Tag Archives: Hannbal Squar

Winter Park Visual Art

When I proposed my MARA Project, there was a set objective decided of presenting visual art in any form that might be hidden or disguised within the west side and downtown areas of Winter Park. So off I went leaving my office with my mind set. Hannibal Square here I come. Well as Nancy Sinatra sang so eloquently in her song, “These Boot Are Made for Walking.” My sneakers were made for walking, and here I go.
Every day I come and go from the campus and never stop to think what is hidden behind a wall or bushes. Well between the Anne Russell Theater and Knowles Chapel you have the new rose garden. But did you know that there also is a lovely fountain encased in original mosaic tiles? Age is showing on these hand painted tiles and talk have it someone wants to renovate this area. Many a graduation and wedding picture has been taken within this courtyard. I was lucky to see two A&S students capturing one last memory before they graduate.
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Heading down Park Avenue I suddenly wondered if I had picked the right locations. Could I actually find the type of art I was looking for? Would I have to change the concept I so wanted to share? Everywhere I looked retail stores or restaurants appeared. But in 1881 Chase and Chapman came to then Osceola and established the town of Winter Park. The idea was to develop a resort town for part and full time wealthy residents from the north. The 600 acres were divided into residential, commercial and an area for African American.
Yes commercial properties are what people visiting and living want to experience, but what happened to the charm of old Winter Park? Then I saw it, The Central Park Rose Garden. Wahoo, this was what I was looking for. The beautiful roses painstakingly taken care of by the City of Winter Park’s Landscape Department. But on the edge of this lovely and fragrant garden stands a sculpture by Albin Polasek, ‘The Peacock.” and the arbors with cascading wisteria and flower pots form the backdrop for picture ops and weddings. How serene this location makes you feel. Now this was what I had hoped to discover, but where is Hannibal Square?

[iframe width=”100%” height=”480” src=”http://social.rollins.edu/wpsites/mara/2016/05/01/winter-park-garden-2/”]

So I continue my adventure towards the railroad tracks where I see The Farmers Market. Not only does the building houses the Winter Park Farmers Market which operates on Saturdays throughout the year it also houses the Winter Park Historical Museum. It is the actual building that is of interest to me. The quality of the workmanship shows in the construction used in the original train depot built in 1882. The sliding doors, which you can see from the New England Side of the building, are originals. Tourists and part/full-time residents arriving by train came to start a new life. This is an important part of the establishment of Winter Park. ******************************************************************************
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Continuing down New England Ave the area looks no different than any other small town trying to re-promote themselves to a younger and upper-class generation. What use to be single family homes now have been replaced with business establishments at street level and residential lofts above. This area, considered West Winter Park, was exclusively established for the housing of the African America community in 1884, who worked in the hotels, resorts and private homes of people living in their winter homes. But what has happened to Hannibal Square? So I continue on.
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The further I continue down New England Ave the more upscale and touristy I feel the area has evolved into. Restaurants with a scattering of businesses have replaced single-family homes. While the architecture is well within the limits of what Winter Park has become, I do like the façade of the restaurant Hannibal’s on the Square, Reminds me of what once was a boarding house.
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As I near the end of the street, do I see a park? Yes, Shady Park and I have found one of the locations that intrigued me when starting this adventure, The Hannibal Square Community Center. I was rewarded with the joyous laughter and squealing of young children with their mother playing at the spray fountain. Some nights older children can be seen here but today there are only 2 and 3-year-old children. But what I wanted to see was the mural created by the community as a whole constructed out of various sizes and colored tiles and mirrors. It was what I expected and more. The creativity and time taken to design and create were an undertaking of love. I noticed there is a placket telling the story of the Community Center.

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But to the left, in the bushes, is a marker dedicated to the Ruby Ball for her dedication to the betterment of the city. The location was the former Hannibal Square Elementary School and the original community center.

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As I turn around, I see a man standing on a porch across the street. Is he watching me? Did I do something wrong? I progress cautiously towards the building and discover that this was another of the points I so wanted to see on my adventure, The Hannibal Square Heritage Center. The man I thought watching me, turns out to be Richard Hall, Jr a WWII airman trained at Tuskegee, AL. Air Force Base as a pilot. But it is the art piece created by Mr Iminagation called “The Golden Rule Community Hannibal Square Memorial Wall” I wanted to see.

[iframe width=” 100%” height=” 480” http://social.rollins.edu/wpsites/mara/2016/05/03/hannibal-square-historical-center-3/”]
It is massive and quite unique. Picture a concrete wall with small stone protruding out all over and standing about three feet tall and about six inches wide in an L shape. In this concrete the artists have placed memorabilia, some of it junk, others collector items, well at least to me anyway. What a fitting memorial! You could stand and look at the piece and never see the same thing twice. I’m fascinated and yet curious as to what the community will do to preserve it. Time and weather have taken a toll on this unique piece of art and history.
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So I leave the heritage center and continue toward Lyman Ave on Denning. This too has been renovated with upscale businesses and Dexter’s restaurant. But again I spy houses, are they what I think they are. Yes, I have found more of Hannibal Square I so wanted to see. Two churches buildings stand side by side quaint and authentic. Nothing has touched these buildings. What lovely pieces of history. African American churches small in size but as stately as the day they were built and that includes many others scattered throughout the west side of Winter Park.
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I am so excited to see historical pieces of art-architecture… Warm and inviting these buildings are part of a community that is watching their homes being bought up, torn down and rebuilt at a cost they cannot afford to purchase. Across the street from Mt Moriah Missionary Baptist Churches a lot has been raised and parking for church is its inhabitants. Up Lyman Ave is an old vacant home. At one time this must have been beautiful. But now the windows are broken out, and it has a notice of demolition on the door. Another home lost to gentrification. I have found Hannibal Square and what is left of it. Since my first visit the home has been demolished. . Is this part of The Hannibal Square Community Land Trust organized in 2004? Will new housing be building using this Land Trust?

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Please do not get me wrong I realize all things must be recycled, and this area is in that phase but to whose advantage the community of Hannibal Square or to the Winter Park privileged?
But across the street, on your left, you can see the homes of Hannibal Square still standing proudly with the new housing on your right. I continue to the end of the street, and again I am finding another adventure point. The Grant Chapel saved and relocated. Another piece of history caught in redevelopment.

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The grounds surrounding this church is art in itself. Flower beds line the paved courtyard with a working water fountain situated in front of a brick fence. One would not know about this area if coming from downtown Winter Park.

So I turn onto New York Ave and head back to Rollins and my office and step off the curb only to see a sewer grate and my shadow. The sewer grate is a piece of art decorated with fish and a fancy border not your usual concrete or black metal. The sun has captured my reflection on the ground like a picture from your camera.

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My last stop is the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. I realize this is a museum, and I had not intended to include this in my paper, but the senior and faculty exhibits are being exhibited now. I have talked about going to see them but never got there and this year I am.
Oh my God, what have I missed? This is well worth taking the time to experience. Josh Almond presents two pieces of furniture that have a very unique meaning. You must read the placket to even think about what they mean. It was Vick from Campus Safety who explained it to me. The Ebola virus is the back of the chaise and arms and back of the chair. As you stroll through the exhibit, remember this is art and in many different personal forms. You might not like or understand, but beauty is in the eyes of the viewer and in this case me. I love it all. Expression of one’s feelings takes on many different forms, and these pieces show just that.


Reference from prior research for digital map of Founding Fathers of Winter Park and Rollins College. Campen, R. (1995) Winter Park Portrait: The story of Winter Park and Rollins College.

The Hannibal Square Community Land Trust was established as a 501(c) 3 not for profit member based corporation in Winter Park, Florida in November, 2004.Dedicated to preserving the quality and affordability of housing within the Winter Park Community Redevelopment Area, the Land Trust provides opportunities for low, very low and moderate income families to secure housing that is controlled by the residents on a long term basis. To achieve its goals, the Land Trust obtains real property which it then leases to qualified buyers on a 99 year ground lease. The buyer is able to build a home, removing the often prohibitive cost of the land from the equation. This creative approach to home ownership is modeled on the nationally successful land trust movement, an increasingly popular way to insure that communities like Winter Park maintain a diverse mix of housing opportunities Taken from the following website http://hannibalsquareclt.org/

EVD- Ebola virus disease- carried by fruit bats have caused a high amount of deaths in West Africa from 2013-to 2016 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease, 2016-04-30.