, the house was sold, and the new owners requested permission from the city to tear it down. A citizens’ campaign – led by former Rollins College president Thaddeus Seymour – raised more than half a million dollars to transport the house across Lake Osceola and restore it. Today, it occupies a scenic spot on the grounds of the Polasek Museum.

But not all of Winter Park’s architecture and history resides in museums. Much of it serves as a setting for everyday life – like the busy and bustling centerpiece of the city, Park Avenue. Known for its red brick roads and wide sidewalks, “Park Ave” is bordered by fountains, mossy oaks, and picnic-friendly lawns. On the far side of the park, the train station makes for easy transit to and from events like the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival.

At The Mayflower, we use indoor and outdoor design to celebrate our Winter Park roots. From lakeside walking trails to beautiful Florida-inspired artwork, our community is carefully crafted to help residents feel “right at home.” That will be true of our upcoming Bristol Landing expansion, as well – where the aesthetics and design elements were inspired by the Winter Park community.

Keep an eye out for upcoming entries in our By Design blog series – including an exploration of Winter Park’s not-to-be-missed museums. You can also experience The Mayflower for yourself by browsing our online photo gallery, flipping through past issues of our Navigator magazine, or exploring renderings and floor plans of our Bristol Landing expansion. For more information, send us a message, or give us a call at 407-672-1620.