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Central Florida Memory

businessmen-tree Businesses, homes, people and life did not start in the Central Florida (Orlando) area when Disney World opened up in October 1, 1971 as many people believe. The region actually has a long history dating back to 1880s.

The University of Central Florida Library, The Orange County Regional History Center, and The Orange County Library System have come together to put together a great collection, Central Florida Memory, of interesting history, people and events from this area. The collection covers the years 1880 to 1930s, a booming time of transition from pioneer frontier, to the early development of the citrus industry, to established towns, cities, and transportation networks.

The type of items include photos, postcards, journals, newspapers, diaries, city directories, maps, letters and yearbooks; some 80,000 items to date and more to come. The basic research box is in the upper right corner, for a surname or key word. There is also an advance search box where you could search just photographs in a certain location such as Orlando, Apopka, Avon Park, Gainesville and Ocala. You can select a specific time period also.

Calling up the selection there will be thumbnail images of the scanned document, map, postcard or image. There will be a brief description. You can click on the image to enlarge it and if there is a second page or the back of a photo – click on that link to view. Especially with photos, there could be information of people’s names, dates or locations.

For the newspaper issues, the full front page and additional pages are scanned. You can enlarged to read the issue easier. All of the scanned material can also be saved to your computer.

If you had any ancestors anywhere in Florida, not just the central region, you will want to review these collections.

Photo: Group of DeLand businessmen, one holding a banjo. The sheriff Charlie Jones was also in the photo about 1889. Note the baby alligator in front.

Postcard: Big Tree Park in the 1930s in Sanford with cypress tree 3,500 years old.

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